Bible Book: Colossians 3

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.
Chapter 2 told us in verses 12 and 13 that not only we have died and been buried with Christ, but also are risen and quickened with Him. In this passage of chapter 3 we, being raised with Him, are urged to seek the things which are above. There is our Lord, our Redeemer, far above all earthly worries, elevated above the earthly boasting powers, honoured by God with the place of honour on his right hand.
Though we still are on earth, and still have to do with all that is included in a life on earth, Scripture nevertheless calls us here to give our heart and our thoughts to the things in heaven. Things on earth we experience, see, hear and feel, but we have to look at them in the light of heaven, in order never to forget the relativeness of all on earth. 
We have all reason to set our affection on the things above, for though we still live on earth, we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God. Ought not our heart to be where our life, our new and everlasting life is? Christ Himself is our life. Who has him, has that life and we receive Him as a gift of God if we accept Him when He is presented to us in the gospel. John therefore has written in chapter 1:12 of his gospel “as many as received Him”. 
In verse 4 Christ again is called our life, and there is added, that when He shall appear in glory, we also shall appear in glory with Him. So our attention is not only directed to heaven, but also to the future of our Lord Jesus Christ, which will be characterized by glory.

I think of David, who had companions that shared his wandering about and his persecutions. They fixed their eyes however, like David himself, upon the future, the days of the fulfilment of Gods promises re the Kingship. They made no mistake. The former poor and destitute wanderers shared his glory as soon as David had been established in his kingdom.
That image is not perfect –no image is perfect-, but it lets us understand something of the power in looking up and in the notion of the glory of Christ, the power of looking forward to the day He will appear on earth in glory and we with Him.
The things on earth will shrink, sorrow and grief will be seen as seed for eternal happiness, and our wrong inclinations as absolutely incompatible with our position in Christ and our exceedingly glorious future. But the persuasions to observe the law, that is meant for unbelievers on earth (1 Timothy 1:9), also loose their significance, when our eyes are directed to heaven, where Christ is, our life. The law indeed cannot add anything to his nor to our glory.

  Heer, ik zoek de dingen boven,
doordat U mij tot U trekt,
en uw Woord doet mij geloven
ik ben met U opgewekt.

Wat heeft mij de aard te geven?
neen, de wereld telt niet meer
en in Jezus is mijn leven
bij God veilig door de Heer.

Als Hij eenmaal zal verschijnen
Jezus, die ons leven is
zal Hij komen met de zijnen
elk die Hem gegeven is.

Zal Hij waarlijk ons vertonen
in een kleed aan Hem gelijk?
Zeker, want wij zijn Gods zonen.
Heer, wat maakte U ons rijk!
Lord, I am seeking things above, 
because thou art drawing me,
and thy word makes me believe
that I am risen with thee.

What can the earth give me?
no, the world does not count,
and in Jesus my life
is safe with God by Him.

When he will appear,
Jesus, our life,
He will come with them which are his,
everyone God has given Him.

Will He truly reveal us
in a robe like his?
Certainly, for we are sons of God.
Lord, how rich thou hast made us!

5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness which is idolatry.
6 Because of these, the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience,
7 in which ye also once walked, when ye lived in them.
Our life is with Christ in heaven. But because we still are here on earth and in this body, in which the old nature still is present, we have “members” that have nothing in common with heaven nor with the new life. They are mentioned in verse 5. 
We as believers have died and risen with Christ. But our old and wrong sinful inclinations, our lusts, here presented as members, we have to mortify. It is good if we have seen and recognized that we are sinners, suitable for death and judgment only. To judge and reject those inclinations and lusts is quite another thing. It happens that a believer fully recognizes that he quite rightly has died with Christ, but has not judged all sin in his heart. The Spirit now calls us
to mortify all cherished evils and lusts and to judge them in our heart.
They are things that do not belong to the heavenly place where Christ, our life, is. The belong to the earth and we lived in them. Now that our life is above, we have to mortify those things of the earth, as dead as our original nature now is by faith in Jesus Christ. 

8 But now ye also put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9 Do not lie one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds,
It would be wrong to think that to put off is less absolute than mortify in verse 5, so that what is mentioned in these verses would not be unacceptable. By putting off the said things will no longer be found with us and that is what the Spirit means. We have put off the old man and consequently the things of the old man ought to be put off as well.

10 and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him,
11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
A Christian not only has put off the old man, but has put on the new one. In our old state, unconverted, there existed a difference between Greek and Jews, circumcised and uncircumcised. Among believers, who all of them have put on the new man, such differences do no longer exist. Christ is all for them and He lives in them. And the new man knows growth, renewal, so that more and more the image of the creator of the new man, Christ, will be seen and manifest.
Romans 13:14 says “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof”.
There is our position before God, brought about by Jesus Christ, but another side is our practical state, which ought to be conform our position before God. Here however the things that belong to the old nature are put opposite to what belongs to the new man: 

12 Therefore, holy and beloved, as the elect of God, put on hearts of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering,
13 forbearing one another and forgiving one another if any man have a quarrel against another: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Growth in the knowledge after Christ will become more visible if we put on what is perfect in Christ. In principle we are elect ones, holy and beloved; but according to the measure in which we represent the image of Christ, will God rejoice in us in our every day life. 
In verse 13 as well it is a matter of acting “as Christ”. We have put Him on and it ought to become manifest.

