Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Oct 7 2013 - Colossians 3:1-17 – Raised with Christ

The Christian is one who has died with Christ and has been raised with Christ. The risen Christ is not only the source of our life, he is our life. In one sense, our new life is currently "hidden with Christ in God"; it will be seen and experienced in all its fullness only when Christ returns (Colossians 3:3-4). And yet, we are to live this new life now, in all the mundane details of daily living.

We are to do so firstly by fixing our eyes on Jesus. He is our life and we are to thirst after the life which is ours in him: "seek the things above [NIV has set your hearts on things above], where Christ is seated at the right hand of God" (3:1). Since we have been raised with Christ, the characteristics of the age to come are to shape our thinking, and thereby to transform the way we live: "set your minds on things above" (3:2).

And yet we continue to live in this present age with all its influences and pressures. More than that, until the day of final resurrection arrives, we remain deeply flawed creatures of this present age. And so we need continually to put away all those things that characterise a world in rebellion against God: "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry..." (3:5). As we begin to read this list, we may congratulate ourselves that we are not like this, but are we entirely free from the idolatrous sin of greed – the desire for things rather than the desire for God? And when we begin to congratulate ourselves that we are not like others around us, we have fallen prey to the sin of pride; we have failed humbly to recognise that all that is good within us is the work of God by his Spirit. We have nothing of which we should be proud but we have much in which we can boast.

We need not only to thrust away the continual pollution of sin, we need continually to put on the character that has been so wonderfully displayed in Christ: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity” (3:12-14).

This resurrection life is to be lived relationally. Heavenly mindedness is not about developing a wonderful spirituality but about living well with others – being mediators of the love, grace, peace and blessings of God in Christ.

Each day is a call to put off the dirty old clothes of fallen humanity and to put on the glorious clothing of Christ – a call to live the resurrection life in our varied relationships with others. Here’s a challenging thought with which to begin each day as we dress in the morning.

Living God, open our eyes to see afresh the many ways in which you have blessed us in Christ. You have not treated us as our sins deserve but have forgiven us freely and have embraced us in your love. Fill our hearts with songs of gratitude. Clothe us ever and afresh with Christ, that his compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience may shape our relations with others today. Help us to live the resurrection life, so that "whatever [we] do, whether in word or deed, [we may] do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" (3:17).

Peter Misselbrook