Colossians 3 commentary

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Information about Colossians 3 commentary

Published on October 23, 2014

Author: glenndpease



Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

1. COLOSSIAS 3 COMMETARY Written and edited by Glenn Pease 3:1. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 1. C.S Lovett paraphrases this, "Since you have risen with Christ, shift your ambitions to heaven. Inasmuch as your Master reigns there, that's the place to invest." 2. In the first part of the third chapter of the Epistle to theColossians, we have noticed several admonitions for living the full life in Jesus Christ :a. "Seek The Heavenly" (3:1-4) b. "Slay The Earthly" (3:5-9)c. "Strengthen The Christly" (3:10-11)2. 3. Chuck Swindoll tells this story about Larry Walters. "The 33 year old truck driver had been sitting around doing zilch week in, week out, until boredom got the best of him. That was back in the summer of '82. He decided enough was enough; what he needed was a adventure. So, on July 2nd of that year he rigged 42 helium-filled weather balloons to a Sears lawn chair in San Pedro and lifted off. Armed with a pellet gun to shot out a few balloons should he fly too high. Walters was shocked to reach 16 thousand feet rather rapidly. He wasn't the only one. Surprised pilots reported seeing "Some guy in a lawn chair floating in the sky" to perplexed air-traffic controllers. Finally, Walters had enough sense to start shooting a few balloons, which allowed him to land safely in Long Beach some 45 minutes later. The bizzare stunt got him a Timex add as well as a guest spot on The Tonight Show. Ultimately, he quit his job to deliever motivational speeches. When asked why he did such a weird thing, Walters usually gave the same answer: "People asked me if I had a death wish. I tell them no, it was something I had to do...I couldn't just sit there." Here was a man who set his affections on things above, but as high as he went he did not go as high as the Christian is to go. The Christian mind is to go all the way into the presence of God. RAISED 4. Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, LIGHT AND DELICIOUS CHRISTIANS My wife will never let me forget one of my early experienceswith breadmaking, trying to make pocket or pita bread. I had shapedthe small round loaves and placed them on a cookie sheet to rise.They utterly refused. Hours later they had spread out to low

2. yellowmounds. In desperation, I finally baked them, hoping for the best.It was not to be. They were hard. I mean really hard. So hard, infact, that my wife quoted Jesus' own words to me: "Which of you, ifhis son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" Now don't get the wrong idea. Over the years I have turned outsome wonderful breads. I've learned two keys: first, make sure youhave enough yeast kneaded in. Second, let it rise in a warm place.I've tried the top of the water heater and our sunny kitchencounter. But the best spot I've found is inside our gas oven, heatedto a constant 75 to 80 degrees by the pilot light. If theenvironment isn't warm enough, all the yeast in the world won'thelp.People rise much the same way. I've seen people who have hadwonderful experiences with the Lord remain stunted in their growthmuch like my stubborn pocket bread. Plenty of yeast, but they failto stay in a warm place where they can grow and let God's leaveningchange them through and through. They end up yeasty but hard, notlight and delicious.The church at its best is like a warm place with the thermostatset on love. There is the stimulus of other people who areexperiencing growth. And there is the kind of teaching and caring,acceptance and challenge that helps us become all God made us to be.Sure, lots of people say you can be a Christian without going3to church. And I've eaten some pretty chewy sourdough in my time,too.What I love most is the sweet aroma of bread which fills ourkitchen. I'll lift the bread bowl from its rising place and see thewonder worked by yeast and sugar and warmth. Then I'll shapeloaf, put it in the oven, and out will come the most mouth-watering,light-textured bread you can ever imagine. You have no choice but toput aside whatever you are doing, slice a piece, and eat it stillwarm from the oven.Our churches can be the kind of delightful kitchens where fragrance fills the room, warm places to grow. Maybe we ought to putout a new sign: "Tender Loaves Made Here." The resurrection of Christ was also our resurrection, for we are risen with Him. When the Head rose the whol body rose. When Jesus conquered death it was like David slaying Goliath. He immediately set the whole army of Israel free from fear and bondage to the giant. When Jesus rose the whole church immediately was set free from fear and bondage to death. There is a past resurrection and a future resurrection. The spiritual resurrection is symbolized by baptism. This first resurrection is from the dead of being dead to God. The final resurrection is of the body. The first death was spiritual and so the first resurrection is spiritual. The second death is physical and so the second resurrection is physical. For resurrection living There is resurrection power, And the praise and prayer of trusting May glorify each hour. For common days are holy, And years are Eastertide, To those who with the living Lord In living faith abide. 5. SET YOUR HEART: It is a matter of the emotional commitment. It is a desire to seek to be near to Christ. Nearer My God To Thee. The Christian who does this will be in a spirit of praise for he will be in a heavenly atmosphere in his mind often. Jesus should act like a magnet drawing our eyes to look up to heaven. This is a split level universe and the Christian is to live on the upper level. Prayer is one of the ways we seek what is above. Prayer makes the darkened cloud withdraw Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;