14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body, and be ye thankful.
We are accustomed to love, that is, to love them we like. Love for such a person we need not put on. Gods love is different. He even loves his enemies. That is unselfish love and that is the love we have to put on.
It is not self evident, it asks a decision, not according to our character, but according to Christ. Such love is a perfect bond, for even a disappointment does not attack or destroy it.
Gratitude may the closing subject of this passage, but does not need to be postponed till we have come up to all foregoing admonitions. Whosoever does not forget his salvation, can always be grateful. 

16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
It is desirable and necessary that we keep the word of Christ; the Lord connected the promise with it, that the Father will love us and that the Father and the Son will come and make their abode with us
(John 14:23).
What is said here, goes farther. Very good if we keep and love the Word; but if it is dwelling richly in us, it is so to say part of us. I think we therefore have to do what God commanded Ezekiel to do and John, viz. to eat the Word; what we eat becomes part of ourselves, builds us and makes us strong.
Then we too will be able with the Word to be a blessing to each other, the Word will steer our thoughts and make us sing songs of praise and spiritual songs with thanks to God. Of course we may sing psalms, but we should not restrict our singing to psalms. Our riches in Christ, our glorious future and our union with Christ are not expressed in the psalms, nor the gratitude for those blessings. We cannot think, that we have not got more than people of old who could hope only that the Messiah would come. Of course we got more. 
Our natural food for the greater part decides of our health. By literature and TV we can spiritually absorb very much; it is to be feared that much of it at present is not making us healthy spiritually, but will cause much harm. With respect to our food we usually are careful; with what enters into our spirit many are not careful at all. 
There is alas too little hunger for the good spiritual food of the Word of God, the Bible. Let us realize that our spirit, just like our stomach, only has a restricted capacity in a certain number of hours. If we have spiritually been eating till satisfaction less savoury publications, there will not be any room left for what is good and edifying. Let us not forget our responsibility in this respect.

17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by Him.
Can we do everything in the name of Jesus? To act in someone’s name is to act like he himself would do. Can we say that all we do is according to his will?
It is possible, except doing wrong things. Of course we cannot commit sin in the name of the Lord. But if we abstain from all evil, we can do all in the name of Jesus with thanksgiving. Nobody can reproach us then. How would one be able to make a reproach for what is done in the name of Jesus?
The monotonous work we have to do, that often caused us to sigh, then gets another character. If that is what the Lord wants me to do, we can be grateful that we can be obedient to Him in that way. Our salary then is higher and more lasting than what can be read on our pay slip. 

18 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.
That is not according to our time. But it is Gods will and according to the nature of women and men. God who created both, knows better than the greatest psychologist and anthropologist what the nature of a woman is. The rebellious spirit that resists God, will also be rebellious in this aspect. Blessing it will not bring, nor honour God. 

19 Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter against them.
Men are not forgotten and to them is pointed out what ought to be their characteristic: love and gentleness. That does not mean that a man will be a softy, on the contrary. Egoism and indifference ask no exertion and do not prove that one is sturdy. It is far more difficult to rein oneself in and to consider one another, to show love in stead of explosions of impatience and temper.
It may be clear that the natural, old man has other inclinations and we certainly fail power. We therefore need prayer and often the first failure is that we forget to pray.

20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
Obedience to parents is what the Lord wants for children. And it is their own interest. The way and attitude God means is finally the most blessed way, even with a view to their future life.
Fathers have authority, but they must be careful that they do not provoke by always finding fault with the children and constant reproaching. In order to bring children up in the right way, we have to add appreciation and encouraging. That is often forgotten.

22 Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice as menpleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God.
23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto men,
24 knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance, for ye serve the Lord Christ.
We do not have slaves, but employees there are many. Their position is not fully identical to a slave, but the responsibility with regard to their employers does not differ very much.
There is much work that is little or not interesting, the daily work can become a grind (a rut); but behind the necessity to work and behind our employer, we may see the Lord who is guiding our life. By working faithfully in earthly things, we are faithful to our heavenly Lord as well. “Ye serve the Lord Christ”, Paul has written.
A person who has a very unpleasant employer will find it difficult to look at his work in that way, but Scripture is speaking that way and so is pointing to a way for finding satisfaction and power to hold on, where the burden would be too heavy without that aspect.
Some think that only preachers and missionaries can serve the Lord, but they are fully wrong. A housewife, a baker, an official can serve the Lord in their daily job and their service will not be less valued in heaven.

25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done, and there is no respect of persons.
An employer can do wrong, but an employee not less. God will not be partial and choose the underdog when he is wrong. God sees all things right and for Him all are equal.
J. Ph. Buddingh