Summary: Paul stresses how the believer should live a life that reflects their status of being IN CHRIST and Paul lays out what needs to be laid aside for this to happen...
Colossians 3:1-9 [NLT]
January 23, 2013
Oak Park Baptist Church – Wed Bible Study Series
Colossians Bible Study
Paul’s clarifies his teaching on attitude and actions within the body of Christ:
I hope and pray I can get ALL this in tonight, but if NOT we will pick up next week right where we left off tonight… tonight we are going to look at Col 3:1-8 [ESV]
Now over the past few weeks we have seen how Paul was constantly preaching that Christ was sufficient for salvation and that these believers needed nothing else to be saved!
They did not need to practice these aesthetic these teachers were pushing…
They need not be slaves to a ritualistic diet or needless ceremony or ritual…
They did not need any new or special spiritual knowledge…
All they needed was Christ!
And that is the truth…Christ is sufficient for our salvation! We cannot know salvation w/o Christ, and we need ONLY Christ to experience salvation!
BUT…Paul then begins to speak about works in ch3… well on the surface it may seem as if Paul is speaking about works. It may SEEM that Paul is saying, don’t listen to THEIR list of things to do, but instead listen to MY list of things to do.
However, on closer study we see that Paul is NOT doing that at all. What Paul IS doing is laying out what a believer’s life should reflect…or how that life should look to those who may see them in this world!
Let’s look at Col 3:1-8, but we will begin with v1-4. READ v1-4 VERSES HERE…
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Now what Paul is dealing with here is NOT formality or any particular ritual, but what Paul is addressing is the basic focus of the believer!
First of all, we have to constantly remind ourselves that this letter was a letter to those who had made a profession of faith IN Christ!
So we can know that Paul believed that their salvation was a settled matter! In Christ they were SAVED, BUT, Paul was also adamant about another aspect of the Christian life as he teaches that SINCE you have professed Christ here is what your life should look like… here is where your focus MUST be…
1If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
In v1 Paul is confirming their salvation in Christ. This is also a confirmation of his teaching that Christ alone SAVES.
The ESV reads, “…IF then you have been raised with Christ…” but this is not a statement of doubt as it concerns the saving power of Christ. The IF listed here is really better translated like the NLT that says, “…Since you have been raised to new life with Christ…” The HCSB states it like this, “…So, if you have been raised with the Messiah…”
Basically what Paul is saying here is that salvation comes through Christ and IF you have been saved… IF you have confessed Him as Lord… THEN there is a mindset you MUST have!
It is one thing to PROFESS Christ; it is a totally different thing to live out that profession of Christ as Savior.
What Paul is saying here is that BECAUSE you profess Christ… the believer’s focus is to be on the things above (things of Christ)…the believer’s focus CANNOT focused on earthly things and traditions!
Paul is alluding here to the things that Christ called all believers to… and the things Christ called us to were NOT steeped in human tradition, like these teachers were teaching!
Here Paul also confirms that Christ came, died for our sin, rose from the grave and ascended BACK into heaven… Paul says, “[Christ] seated at the right hand of God…”
The ‘right hand’ in this verse was symbolic for POWER or AUTHORITY! This is a direct reference toward Jesus and Matt 28:18 where He revealed that God has granted Him (as Messiah) all authority in heaven and on earth!
In other words what Paul is saying here is that NO ONE else would have authority believers, only Christ! This was yet another shot at these false teachers who were seeking to establish their earthly and human AUTHORITY over how these believers acted and lived!