Bulletin Articles

Bulletin Articles

Raised up with Christ

“Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.” (Col 3:1-4, NASB)


“Raised up with Christ” is the phrase that ought to describe every Christian. Paul had been contrasting the philosophies of the world (whether pagan or Jewish) that sought to prescribe their “do's and don'ts” as a way to be religious, but these “elementary principles of the world” were not what God had decreed. Paul describes Christians as those who had “died with Christ” to these worldly ideas and traditions of men. Self-made religion will always come up short and only provide for a form of self-righteousness.


Earlier, Paul wrote, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving” (2:6-7). From here he warns about being taken captive through worldly philosophy, that which is “not according to Christ.” Make no mistake: typical philosophy is not according to Christ. No one received Christ by means of worldly philosophies and self-made religions. In fact, those who glory in the world will always see Christ and Him crucified as foolishness. To the Corinthians, Paul made this very point:


“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.’ Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.” (1 Cor 1:18-21, ESV)


If we get caught up in trying to please worldly people, trying to satisfy requirements that have “an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion” (v. 23), then we will completely lose sight of what it means to know God. Truth is grounded in the character of Jesus, in whom dwells the fullness of deity (Col 2:9). Because of who He is, we, too, can be made complete in Him (v. 10). We are to die to the worldly ideas, with Christ, and then are raised up with Him to seek heavenly matters. This brings us back to the first few verses in Colossians 3.


If we recognize that we are dead to the world and raised with Christ, then our thoughts and affections turn toward spiritual issues. Our problem is that the old man keeps wanting to get back out of that grave. Our earthly body is to be considered dead to this world, yet we keep allowing it to determine our actions and desires. What this means is that we must re-double our commitment to the Lord Himself. “Set your mind…” indicates a determined, purposed effort to think on the right things (see Phil 4:8). Instead of letting “your life” (in some selfish way) set your agenda, you are to be hidden with Christ in God. Only in this way will we be revealed with Him in glory.


Paul then shows the contrast between the old man and the new man. “Put to death” and “Put away” are the terms used. What are we to put to death or put away? Paul names these: “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (v. 5). Then, “anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (vv. 8-10).


Here is what we are to put on: “compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (vv. 12-16)


The religion of Christ cannot simply be reduced to a list of outward do’s and don’ts. Putting to death the old and putting on the new is not based just on an outward form of godliness, but rather requires a remaking and renewing of the heart of the one who has died with Christ and raised up with Him.


Have you been raised up with Christ? Let Jesus redirect your thoughts and desires back to Him. This world cannot offer any hope. Let today be a renewal for you.