Christ, Who is our Life

27 05 2020

McKee Road Baptist – May 20, 2020 Wednesday Evening – Coronavirus Emailed

Colossians 3:1-4 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on 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.

Paul had all these things, his life was constantly characterized by peace, joy, and
contentment. If you know anything about Paul, you know that he didn’t have good
circumstances in his life, but yet he was at peace. Why? The answer is found in:
Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Paul said that life to him was Christ. Paul lived only to serve Christ, commune with
Christ, love Christ. He has no concept of life other than Christ. He is his reason for
living. To Paul, Christ was life. Paul lived this out practically, because he knew that it
was true positionally:

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear
with him in glory.

Paul says to believers, “Christ, who is our life.” He is the source of our life. This is true
of physical life, but he is talking here about spiritual life, everlasting life. Because this is
true, Christ should be the goal of our life. He should be the purpose and fulfillment of
our life.

When we can come to the point in our lives that we can say, Christ is my life, that is
when we will be able to say, life is good! Believer, remember this each time that you are
unsatisfied with life. You are unsatisfied because something other than Christ is the
focus of your life. Christ will never disappoint us!

These first four verses of Colossians 3 summarize the first two chapters of the letter
which concern doctrine: the truths of the Christian faith. And they launch us into the
second two chapters of the letter, which concern ethics; how to live the Christian life.
Let’s examine these four verses:

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

The word “if” is like saying the word since. Since you were raised with Christ. That God
has already raised us with Christ, is an assumed fact:

Ephesians 2:5-6 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with
Christ, (by grace ye are saved) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit
together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Since we have been raised up with Christ, we are commanded to “seek those things
which are above”. In order to obey this command, we need to understand two things:
what the “things above” are, and what it means to “seek” them?

What are the “things which are above”? The Greek word translated “above” is ano. It is
only used 7 times in the New Testament. We will look at a couple of its uses, to answer
what “things which are above” are:

John 8:22-24 Then said the Jews, Will he kill himself? Because he saith, Whither I go,
ye cannot come. (23) And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye
are of this world; I am not of this world. (24) I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in
your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

Here Jesus says that the unbelieving Jews are from below, and that He is from above.
The contrast here is between the natural and the spiritual. This is also seen in the use of
ano in:

Galatians 4:22-26 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid,
the other by a freewoman. (23) But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the
flesh, but he of the freewoman was by promise. (24) Which things are an allegory: for
these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to
bondage, which is Agar. (25) For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to
Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. (26) But Jerusalem which
is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Here the contrast is between two covenants; one is fleshly (natural), and the other is
spiritual. So “things above” are spiritual things, supernatural things.

We do not need faith when we deal in material things. We taste, feel, see, and touch
material things, but faith takes us into another arena. Faith takes us into a spiritual
stratosphere. There we can see things we could not see with a material viewpoint. Faith
is the spiritual telescope that brings the things of God near to our heart. We can,
therefore, see things we could not otherwise see. Faith puts reality on intangible things.

Eternal things are real, but they are only real to those who have faith to see them. It was
written of Moses:

Hebrews 11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he
endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

Moses was focused on things above. Moses practiced the presence of God. His eyes
were on the king of kings and not the king of Egypt. The “things which are above” are spiritual things, as opposed to the physical or fleshly, we need to ask: “What does it mean to “seek” them?”

The word “seek” is a command. This is the Greek word zeteo, expressing continuous
action, we are to continuously seek spiritual things. We see this same word used in:

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all
these things shall be added unto you.

The word “seek” here is the same Greek word zeteo, which means: “to seek, to desire
to worship.” It is a hungering, desiring, seeking. It is a matter of a hungering, desiring,
worshiping spirit; it is to seek with a desire to worship. We are to seek with a desire to
worship the things which are above.

We are to be hungering, desiring, seeking the things above. The believer is exhorted to leave behind the concerns which he has over earthly matters and to fix his attention solely on the matters which are heavenly. Paul tells us at the end of verse 1 that “above” is “where Christ sitteth on the right hand
of God.”

Paul was responding to those who were seeking to diminish Christ’s role as
mediator, inasmuch as the right hand of God is a metaphor for the place of supreme
privilege and divine authority. We can determine what this statement means by referring
to other Scriptures, where the meaning appears to be clear.

In Genesis 48:8-20 we find Jacob (Israel) being brought Joseph’s two sons, laying his
hands upon them shortly before his death and blessing them both. In verse 17, we see
Joseph trying to remove his father’s hands from off his children and swapping them over
so that his right hand rested on the firstborn son, Manasseh, for it was the firstborn who
had special rights concerning inheritance.

Genesis 48:19 And his father refused, and said, I know it, my son, I know it: he also
shall become a people, and he also shall be great: but truly his younger brother shall be
greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.

The right hand is a position of superiority over and above others and of greater blessing
than being positioned at the left hand. Notice that in Genesis 48:19 Jacob says clearly
that Ephraim “shall be greater.” The right hand is a place of honor above all else and all
others.

Jesus has been elevated into a position that can be neither equaled nor bettered. He is
the supreme Head over all things, something which Paul has already stated in different
words in Colossians 1:15-20. There is no other position that can possibly exist that is
more elevated than the one that Jesus now occupies.

Colossians 3:2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

“Set your affection” is from phroneo and means to: “think,” or more thoroughly, “have
this inner disposition.” We are to be continually setting our mind on the things which are
above.

Stop and consider how earthly minded we truly are. Most of the time our attention is
centered on things right around us. It is a natural tendency as we are earth dwellers. It
is natural for us to think about our jobs, our material possessions, our finances, our
health, and the people who are important to us.