3. Gives exercise to faith and love, Brings every blessing from above. Some feel it is a waste of time to focus on heaven. They say one world at a time. But those who focus on heaven are the most useful and practical on earth. They are not so heavenly minded they are no earthly good, but rather so heavenly minded they are the only ones who can do any lasting good on earth. 6. THINGS ABOVE: Spence, "Whether the things above be a fuller glimpse of heaven, a clearer title to it, a higher preparatio;n for it, or a sweeter fortaste of it, Christ, now at God's right hand is the source and certre of all." We are to focus on what will be forever and not on what is merely passing. The long range view is the Christian view. The temporal is not unimportant but it is not to take priority over the permanent. O, may the heavenly vision fire Our hearts with ardent love, Till wings of faith, and strong desire, Bear every thought above. 7. RAY STEDMAN, "Recently I attended a Men's Retreat at Mount Hermon and enjoyedTimHansel's wonderful ministry of encouragement. One thing he said struck me forcibly. He declared the symbol of a Christian life ought to be "thumbs up." Not only does that mean "all is well," but it also,according toHansel, is a reminder to Christians of where our true resource lies. How beautifully it fits this passage! Twice in this short section the apostle urges us to set our minds and our hearts on"things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." Just as the thumb points upward, so Christians are to look to "things above"for their help in living life. He means our affections. Think with affectionate gratitude of what the Lord Jesus has already done for you and what he is to you now. This is not a form of escapism. It is not something you try to keep your mind on all day long, tothe exclusion of business, family or home. It is rather something that when your mind is occupied with your family, work problems, or whatever, you also bring into it this extra dimension.Christ is part of that situation.That is what Paul means when he says,"your life is hid with Christ inGod." Christ is involved with your activities. Remind yourself that whatever you are involved in includes also the person of the Lord himself.His wisdom, power and knowledge are all available to you. That is what Paul means. It ought to awaken our loving gratitude. The Christian is to look beyong what the eyes of flesh can see. A man told of his approaching the door of a building, and he noticed from a distance that there was no latch on the door. It appeared he would not be able to enter it. On getting closer he discovered that it was controlled by an electric eye the automatically opened it. Had he stood back and not approached because of what he saw he would not have been able to go through that door. He had to go forward in faith that there must be some way it would open. The women on Easter morning went to the tomb saying who will roll away the stone? They did not see how they could get through, but they moved forward anyway. So we need to see above the visible circumstances and trust God to open doors if we move forward in

4. obedience to His will. 8. "Have you ever wonder how the giant redwoods of California draw water to their foliage, often more than 300 feet in the air? "It is not done through pressure from the roots," wrote Robert Collier. " It is done by pull from above. All through nature the same law will be found......" 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. The heavely minded can better enjoy the things of earth for they are no longer the goal of life but just the fringe benefits and so their is no need to become idolotrous and no need to be crushed if you do not get all that earth offers. It is a matter of the will. We are to choose where we focus our minds and not let them be dominated by the things of the earth so that we neglect what is most vital and eternal. The truly heavenly minded are most effective in their life on earth. If you set your mind on the things of earth you will strive to attain them. But if you set your mind on the heavely things of Christ you will seek to attain those values and you will thereby become a far better Christian. Where your treasure is there will be your heart also. The things above are all positive and thus Paul preceeded Peale in being the father of positive thinking. 9. B. B. Warfield has said that Paul's words here are an "exhortation to us to be in life real citizens of the heavenly kingdom to which we have been transferred; to do the duties and enter into the responsibilities of our new citizenship." Therefore, our motivational principle for seeking holiness is that Christ has set higher standards for us than what the world sets. We must aim to meet and conform to his standards, not the standards of the world. In other words, we are not only to seek heaven, but we are to think heaven. Earthly thoughts will never sustain a heavenly walk. 10. Spuregon writes, "Seek those things which are above, that is, heavenly joys. Oh seek to know on earth the peace of heaven, the rest of heaven, the victory of heaven, the service of heaven, the communion of heaven, the holiness of heaven: You may have fortaste of all of these; seek after them. Seek, in a word, to be preparing for the heaven which Christ is preparing for you. You are soon to dwell of above; robe yourselves for the great festival. Your treasure is above, let your hearts be with it. All that you are to possess in eternity is above, where Christ is; rise, then, and enjoy it. Let hope anticipate the joys which are reserved, and so let us begin our heaven here below. If ye then be risen with Christ, live according to your risen nature, for your life is hid with Christ in God." We might render it thus: "Have a relish for things above"; or, "Study industriously things above": Or, "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." "What are these things above that we should set our affections upon? ...................First, there is God himself. Make Him the subject of your thoughts..................."Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thine heart." ...................O to love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, and with all our strength: That is what the law required, it is what the gospel enables us to render. Next, I see Jesus who is God, but is yet truly a man.............................Fix your mind on Him then. Often meditate on His divine person, His perfect work, His mediatorial glory, His second coming, His glorious rein, His love for you, you own security in Him, your union with Him. Oh let these sweet thoughts process your breasts, fill your mouths, and influence your lives.

5. 11. Barclay writes, "The greek word for man is on anthropos, and in popular etymology the Greeks declared that anthropos literally means "The upward looker." Man's very physical form is the proof that he was designed by God to look up. None the less, the fact is that there are many men who become so immersed in, and so concerned with, the things of this world that they cease to look up; there thoughts and plans and ambitions become limited to this earth. Someone tells how a visitor to a great art gallery saw one of the cleaners at work polishing the floor. "Good morning, " He said, "There are some very wonderful pictures in this gallery." "I suppose there are," the cleaner answered, "If a body had the time to look up." Surrounded by beauty, she was so busy with the floor that she never looked up. Bunyan paints the picture of the man bent double, eyes on the ground, scrabbling among the small dust of the earth, while all the time an angel stood above him offering him a golden crown--and he never saw it, because he never lifted his eyes." 12. Barclay, "The most impressive thing of all about this life of the Christian is the way in which every part of it is connected with Christ. It is lived in Christ 2:6; it is lived with Christ 2:13; it is instructed by Christ 3:16;......................wives are to be subject to their husbands, "As is fitting in the Lord" 3:18; Children are to obey their parents, "For this pleases the Lord" 3:20; Slaves are to obedient, "Fearing the Lord" 3:22; Whatever task we have in mind, we must do it as "Serving the Lord 3:23. It is the Christians relationship to Christ that dominates and dictates every other relationship in life. In his home, at his work, in his church, in his pleasure, in his friendships, in every contact with life at every point, the life of the Christian is in Christ." 13. BARNES, "If ye then be risen with Christ - The apostle in this place evidently founds the argument on what he had said in Col_2:12; see the notes at that passage. The argument is, that there was such an union between Christ and his people, that in virtue of his death they become dead to sin; that in virtue of his resurrection they rise to spiritual life, and that, therefore, as Christ now lives in heaven, they should live for heaven, and fix their affections there. Seek those things which are above - That is, seek them as the objects of pursuit and affection; strive to secure them. Where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God - Notes, Mar_16:19. The argument here is, that since Christ is there, and since he is the object of our supreme attachment, we should fix our affections on heavenly things, and seek to be prepared to dwell with him. 14. CLARKE, "If ye then - Ειουν· Seeing then that ye are risen with Christ; this refers to what he had said, Col_2:12 : Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him. As, therefore, ye have most cordially received the doctrine of Christ; and profess to be partakers of a spiritual religion, that promises spiritual and eternal things; seek those things, and look to be prepared for the enjoyment of them. 14B. CALVIN, "To those fruitless exercises which the false apostles urged, (429) as though perfection consisted in them, he opposes those true exercises in which it

