1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Paul is referring back to their baptism, mentioned in chapter 2, verse 12. The reasoning is this:
By your symbolic submission to death in baptism, you signify a willingness to die to all the things belonging to the world, and to attach yourself unreservedly to the things related to Christ, and you entered a solemn covenant to set your heart and interest on heavenly things. ARE YOU LIVING UP TO YOUR WORD? A covenant with man is a solemn obligation - a covenant with GOD is infinitely more so. *
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
That is, arrange your LIFE in harmony with your PROFESSIONS - accumulate nothing on earth to hold your attention and desires. Conduct your affairs so that ALL your prospects and pleasures and advantages are bound up with the FUTURE and not the present. Jesus' way is very simple - IF we wholeheartedly accept it.
It is the ONLY way. *
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
A dead man has no worldly cares or attachments. The believer - in baptism - voluntarily dies to the world. There is no greater break that can be made than DEATH, yet how difficult it is to realize ALL that is implied in this symbolic action! Paul is pleading for the REASONABLE necessity of a WALK consistent with the position we have professedly taken - a position we voluntarily took in hope of great personal gain. If you are dead to the world, he reasons, WHY are you concerned with its empty, perishing possessions and customs and interests? *
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
Shall we fear to confront Christ?
It is possible to do so unnecessarily. It has been argued that the uncertainty of Christ's verdict, coupled with the terrible pictures which the Scriptures give of the rejected, warrant fear. This is an unfortunate mistake. Bible revelation is intended to inspire earnest, truth-loving men with confidence. Let us look at a few of the many beautiful Bible promises and assurances: "They shall never perish," "They shall be mine," "Shall change our vile body," "When he shall appear we shall be like him," "When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."
Of what value are such promises and assurances if the friends of Christ are going to shiver at the prospect of seeing him? Under no circumstances can this fearing be acceptable to Christ. As to uncertainty concerning the judgment verdict, this is a fault resting with ourselves, and is remediable.
If it is a question of not knowing whether we keep all Christ's commandments, then let us give greater study to the book of his law. Is it anxiety lest we keep not sufficiently these commandments? Let us set the mind at rest by remembering that Christ will cast off no one whose life is characterised by a desire to know and to do his will, however feeble and imperfect the result.
It is only the idle, non-effort-making, wilful sinner that the Scriptures deprive of hope. Let us cheer up in the matter of the coming of Christ.
To the fearful heart God says: "Be strong, fear not." Misgiving means the loss of strength-strength which no one can afford to lose in the struggle for life.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Sept 1894. p340.
''And if the righteous is scarcely [with difficulty] saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?'' (1 Pet 4:18)
He hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins. (Col 1:13-14)
But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy. (Prov 28:13)
5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:
So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]. (Col 3:5) AMP
'...the final crowning item in this list of ungodly vices is such a subtle part of our sin-flesh as to ALWAYS be a problem-"COVETOUSNESS, which is IDOLATRY." The Spirit could use no stronger expression of abhorrence and condemnation than "idolatry" in describing covetousness.
"THE DESIRE TO HAVE MORE"
Covetousness - "the desire to have more," as Young's Concordance translates it. Why does God HATE it so? Because it is so DESTRUCTIVE of ALL the principles of the heavenly teaching of Christ upon which salvation depends. "Having food and raiment, therewith BE CONTENT" is the command - the PLAIN command - of our Master. The world is ENTIRELY given over to covetousness and greed. It is the root, says Paul (1 Tim. 6:10) of ALL EVIL. Jesus (Mk. 7:22) associates covetousness with theft, wickedness and deceit. Again he says (Lk. 12:15)-
"BEWARE of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."
It is an evil, consuming disease, a mocking waster of time and lives. Because of the infection in the Brotherhood of this universal malady, countless hours are spent in getting worldly things that could be given to the service of God. When the Lord comes to demand an accounting of his servants, WHAT SHALL WE SAY? Shall we proudly show him our houses, our clothes, our cars? It will be difficult to explain to the Lord of heaven and earth that OUR standard of living and worldly possessions during our probation had to be so vastly greater than HIS. "The servant is not above his master."
"Covetousness, which is IDOLATRY: for which things' sake the WRATH of God cometh on the children of disobedience" (Col. 3:5-6). *
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
The glad tidings which can revolutionize the mind, change the motives, and induce purity of life, personal holiness, disinterested philanthropy and benevolence, and unreserved obedience to the will of Yahweh.
KNOWLEDGE is the key to the whole process. Knowledge is a matter of learning and effort. We should ALL know the Scriptures FAR better than we do. Daily we are reminded of our ignorance in this direction - of the countless wasted opportunities for learning and study. *
When the spirit of the mind has become renewed, the moral image of Christ is reflected therefrom. This renewing of the inner man. is a process which is predetermined by the Father. As saith the apostle: "Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. that he might be the first-born among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29).