We must be aware that we can become trapped in this earthly minded state. If we are
not careful, we will lose our ability to see beyond the natural into the spiritual.

Remember how Jacob’s eyes were opened, and he saw a flight of stairs between earth
and heaven, with spiritual beings ascending and descending:

Genesis 28:12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top
of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

He became aware of the spiritual realm. We should desire to be more aware of that spiritual realm. I recall the story in 2 Kings 6 of Elisha and his servant. Hostile forces were surrounding them, and the servant was terrified. All he saw were the forces that the King of Aram sent out. Elisha saw the forces as well, but he also saw far more. He saw not only the natural but the supernatural as well. And he prayed for his servant, that God would give him eyes to see the supernatural reality of the situation.

2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may
see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the
mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

He is not talking about his physical eyes here but his spiritual eyes. There is a spiritual
reality that most people are totally blind to. As believers, we should want to see that
reality. We should want to be more aware of God’s working in that invisible, unseen
realm of the spirit. Like Elisha’s servant, we often need to have our eyes opened so that
we can see beyond the physical.

This is one of the fundamental problems with the current condition of believers today.
So, many children of God live their entire lives without ever understanding who they are
in Christ and what the provision is that Christ has made for them.

Paul is reminding us of who we are in Christ and of how important it is to see ourselves
from that perspective. He’s showing us that how we live our lives on earth depends on
our having a heavenly perspective.

In the first two verses Paul says it twice: “seek those things which are above… Set your
affection on things above”. In other words, concentrate your attention on eternal
realities. Do not simply look at what is happening around you. Concentrate on that
which does not pass away.

So, what does it mean to “set your affection on things above”? It means that in the midst
of your daily routine, your heart and mind are constantly focused on Christ. It means
that you find your identity and purpose in Christ, and not in the troubles of life. Whether
that is your job, you spouse, your children or whatever. You are to understand that
God’s grace is sufficient for you; that is where your heart finds contentment in Christ’s
promises.

People who keep their priorities in order, keep their lives in order. People who have
happy marriages are happily married, because they have made their marriage a priority.
If you keep your priorities in order, you can keep your life in order. Paul says, “Set your
affection on the things above.”

Paul reminds the Colossians that the reason for them setting their minds on the things
above is:

Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Paul emphatically states, “For ye are dead.” Meaning for you have died once for all. For
you have died once for all.

Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

He says that we “are dead to sin,” He is describing something that happened to us as a
fact. We died to sin. The question is in what sense have believers died to sin. The
answer is found in:

Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through
righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

We have died to the rule and reign of sin. the reign of sin came in through Adam and
was broken by the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul is talking here about our
position before God. Positionally, we have died to the reign of sin under Adam.

God’s Word tells us that we have a new identity in Christ. Our text tells us that two
important things have happened to us, we died and we rose from the dead. The exciting
truth here is that we have been united with Christ.

We are identified with Him and He with us. As Christians, we should never see ourselves apart from Christ. Our lives are hidden with Christ in God. We are thoroughly identified with Christ. He is our life. We are one with Him. We dwell with Him. We are not simply earth dwellers. We are heaven dwellers.

Paul goes on in Colossians 3:3 to say, “and your life is hid with Christ in God.”
There are a lot of different opinions as to exactly what this means. I won’t go into them
here. “Is hid” means that our life was hidden at a point in the past with the results going
on forever. At the point we received Christ, eternal life began and goes on forever.
Jesus put it this way:

John 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither
shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (29) My Father, which gave them me, is
greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

The idea of being “hidden” has the implication that what’s there is concealed and
covered to protect it. “Hid with Christ” is a statement of our eternal security in Christ.
The eternal security of the believer is a matter of our position in Christ before God. This
is something that Christ did for us. It has nothing to do with what we do. We cannot
secure this position by the kind of life we live. The security rests in the death we died in
Christ. Our eternal security before God is a matter of grace. Grace is what God gives,
not what we do.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear
with him in glory.

“Christ, who is our life.” Christ is the author of spiritual life. Christ does not merely give
life; He is life.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth
in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who
loved me, and gave himself for me.

We have come into union with Jesus Christ. We identify with Him and He identifies with
us. Our text says, “Christ, who is our life.” Having that identity has the potential to
change how we see everything.

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear
with him in glory.

The word “appear” means: “to render apparent (literally or figuratively): appear,
manifestly declare, (make) manifest.” The idea is that, if the believer is securely
concealed within Jesus, then, when He appears in glory, so must they.

Matthew Henry said of this verse, Christ is a believer’s life. He lives in us by his Spirit,
and we live to him in all we do. To me to live is Christ, Philippians 1:21. Christ will
appear again. He is now hid; and the heavens must contain him; but he will appear in all
the pomp of the upper world, with his holy angels, and in his own glory and his Father’s
glory.

Mark 8:38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this
adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when
he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

We shall then appear with him in glory. It will be his glory to have his redeemed with
him; he will come to be glorified in his saints.

1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we
shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see
him as he is.

To be like Him is to have His righteousness.

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,
in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through
sufferings.

Matthew Henry continued, At the second coming of Christ there will be a general
meeting of all the saints; and those whose life is now hid with Christ shall then appear
with Christ in that glory which he himself enjoys.

John 17:4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest
me to do.

So, child of God, do we look for our happiness in this world or have we “set our affection
on things above?” What is it on earth that causes us to be so fond of it or draw our hearts to it? Our head, Christ is above, our home is above, our treasure is above and we will be
above forever.

Pastor Don Thomason


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