6. becomes Christians to employ themselves; and this has no slight bearing upon the point in hand; for when we see what God would have us do, we afterwards easily despise the inventions of men. When we perceive, too, that what God recommends to us is much more lofty and excellent than what men inculcate, our alacrity of mind increases for following God, so as to disregard men. Paul here exhorts the Colossians to meditation upon the heavenly life. And what as to his opponents? They were desirous to retain their childish rudiments. This doctrine, therefore, makes the ceremonies be the more lightly esteemed. Hence it is manifest that Paul, in this passage, exhorts in such a manner as to confirm the foregoing doctrine; for, in describing solid piety and holiness of life, his aim is, that those vain shows of human traditions may vanish. (430) At the same time, he anticipates an objection with which the false apostles might assail him. What then? “Wouldst thou rather have men be idle than addict themselves to such exercises, of whatever sort they may be?” When, therefore, he bids Christians apply themselves to exercises of a greatly superior kind, he cuts off the handle for this calumny; nay more, he loads them with no small odium, on the ground that they impede the right course of the pious by worthless amusements. (431) 1.If ye are risen with Christ. Ascension follows resurrection: hence, if we are the members of Christ we must ascend into heaven, because he, on being raised up from the dead, was received up into heaven, (Mark 16:19,) that he might draw us up with him. Now, we seek those things which are above, when in our minds (432) we are truly sojourners in this world, and are not bound to it. The word rendered think upon expresses rather assiduity and intensity of aim: “Let your whole meditation be as to this: to this apply your intellect — to this your mind.” But if we ought to think of nothing but of what is heavenly, because Christ is in heaven, how much less becoming were it to seek Christ upon the earth. Let us therefore bear in mind that that is a true and holy thinking as to Christ, which forthwith bears us up into heaven, that we may there adore him, and that our minds may dwell with him. As to the right hand of God, it is not confined to heaven, but fills the whole world. Paul has made mention of it here to intimate that Christ encompasses us by his power, that we may not think that distance of place is a cause of separation between us and him, and that at the same time his majesty may excite us wholly to reverence him. 15. GILL, "If ye then be risen with Christ,.... The apostle having observed in the former chapter, that the believing Colossians were dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, were buried with him in baptism, and were risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, argues from hence how much it became them to regard a new and spiritual life, and to seek after superior and heavenly things, and treat with neglect and contempt carnal and earthly ones. For he does not here call in question their being risen with Christ, but takes it for granted that they were, and makes use of it as an argument for his present purpose. They were risen with Christ as their head, and as members in union with him representatively, when he rose from the dead; and emblematically in their baptism, when having gone down into the water, and being baptized, they emersed from it; and spiritually in conversion, when they were raised from a death of sin, to a life of grace, by Christ, as the resurrection and the life, the efficient cause of it, and in virtue of his resurrection from the dead: wherefore being thus raised again in every sense, it highly became them to

7. seek those things which are above; the better and heavenly country, the continuing city, which is above the heavens, whose builder and maker is God; Christ, who is in heaven, and salvation alone by him without the works of the law; all spiritual blessings, such as pardon, peace, righteousness, life, and glory, which are in heavenly places in him; doctrines and ordinances, which come from heaven, and are the means of supporting a spiritual and heavenly life; especially that bread of life which came down from heaven, and gives life unto the world, and of which if a man eats, he shall never die, but live for ever; and particularly glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life, the crown of righteousness laid up above, the kingdom of God, and the righteousness of it; which are to be sought for in the first place with all affection, earnest desire, care, and diligence, not by or for works of righteousness, but in Christ, and as the gifts of God's grace through him. Where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God: which contains other reasons and arguments to engage believers to look upwards, and seek after heavenly things; that as Christ, when he died and rose again from the dead, did not stay long on earth, nor minded the things of the world, but ascended up to heaven, where he now is, and will remain until his second coming; so they, being dead and risen with him, should, in their thoughts, desires, and affections, in the exercise of the graces of faith, hope, and love, ascend heavenwards, like pillars of smoke perfumed with frankincense; and the more should their hearts be where he is, and intent on things above there, from the consideration of that great honour and dignity in which he is. He is "on the right hand of God"; in human nature, an honour which none of the angels were ever admitted to: here he "sitteth", as having done the work of redemption, and entered into his rest, beholding the travail of his soul with satisfaction, though he continues to be an advocate, and to make intercession for his people; which is another reason enforcing this exhortation. 16. HENRY, "The apostle, having described our privileges by Christ in the former part of the epistle, and our discharge from the yoke of the ceremonial law, comes here to press upon us our duty as inferred thence. Though we are made free from the obligation of the ceremonial law, it does not therefore follow that we may live as we list. We must walk the more closely with God in all the instances of evangelical obedience. He begins with exhorting them to set their hearts on heaven, and take them off from this world: If you then have risen with Christ. It is our privilege that we have risen with Christ; that is, have benefit by the resurrection of Christ, and by virtue of our union and communion with him are justified and sanctified, and shall be glorified. Hence he infers that we must seek those things which are above. We must mind the concerns of another world more than the concerns of this. We must make heaven our scope and aim, seek the favour of God above, keep up our communion with the upper world by faith, and hope, and holy love, and make it our constant care and business to secure our title to and qualifications for the heavenly bliss. And the reason is because Christ sits at the right hand of God. He who is our best friend and our head is advanced to the highest dignity and honour in heaven, and has gone before to secure to us the heavenly happiness; and therefore we should seek and secure what he has purchased at so vast an expense, and is taking so much care about. We must live such a life as Christ lived here on earth and lives now in heaven, according to our capacities. 17. HENRY, "If ... then — The connection with Col_2:18, Col_2:23, is, he had condemned the “fleshly mind” and the “satiating to the full the flesh”; in contrast to this he now says, “If then ye have been once for all raised up (Greek, aorist tense) together

