Summary: If you have been raised with Christ it ought to affect how you look at life.
It happened all too quickly. Several days earlier they had been joking and laughing with one another, preparing for the arrival of a dear friend. Now they stood weeping before a sepulcher feeling all hope was gone. The nightmare hit like a thief in the night. It came without warning, and it came full of fury. When it hit, they immediately sent for the only one they knew could help. They sat, night after night, beside the bedside of their dying brother assuring him help was on the way. But as the breaths grew shallower and the heart beat fainter, they wondered if help would arrive in time. It did not. Now their brother was in a grave, and the one they sought had finally decided to show. Even worse, he admitted the delay had been deliberate. The great physician had arrived after the funeral director had gone. What could he do now? The answer came in a simple pronouncement. “Lazarus, come forth!” And the one that had been dead; the one bound in a garment of grave clothes, came forth in resurrection power.
Do you think that brief brush with death changed Lazarus’ perspective of life? Do you think he looked at a flower differently? Do you think he embraced his family more passionately? Having caught a glimpse of the glories to come, do you think he ever longed to go back? Did he gaze into the sky and smile because he saw something no one else could see?
You and I have a great deal in common with Lazarus. We too, were once dead, for the Bible tells us we were dead in sin. We were bound in the grave clothes of sin and shame. And the one who called Lazarus forth, has called us to Himself and made us His own through the shedding of blood on a hill called Mount Calvary. The Bible says, “But God being rich in mercy
because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ, and raised us with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6). You were dead, but now you are alive in Christ; and your resurrection ought to change the way you look at life.
If you have been raised with Christ it ought to affect how you look at life. In the third chapter of Colossians Paul tells us a resurrected life is a heaven focused life. The key to living the risen life on earth is to have a life focused on Christ who is in heaven. A resurrected life is a heaven focused life.
The opening verses of chapter three act as transitional hinge between the primary doctrinal section of chapters one and two, and the primary practical section of chapters three and four. This is a common pattern in the Pauline epistles. In the opening chapters of this letter to the Colossians, Paul has been confronting a hideous false teaching that threatened to pervert the purity of the gospel. The false teachers being confronted had attacked the person and work of Jesus Christ. They had tried to make Him less than God and thus, insufficient to meet the needs of man. If Christ was insufficient, these believers must submit themselves to a rigorous regiment of rules and regulations if they hoped to be right with God. Paul has thoroughly destroyed this damnable heresy by reminding the believers of who Jesus was, and what He had done for them. Now Paul turns his attention to how we should act because of what Jesus has done for us. Your belief ought to affect your behavior. Who you are ought to be evident in what you do. Paul begins this section of his letter on practical application by pointing to an obvious affirmation: ‘You have been raised up with Christ.’ The text says, “If then you have been raised up with Christ,” (v.1) but the conditional clause is in the first class, meaning it is a statement assuming truth. “If you have been raised with Christ”, and you know that you have. The statement is actually closing the picture of baptism Paul began in verse twenty.
Baptism is a beautiful image of our identification with Christ. When an individual is baptized, we lower them under the water. It is a symbol of death. But we do not leave them under the water. The Bible says, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creation, old things are passed away, behold all things become new.”( 2 Corinthians 5:17) Our resurrection ought to change our perspective on life. It alters our point of view. It changes our standard of judgment. It rearranges our life priorities. We no longer focus on the here because this world is not our home. Although we exist in this world, we are not of this world; we are citizens of heaven, so our resurrection ought to elevate our eyesight.