Sis Lasius - Yahweh Elohim Ch 4
10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
"Ye are clean," said Jesus to His disciples," through the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3). This word, which is defined to be "the law and the testimony" (Isaiah 8:20), is the great instrument of holiness and purification. It changes men's minds, loosens their attachment to earthly things; causes them to place their affection on things above; creates a new and right spirit within them; diffuses the love of God abroad in their hearts; separates them from sinners; leads them into Christ; and, developes in their lives, fruit characteristic of that repentance which needs not to be repented of.
The Lord Jesus styles it, "the word of the kingdom" (Matt. 13:19); and Peter, the incorruptible seed (1 Peter 1:23); and Paul, "the word of the truth of the gospel" (Col. 1:5); and John, "God's seed" (1 John 3:9); and by James it is termed, "the word of truth" (James 1:18), with which the invariable and unvacillating Father of lights begets His children, that they should be "a kind of first fruits of His creatures."
It is by this word that an individual is renewed or renovated so as, in an intellectual and moral sense, to become a "new man" as appears from what the apostle says to the brethren at Colosse; "Ye have put on the new man, which is renewed by knowledge (Col. 3:10) after the image of Him that created him."
This renewing affects the spirit of the mind (Eph. 4:23-24), which may be known to be renovated, by a man having turned from his natural subserviency to "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life," to "righteousness and true holiness." When the mental disposition, called "the heart," is renewed, it becomes a mirror, as it were, in which one skilled in the word of the kingdom, can discern the spirit, or behold a reflection of the Divine Nature. This image of God in a man's character can only be created by the word of the truth of the gospel of the kingdom.
A man may be very "pious" according to the standard of piety set up and approved by his fellow-men; but, if he be ignorant of the renewing elements, -- if he neither know nor understand, and consequently, and necessarily, be faithless of the law and testimony of God, "there is no light in him."
He is walking in a vain show; "in the vanity of his mind, having his understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in him, because of the blindness of his heart" (verse 18).
The law and the testimony are styled by Peter, "God's knowledge whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that BY THESE," i.e., by the understanding and belief of these, "ye might be partakers of the Divine Nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:2-4).
Elpis Israel 1.2.
KNOWLEDGE is the key to the whole process. Knowledge is a matter of learning and effort. We should ALL know the Scriptures FAR better than we do. Daily we are reminded of our ignorance in this direction - of the countless wasted opportunities for learning and study.
Bro Growcott - Straight words to the Colossians.
When the spirit of the mind has become renewed, the moral image of Christ is reflected therefrom. This renewing of the inner man. is a process which is predetermined by the Father. As saith the apostle:
"Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son. that he might be the first-born among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29).
Sis Lasius - Yahweh Elohim Ch 4
Paul says to the Colossians, "ye have put off the Old Man," or moral image of the First Adam, "with his deeds; and have put on the New Man," or last Adam, "who is renewed by knowledge after the image of him that created him" (iii. 9,10). This they had done. They were in the last Adam, and conformed to his moral image, in hope of being conformed to his material image at the coming of their Chief.
Here then are two men, or Two Adams, occupying the arena of the Roman Habitable -- the Old Adam and the New Adam. The former is an infidel atheistic sinner, declared by Paul to be atheos en to kosmo, atheist in the world. Read his summary of him in Eph. ii. 12; and his description of his vices in Rom. i. 21-32. The whole world of unenlightened natural men of all ages and generations constitutes collectively the Old Adam, who is also "the Devil and Satan" in a certain relation of things. This man has long since come to a perfect man -- to the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Antichrist. He is strong and lawless, doomed to perdition when the times apocalyptically "signified" shall be fulfilled.
The other Adam came upon the arena of the habitable in a later age and generation; and was regarded by him as an intruder, and an enemy to be ejected by all possible means, the end to be attained sanctifying everything, however criminal or ferocious. But, if he could not prevail by violence, it was within the scope of his policy to try and corrupt with flatteries; for if he could put to silence by these he would convert the New Man into a partizan, and all opposition would cease. So long, however, as each remained true to his principles, the Old Adam to those of the flesh, and the New Adam to those of the word, there could be nothing but war until the one or the other were subdued.
But, the New Man, though "perfect," did not in all the constituents of his body continue in all his conflicts undefiled. Much of his flesh became diseased and gangrenous, and perished by the way. This reduced his proportions considerably, and leaves him in his nineteenth century existence feeble, emaciated and decrepit; while the Old Adam is still robust and powerful.
Eureka 6.2.Preliminary remarks
In the case of Jesus and the Apostles, there were no writings from which they could learn the mystery hidden from the ages and the generations. The knowledge of this had to come by direct sealing. There was ample material for them to exercise "their foreheads" upon in the scriptures of the prophets, so as to sharpen them by reason of use. But they had to speak things about which all antiquity was silent, and this required direct sealing or teaching by the Deity himself.
When men are sealed they are sanctified; and it is written
"Sanctify them by thy truth; thy word is truth;"
and John says:
"to pneuma estin he aletheia, the Spirit is the truth."