8. with Christ” (namely, at your conversion and baptism, Rom_6:4). seek those things ... above — (Mat_6:33; Phi_3:20). sitteth — rather, as Greek, “Where Christ is, sitting on the right of God” (Eph_1:20). The Head being quickened, the members are also quickened with Him. Where the Head is, there the members must be. The contrast is between the believer’s former state, alive to the world but dead to God, and his present state, dead to the world but alive to God; and between the earthly abode of the unbeliever and the heavenly abode of the believer (1Co_15:47, 1Co_15:48). We are already seated there in Him as our Head; and hereafter shall be seated by Him, as the Bestower of our bliss. As Elisha (2Ki_2:2) said to Elijah when about to ascend, “As the Lord liveth ... I will not leave thee”; so we must follow the ascended Savior with the wings of our meditations and the chariots of our affections. We should trample upon and subdue our lusts that our conversation may correspond to our Savior's condition; that where the eyes of apostles were forced to leave Him, thither our thoughts may follow Him (Mat_6:21; Joh_12:32) [Pearson]. Of ourselves we can no more ascend than a bar of iron lift itself up’ from the earth. But the love of Christ is a powerful magnet to draw us up (Eph_2:5, Eph_2:6). The design of the Gospel is not merely to give rules, but mainly to supply motives to holiness. 18. EBC 1-4, "THE PRESENT CHRISTIAN LIFE A RISEN LIFE We have now done with controversy. We hear no more about heretical teachers. The Apostle has cut his way through the tangled thickets of error, and has said his say as to the positive truths with which he would hew them down. For the remainder of the letter, we have principally plain practical exhortations, and a number of interesting personal details. The paragraph which we have now to consider is the transition from the controversial to the ethical portion of the Epistle. It touches the former by its first words, "If ye then were raised together with Christ," which correspond in form and refer in meaning to the beginning of the previous paragraph, "If ye died with Christ." It touches the latter because it embodies the broad general precept, "Seek the things that are above," of which the following practical directions are but varying applications in different spheres of duty. In considering these words we must begin by endeavouring to put clearly their connection and substance. As they flew from Paul’s eager lips, motive and precept, symbol and fact, the present and future are blended together. It may conduce to clearness if we try to part these elements. There are here two similar exhortations, side by side. "Seek the things that are above," and "Set your mind on the things that are above." The first is preceded, and the second is followed by its reason. So the two laws of conduct are, as it were, enclosed like a kernel in its shell, or a jewel in a gold setting, by encompassing motives. These considerations, in which the commandments are embedded, are the double thought of union with Christ in His resurrection, and in His death, and as consequent thereon, participation in His present hidden life, and in His future glorious manifestation. So we have here the present budding life of the Christian in union with the risen, hidden Christ; the future consummate flower of the Christian life in union with the glorious manifested Christ; and the practical aim and direction which alone are consistent with either bud or flower. I. The present budding life of the Christian in union with the risen, hidden Christ. Two aspects of this life are set forth in Col_3:1 and Col_3:3 -"raised with Christ," and "ye died, and your life is hid with Christ." A still profounder thought lies in the words of

9. Col_3:4, "Christ is our life." We have seen in former parts of this Epistle that Paul believed that, when a man puts His faith in Jesus Christ, he is joined to Him in such a way that he is separated from his former self and dead to the world. That great change may be considered either with reference to what the man has ceased to be, or with reference to what he becomes. In the one aspect, it is a death; in the other, it is a resurrection. It depends on the point of view whether a semicircle seems convex or concave. The two thoughts express substantially the same fact. That great change was brought about in these Colossian Christians, at a definite time, as the language shows; and by a definite means- namely, by union with Christ through faith, which grasps His death and resurrection as at once the ground of salvation, the pattern for life, and the prophecy of glory. So then, the great truths here are these; the impartation of life by union with Christ, which life is truly a resurrection life, and is, moreover, hidden with Christ in God. Union with Christ by faith is the condition of a real communication of life. "In Him was life," says John’s Gospel, meaning thereby to assert, in the language of our Epistle, that "in Him were all things created, and in Him all things consist." Life in all its forms is dependent on union in varying manner with the Divine, and upheld only by His continual energy, The creature must touch God or perish. Of that energy the Uncreated Word of God is the channel-"with Thee is the fountain of life." As the life of the body, so the higher self-conscious life of the thinking, feeling, striving soul, is also fed and kept alight by the perpetual operation of a higher Divine energy, imparted in like manner by the Divine Word. Therefore, with deep truth, the psalm just quoted, goes on to say, "In Thy light shall we see light"-and therefore, too, John’s Gospel continues: "And the life was the light of men." But there is a still higher plane on which life may be manifested, and nobler energies which may accompany it. The body may live, and mind and heart be dead. Therefore Scripture speaks of a threefold life: that of the animal nature, that of the intellectual and emotional nature, and that of the spirit, which lives when it is conscious of God, and touches Him by aspiration, hope, and love. This is the loftiest life. Without it, a man is dead while he lives. With it, he lives though he dies. And like the others, it depends on union with the Divine life as it is stored in Jesus Christ- but in this case, the union is a conscious union by faith. If I trust to Him, and am thereby holding firmly by Him, my union with Him is so real, that, in the measure of my faith, His fulness passes over into my emptiness, His righteousness into my sinfulness, His life into my death, as surely as the electric shock thrills my nerves when I grasp the poles of the battery. No man can breathe into another’s nostrils the breath of life. But Christ can and does breathe His life into us; and this true miracle of a communication of spiritual life takes place in every man who humbly trusts himself to Him. So the question comes home to each of us-am I living by my union with Christ? do I draw from Him that better being which He is longing to pour into my withered, dead spirit? It is not enough to live the animal life the more it is fed, the more are the higher lives starved and dwindled. It is not enough to live the life of intellect and feeling. That may be in brightest, keenest exercise, and yet we-our best selves-may be dead-separated from God in Christ, and therefore dead-and all our activity may be but as a galvanic twitching of the muscles in a corpse. Is Christ our life, its source, its strength, its aim, its motive? Do we live in Him, by Him, with Him, for Him.? If not, we are dead while we live. This life from Christ is a resurrection life. "The power of Christ’s resurrection" is three fold-as a seal of His mission and Messiahship, "declared to be the Son of God, by His resurrection from the dead"; as a prophecy and pledge of ours, "now is Christ risen from

10. the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept"; and as a symbol and pattern of our new life of Christian consecration, "likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be indeed dead unto sin." This last use of the resurrection of Christ is a plain witness of the firm, universal, and uncontested belief in the historical fact, throughout the Churches which Paul addressed. The fact must have been long familiar and known as undoubted, before it could have been thus moulded into a symbol. But, passing from that, consider that our union to Christ produces a moral and spiritual change analogous to His resurrection. After all, it is the moral and not the mystical side which is the main thing in Paul’s use of this thought. He would insist that all true Christianity operates a death to the old self, to sin, and to the whole present order of things, and endows a man with new tastes, desires, and capacities, like a resurrection to a new being. These heathen converts-picked from the filthy cesspools in which many of them had been living, and set on a pure path, with the astounding light of a Divine love flooding it, and a bright hope painted on the infinite blackness ahead-had surely passed into a new life. Many a man in this day, long familiar with Christian teaching, has found himself made over again in mature life, when his heart has grasped Christ. Drunkards, profligates, outcasts, have found it life from the dead; and even where there has not been such complete visible revolution as in them, there has been such deep-seated central alteration that it is no exaggeration to call it resurrection. The plain fact is that real Christianity in a man will produce in him a radical moral change. If our religion does not do that in us, it is nothing. Ceremonial and doctrine are but means to an end-making us better men. The highest purpose of Christ’s work, for which He both "died and rose and revived," is to change us into the likeness of His own beauty of perfect purity. That risen life is no mere exaggeration of mystical rhetoric, but an imperative demand of the highest morality, and the plain issue of it is: "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body." Do I say that I am a Christian? The test by which my claim must be tried is the likeness of my life here to Him who has died unto sift, and liveth unto God. But the believing soul is risen with Christ also, inasmuch as our union with Him makes us partakers of His resurrection as our victory over death. The water in the reservoir and in the fountain is the same; the sunbeam in the chamber and in the sky is one. The life which flows into our spirits from Christ is a life that has conquered death, and makes us victors in that last conflict, even though we have to go down into the darkness. If Christ live in us, we can never die. "It is not possible that we should be holden of it." The bands which He broke can never be fastened on our limbs. The gates of death were so warped and the locks so spoiled, when He burst them asunder, that they can never be closed again. There are many arguments for a future life beyond the grave, but there is only one proof of it-the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. So, trusting in Him, and with our souls bound in the bundle of life with our Lord the King, we can cherish quiet thankfulness of heart, and bless the God and Father of our Lord who hath begotten us again into a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This risen life is a hidden life. Its roots are in Him. He has passed in His ascension into the light which is inaccessible, and is hidden in its blaze, bearing with Him our life, concealed there with Him in God. Faith stands gazing into heaven, as the cloud, the visible manifestation from of old of the Divine presence, hides Him from sight, and turns away feeling that the best part of its true self is gone with Him. So here Paul points his finger upwards to where "Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God," and says-We are here in outward seeming, but our true life is there, if we are His. And what majestic, pregnant words these are! How full, and yet how empty for a prurient curiosity, and how reverently reticent even while they are triumphantly confident! How gently they suggest repose-deep and unbroken, and yet full of active

11. energy! For if the attitude imply rest, the locality-"at the right hand of God"-expresses not only the most intimate approach to, but also the wielding of the Divine omnipotence. What is the right hand of God but the activity of His power? and what less can be ascribed to Christ here, than His being enthroned in closest union with the Father, exercising Divine dominion, and putting forth Divine power. No doubt the ascended and glorified bodily manhood of Jesus Christ has a local habitation, but the old psalm might teach us that wherever space is, even there "Thy right hand upholds," and there is our ascended Lord, sitting as in deepest rest, but working all the work of God. And it is just because He is at the right hand of God that He is hid. The light hides. He has been lost to sight in the glory. He has gone in thither, bearing with Him the true source and root of our lives into the secret place of the Most High. Therefore we no longer belong to this visible order of things in the midst of which we tarry for a while. The true spring that feeds our lives lies deep beneath all the surface waters. These may dry up, but it will flow. These may be muddied with rain, but it will be limpid as ever. The things seen do not go deep enough to touch our real life. They are but as the winds that fret, and the currents that sway the surface and shallower levels of the ocean, while the great depths are still. The circumference is all a whirl; the centre is at rest. Nor need we leave out of sight, though it be not the main thought here, that the Christian life is hidden, inasmuch as here on earth action ever falls short of thought, and the love and faith by which a good man lives can never be fully revealed in his conduct and character. You cannot carry electricity from the generator to the point where it is to work without losing two thirds of it by the way. Neither word nor deed can adequately set forth a soul; and the profounder and nobler the emotion, the more inadequate are the narrow gates of tongue and hand to give it passage. The deepest love can often only "love and be silent." So, while every man is truly a mystery to his neighbour, a life which is rooted in Christ is more mysterious to the ordinary eye than any other. It is fed by hidden manna. It is replenished from a hidden source. It is guided by other than the world’s motives, and follows unseen aims. "Therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not." II. We have the future consummate flower of the Christian life in union with the manifested, glorious Christ. The future personal manifestation of Jesus Christ in visible glory is, in the teaching of all the New Testament writers, the last stage in the series of His Divine human conditions. As surely as the Incarnation led to the cross, and the cross to the empty grave, and the empty grave to the throne, so surely does the throne lead to the coming again in glory. And as with Christ, so with His servants, the manifestation in glory is the certain end of all the preceding, as surely as the flower is of the tiny green leaves that peep above the frost-bound earth in bleak March days. Nothing in that future, however glorious and wonderful, but has its germ and vital beginning in our union with Christ here by humble faith. The great hopes which we may cherish are gathered up here into these words-"shall be manifested with Him." That is far more than was conveyed by the old translation-"shall appear." The roots of our being shall be disclosed, for He shall come, "and every eye shall see Him." We shall be seen for what we are The outward life shall correspond to the inward. The faith and love which often struggled in vain for expression and were thwarted by the obstinate flesh, as a sculptor trying to embody his dream might be by a block of marble with many a flaw and speck, shall then be able to reveal themselves completely. Whatever is in the heart shall be fully visible in the life. Stammering words and imperfect deeds shall vex us no more. "His name shall be in their

12. foreheads"-no longer only written in fleshly tables of the heart and partially visible in the character, but stamped legibly and completely on life and nature. They shall walk in the light, and so shall be seen of all. Here the truest followers of Christ shine like an intermittent star, seen through mist and driving cloud: "Then shall the righteous blaze forth like the sun in the kingdom of My Father." But this is not all. The manifestation is to be "with Him." The union which was here effected by faith, and marred by many an interposing obstacle of sin and selfishness, of flesh and sense, is to be perfected then. No film of separation is any more to break its completeness. Here we often lose our hold of Him amidst the distractions of work, even when done for His sake; and our life is at best but an imperfect compromise between contemplation and action; but then, according to that great saying, "His servants shall serve Him, and see His face," the utmost activity of consecrated service, though it be far more intense and on a nobler scale than anything here, will not interfere with the fixed gaze on His countenance. We shall serve like Martha, and yet never remove from sitting with Mary, rapt and blessed at His feet. This is the one thought of that solemn future worth cherishing. Other hopes may feed sentiment, and be precious sometimes to aching hearts. A reverent longing or an irreverent curiosity may seek to discern something more in the far off light. But it is enough for the heart to know that "we shall ever be with the Lord"; and the more we have that one hope in its solitary grandeur, the better. We shalt be with Him "in glory." That is the climax of all that Paul would have us hope. "Glory" is the splendour and light of the self-revealing God. In the heart of the blaze stands Christ; the bright cloud enwraps Him, as it did on the mountain of transfiguration, and into the dazzling radiance His disciples will pass as His companions did then, nor "fear as they enter into the cloud." They walk unshrinking in that beneficent fire, because with them is one like unto the Son of man, through whom they dwell, as in their own calm home, amidst "the everlasting burning," which shall not destroy them, but kindle them into the likeness of its own flashing glory. Then shall the life which here was but in bud, often unkindly nipped and struggling, burst into the consummate beauty of the perfect flower "which fadeth not away." III. We have the practical aim and direction which alone are consistent with either stage of the Christian life. Two injunctions are based upon these considerations-"seek," and "set your mind upon," the things that are above. The one points to the outward life of effort and aim; the other to the inward life of thought and longing. Let the things above, then, be the constant mark at which you aim. There is a vast realm of real existence of which your risen Lord is the centre and the life. Make it the point to which you strive. That will riot lead to despising earth and nearer objects. These, so far as they are really good and worthy, stand right in the line of direction which our efforts will take it we are seeking the things that are above, and may all be stages on our journey Christwards. The lower objects are best secured by those who live for the higher. No man is so well able to do the smallest duties here, or to bear the passing troubles of this world of illusion and change, or to wring the last drop of sweetness out of swiftly fleeting joys, as he to whom everything on earth is dwarfed by the eternity beyond, as some hut beside a palace, and is great because it is like a little window a foot square through which infinite depths of sky with all their stars shine in upon him. The true meaning and greatness of the present are that it is the vestibule of the august future. The staircase leading to the presence chamber of the king may be of poor deal, narrow crooked, and stowed away in a dark turret, but it has dignity by reason of that to which it gives access. So let our aims pass through the

13. earthly and find in them helps to the things that are above. We should not fire all our bullets at the short range. Seek ye first the kingdom of God-the things which are above. "Set your mind on" these things, says the Apostle further. Let them occupy mind and heart-and this in order that we may seek them. The direction of the aims will follow the set and current of the thoughts. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." How can we be shaping our efforts to reach a good which we have not clearly before our imaginations as desirable? How should the life of so many professing Christians be other than a lame creeping along the low levels of earth, seeing that so seldom do they look up to "see the King in His beauty and the land that is very far off"? John Bunyan’s "man with the muckrake" grubbed away so eagerly among the rubbish because he never lifted his eyes to the crown that hung above his head. In many a silent, solitary hour of contemplation, with the world shut out and Christ brought very near, we must find the counterpoise to the pressure of earthly aims, or our efforts after the things that are above will be feeble and broken. Life goes at such, a pace today, and the present is so exacting with most of us, that quiet meditation is, I fear me, almost out of fashion with Christian people. We must become more familiar with the secret place of the most High, and more often enter into our chambers and shut our doors about us, if in the bustle of our busy days we are to aim truly and strongly at the only object which saves life from being a waste and a sin, a madness and a misery-"the things which are above, where Christ is." "Where Christ is." Yes, that is the only thought which gives definiteness and solidity to that else vague and nebulous unseen universe; the only thought which draws our affections thither. Without Him, there is no footing for us there. Rolling mists of doubt and dim hopes warring with fears, strangeness, and terrors wrap it all. "I go to prepare a place for you" - a place where desire and thought may walk unterrified and undoubting even now, and where we ourselves may abide when our time comes, nor shrink from the light nor be oppressed by the glory. "My knowledge of that life is small, The eye of faith is dim, But ‘tis enough that Christ knows all, And I shall be with Him." Into that solemn world we shall all pass. We can choose whether we shall go to it as to our long sought home, to find in it Him who is our life; or whether we shall go reluctant and afraid, leaving all for which we have cared, and going to Him whom we have neglected and that which we have feared. Christ will be manifested, and we shall see Him. We can choose whether it will be to us the joy of beholding the soul of our soul, the friend long loved when dimly seen from afar; or whether it shall be the vision of a face that will stiffen us to stone and stab us with its light. We must make our choice. If we give our hearts to Him, and by faith unite ourselves with Him, then, "when He shall appear, we shall have boldness, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." 19. HAWKER 1-4, "(1) 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. The Apostle begins with calling upon the Church, as the risen members of Christ’s mystical body, to a suitable and corresponding frame. The Reader will do well to connect what Paul hath here said of being risen with Christ, with what he had before said of the

14. Church’ being complete in Christ, being quickened together with Christ, and having had forgiven to them all trespasses. See Col_2:10; Col_2:13. As such he now calls upon the members of Christ’s body, who were once dead in their sins, but now brought forth into a new and spiritual life in Christ, their glorious Head, to manifest the reality of this new life, by living to Christ, and upon Christ, and causing their whole affections to center in Christ, as the members of the body live by the head. Let the Reader mark this; and he will then learn here, as in the other Epistles, that it is the Church to whom Paul writes, and not to the unawakened, ungodly, and carnal world. All exhortations of this kind are addressed to the living Church in Christ. And, indeed, common sense might plainly shew it, if men did but attend properly to the subject. For, until Christ be received, how can he be lived upon? What communion can an unawakened, unregerated sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, have with a living Savior? The object must be known before we can set our affections upon him. And, hence, when God quickens the sinner, then, and not before, those effects follow, 2Co_4:6; Eph_2:1; Eph_2:14. I hardly know where to begin in my observations on what the Apostle hath said of a life hid with Christ in God. Such deep mysteries are contained in the subject. And as to ending a Commentary upon the doctrine, this is impossible. I can only allow myself to glance at some few of the more prominent features, which appear here and there, in the contemplation of those deep things of God, and beg of the Almighty Author of his holy word, to guide both my heart and pen to offer no observations but what are in perfect conformity to his divine truth. The Apostle begins with stating the situation of the Church, recovered from the Adam-fall of nature, For ye are dead. Not dead in sin, but dead to sin. Neither dead in body. For, as Adam in his transgression died, not in body, but in spirit, when he fell under the sentence of death, at the original transgression; so all his seed, while dead in trespasses and sins, are not dead in body, but in spirit. In neither sense, therefore, did Paul, in this place, mean the Church was dead. But the death here intended to be understood, is what Paul had before shewn. Dead with Christ in his death, having been crucified with him as the members of his body; buried with him by baptism into death; risen with him through the faith of the operation of God; and by means of which, having redemption in his blood, the forgiveness of all their sins, according to the riches of his grace. And your life is hid with Christ in God. Here is a depth of subject which angels cannot explore. The life that is here said to be hid, cannot mean a natural life, for this, though derived at first from Christ, kept up and maintained in Christ, is not hidden. And the carnal and sinful life is too visible, from day to day, in the workings and breakings out of it, to be called hidden. But the life bid with Christ is spiritual. And blessedly so it is. For all, and every part of it is in, and from, Christ, from the first moment of regeneration, when a soul is quickened in Christ, until brought home to glory, all the communications are from Jesus. He is the life and breath, and food, and sustenance, and strength, and support; yea, the fountain of all life; All my springs, said one of old, are in thee, Psa_ 87:7. These things are plain to be understood, though not describable in all their operations. But when the Apostle adds, that this life is not only hid with Christ, but with Christ in God; here we have a bottom of mystery unfathomable! Our Lord hath said the same in those memorable words of his prayer: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also maybe one with us, Joh_17:21. But this, though confirming the precious truth, doth not further explain it. Indeed to faculties merely created, it should seem it is impossible to convey adequate apprehension. All we can do, in subjects of this mysterious nature, (which are given to us for the acceptation of our faith, and not for our investigation,) is to follow the command, compare spiritual things

15. with spiritual, 1Co_2:13. In this before us, where our life is said to be in Christ, we are told that this life is hid with Christ in God. In that, by the same writer, where our reconciliation is made with God by Christ, the words are, God was in Christ, 2Co_5:19. And what do we learn, from both viewed together, but that every blessing relating to the Church, is in Christ, and from our union with him, we are interested in all, and that Christ, as Christ, gives an everlasting security to all our blessings, because Christ is in God, and God in Christ. Here, if we rest, is enough to form the firmest assurance of faith. And what can any child of God want more, when he calls to remembrance, that all the three heavenly witnesses join in testimony to this precious record; that God hath given to us eternal life, and this lift is in his Son, 1Jn_5:7-11. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye appear with him in glory. Here we come in to open day-light. And this sums up all, we need to know. One with Christ, and a life hid with Christ, and with Christ in God; assured of these great and glorious truths, we ground all that is blessed in the exercise of hope, for all we need in a life of faith, and grace, here below. But, when the testimony of these divine things closeth with an assurance, that when He who is now our life shall appear, we shall appear with him in glory; what can the utmost desire of the redeemed child of God figure to himself more blessed, to keep his expectation alive, and to have his affection always above, in the assured hope, of a joy unspeakable and full of glory. I pray the Reader not to dismiss this precious portion of God’s word, before that he hath taken with him some of the many very blessed things contained in it. First. Let him pause, and consider the blessedness of a life in Christ. It is, to all intents, and purposes, being made a partaker of the divine nature. So the Holy Ghost, by his servant the Apostle, declares it. According (saith he) as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness. And he adds, being made partakers of the divine nature, 2Pe_1:3-4. Yea, the Lord Jesus, calls it eternal life. That 1 should give eternal life, to as many as thou hast given me, . Joh_17:2. And how should it be otherwise, when Christ declares, that there is an union between himself and people. I in them, and thou in me, Joh_17:23. Reader! ponder the thought well, for it is most blessed. Secondly. Consider the security of this life. It is in Christ, and with Christ, in God. And what then shall ever arise, to make it liable to loss, or interruption? Paul saith it is hidden. Hence, it is not discoverable by any enemies; and if it be not within their knowledge to discover, how shall it be within their reach to take away? How sweetly Jesus speaks to this point. My sheep hear my voice: and I know them: and they follow me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are One, Joh_10:27-30. And elsewhere Jesus saith: because I live, ye shall live also, Joh_14:19. Thirdly. It’s being hidden with Christ, which secures it from the ravages of the world; secures it no less, from their notice, and observation. It is blessed, yea, very blessed, to eat of that bread in secret, which Jesus himself hands to his people; and which none knoweth, saving, him that receiveth it. And who shall number up the many visits, and love-tokens of Jesus, to his people? See some of his promises, Joh_14:23; Rev_3:20-21. And even when at any time we lose sight of him, Jesus never loseth sight of us. Hidden as our spiritual life in Christ may be, to our view; there is no remission or interruption with him. The Church thought her Lord had withdrawn, when she said: the Lord hath

16. forsaken me 9 and my Lord hath forgotten me! But was it so? Read, and behold the reverse: Isa_49:14-17. Reader! if the Lord hath in mercy awakened you from the death of sin, to a life hidden with Christ in God; ponder over these unspeakable mercies. Life, and union with Christ; hidden, and secure; eternal, and everlasting. Neither is it a small sweetener of those mercies which are unspeakable and full of glory, that the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not, 1Jn_3:1. 20. BI 1-4, "Risen with Christ There is no doubt a supposition in the “if.” The apostle takes it for granted that Christians were raised together with Christ, and admonishes them, therefore, to evince it in their life. The resurrection of Christ is represented as giving to His people— I. A new aim. Man is born to aspire, and when he rises with the victorious Christ he aspires to heavenly things. The new quest is for righteousness, holiness, patience, devotion, love, and self-sacrifice. II. A new heart. The affections are to be set on things above, not as in the unregenerate state on earthly things. It might be possible to seek heavenly things merely in obedience to authority or convictions of duty, but that we may be raised above that, we are encouraged to set our whole heart and mind upon Divine realities. III. A new life. Dead to the world, they have nevertheless a resurrection life hid with Christ in God. And their earthly life of duty and endurance corresponds with the secret fountain from which it flows. IV. A new hope which— 1. Respects Christ—“He shall be manifested.” It is the blessed hope, the glorious appearing. He shall come the-second time without sin unto salvation. 2. Respects Christians. Spiritually raised with Christ, they will share His revelation. (Family Churchman.) 1. St. Paul has just been dealing with a system of repression and abstinence which had a vain show of wisdom, but did not touch the spring of action, and was therefore of no value in resistance to indulgence of the flesh. Would you know, he asks, how you may be lifted above the tyranny of sense, and be initiated into the true secret of temperance and chastity? To go back to a system of bondage fit only for the childhood of the race is to forget the characteristic feature of Christianity, which is the elevating of the whole man into a new region of thought and action, in virtue of union with One who has ascended into that heaven where your true life is hid with Him in God. 2. This is Paul’s great doctrine. (1) He seems almost to picture a pursuit of the sinner by the Avenger of blood which is disappointed by his reception into the City of Refuge. “That I may win Christ and befound in Him,” so that when I am looked for only Christ is to be seen. (2) But inclusion in Christ is more than for safety, it is for comfort in trouble, strength in weakness, life in death.

17. 3. This union is expressed in a retrospective way. If I am in Christ I am in Him as that which He is now, as one who has died, risen and ascended; and when He died I died, and when God exalted Him He set me with Him. Henceforth I must live the risen life, and live above the world as one who has done with its cares, tails, and lying vanities. “He that is dead is freed from sin;” he that is raised must mind the things above, have them for his interest, employment, study, affection, so that when the veil is removed which now hides Him we may be manifested with Him. I. The resurrection of Christ is a fact, as much of history as of the faith of Christendom, and attested by convincing evidence on the part of unexceptionable witnesses. II. Our resurrection with Christ is a fact spiritual, but real, and contained in Christ’s resurrection. To some minds a spiritual fact is a self-contradiction. But a spiritual fact is, above all other kinds, a factor in history. It sets in motion influences which change the face of nations, working those miracles of good in comparison with which the rise and fall of dynasties are vanity. III. This resurrection is effected by union with Christ. The word “union” is used very loosely. We speak of a combination of a few thousands for a purpose salutary or mischievous as union, little thinking what the term is which we take in vain. But this union is one which man cannot have with man. It is a union of spirit, and such that the spirit of the Saviour not only influences the spirit of the man from outside, as our mind is wrought upon by speech or books, but from within. “He shall be in you.” IV. How and when is this union realized. Paul says that all we who are baptized into Christ, there and then put on Christ. “We were buried with Him by our baptism into death.” If this realization of Christ has not yet been given us, let us not take refuge in names and forms, saying, “I have it as a thing of course, for I have been baptized.” If you have it you will know it; if you have it not yet it is yours by right. Baptism is at any rate the promise of God, to each one, of his grace and acceptance in proportion to the need and entreaty. V. This union is between Christ in heaven and us. That Christ is there need not repel any one from seeking Him. “He ascended that He might fill all things.” When He was upon earth He did not even fill Palestine. Now by virtue of His exaltation He can fill every soul with Himself. VI. Therefore we must seek the things above. 1. The contrast is to things on earth—harassing anxiety, importunate vanity, consuming ambition, exciting pleasure, shameful self-indulgence. The things above are the realities of which these are counterfeits, the grand and satisfying pursuits of which these are the phantoms, things which bring comfort and peace and rest to the soul. 2. Every honest searching of the heart to root out what God hates, every earnest effort after forgiveness, every aspiration after a Diviner life, every sincere endeavour, is a seeking after the things above. 3. By degrees there shall be in every such seeker a change of places between earth and heaven. From seeking he shall rise to thinking the things above, and when at last the door opens, and he is called in to see the King in His beauty, he shall find himself in no strange scene or company. (Dean Vaughan.)

18. Christ and the higher nature That there is a higher life which we may and ought to live, all men, in whom there is any religion, feel; and what is peculiar to the gospel is not the bare idea of this life, but the revelation of its character, power, and attainment. I. The nature of this higher life. 1. It is “above.” But is not this just what has been ob jected to—that Christianity concerns itself with another world rather than with this? And is not this very exaltation a weakness and a delusion. What nobler ideal can there be than to make the present life better. But Christ’s ideal was a kingdom, in our hearts, it is true, yet “of heaven,” not of earth. It was, in short, a higher Divine life that was to irradiate our poor human life, and to glorify it. It was no development from below, but a revelation from on high, and without this Christianity has no meaning. Cut away its Divine side, and it is destroyed. 2. This life is not merely in the future, although it embraces it. It concerns itself with another world, yet it does not despise things on the earth. The kingdom is now, and not to be reached after death, and the things above are to be possessed now. These are the things of which the apostle speaks presently, “kindness,” etc.

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