To be sealed, then, by the truth is to be sealed by the Spirit; and to be sealed by the Spirit is to be sealed by the truth; and he that is ignorant of the teaching of Jesus and the apostles, which was in strict harmony with the prophets, is not sealed at all, however pious or religious he may feel.
... The New Man these sealed ones put on is "made new by exact knowledge -- eis epignosin -- after the likeness of him who created him;" for "they are the Deity's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works" (Col. iii. 10; Eph. ii. 10).
... This is the seal of the Deity -- "his power for salvation to every one who believes: for therein is his righteousness by faith revealed for faith; as it has been written, The just shall live by faith" (Rom. i. 16); so that, in writing to Jews and Gentiles in Corinth, who, having heard from him "the Word of the Kingdom," "believed and were immersed" (Acts xviii. 8), Paul says to them, in 2 Cor. i. 21
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
"God made of one blood all nations of men."
God created man a "very good" living creature, and "upright;" but that by transgression of the divine law, he diverged from this condition into a state of sin and death, in which he sought out for himself "many inventions" which were not upright.
These evil inventions, based upon sin, or transgression of law, became the sources of the circumstances which, in process of time, grouped themselves into systems of things under which those attached or devoted to the inventions ranged themselves by a sort of attraction of aggregation. The influence of these evil systems became a law to flesh and blood, creating physical habitudes, which in process of time gave peculiar individual expression to the evil influences which originated them.
... Sin, then, is at the bottom of racial diversities; so that when sin and its prevailing consequences shall be eradicated from degenerate humanity, physical racial diversities will disappear, and nationalities based upon this diversity, and mankind in its totality once more reflect the divine image and likeness of God.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Jan 1855
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
These are very exalted titles. They define a people of a character, disposition and purpose far removed from the world. A rare and different kind of people who are strikingly outstanding - as the apostle continues - for "kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering." IS THAT US? Does the description fit? *
This new mode of thinking and feeling created in a true believer by the divine law and testimony, is variously designated in Scripture. It is styled, "a clean heart and a right spirit" (Psalm 51:10), "a new spirit" and "a heart of flesh" (Ezek. 11:19), the "inward man" (2 Cor. 4:16; Rom. 7:22), "new creature" (2 Cor. 1:17), "the new man created in righteousness and true holiness," and "renewed by knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), the "hidden man of the heart" (1 Pet. 3:4), and so forth.
This new and hidden man is manifested in the life, which is virtuous as becomes the gospel. He delights in the law of the Lord, and speaks often of His testimonies. He denies himself of all ungodliness, and worldly lusts; walks soberly, righteously and godly in the world. His hope is the glorious manifestation of Jesus Christ, with the crown of righteousness, even glory, honour, and immortality, promised to all who look for Him, and "love His appearing," and desire His kingdom (Titus 2:11-14; 2 Tim. 4:1-8; Heb. 9:28).
Nevertheless, the law of sin, through the weakness of the flesh, fails not to remind him of imperfection. Being delivered from the fear of death, he looks forward to it as to the period of his change; nowing that when he falls asleep in the dust he will afterwards be delivered from the principle of evil by a resurrection to incorruptibility and unalloyed existence in the Paradise of God
Elpis Israel 1.4.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
We are told, "Great peace have they which LOVE THY LAW and NOTHING shall offend them." Peace is a precious gift of God, bestowed ONLY where HIS conditions are complied with. We are told "the work of RIGHTEOUSNESS shall be peace" (Isa.32:17). And conversely (Isa. 48:22), "There is NO peace to the wicked."
Peace is spoken throughout the Scriptures as a supreme divine blessing. Like many blessings, it requires a certain amount of spiritual discernment to even RECOGNIZE its desirability, and usually too, a certain amount of previous worldly disappointment. Peace is a spiritual quality that has little appeal to the pride and ambition of the flesh.
PEACE WITH GOD
It is not just abstract peace, as such, that is the promised blessing. It is "peace WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). It is a living, personal relationship of joyful unity and harmony with the Eternal Creator.
Jesus laid the foundation for this peace in the bitter road he trod that culminated in Calvary. Peace with God is clearly not a lightly-won privilege. Nor is it lightly HELD. *
17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
The only deeds acceptable with God as a matter of individual well-pleasing, are those that are performed in the fear of His own name, and in the spirit of enlightenment and loving obedience to His commandments. All deeds so rendered are acceptable, even if they miss their mark as regards men. If a man for Christ's sake give to the undeserving, his service is accepted none the less because of unworthiness of the object.
On the other hand, if we minister to Christ's servants or do Christ's work, in the spirit of pleasing men, the act will not be reckoned, though in the providence of God it may be part of His means of accomplishing real work of ministration.
Ways of Providence Ch 22
Here again, "all" is the key. Bound up with this "all" lies life and peace. Short of that, there is only conflict.
"Be careful for NOTHING: in everything rely on God, and the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
In very similar terms our Great Example said (Matt. 11:29)-
"Learn of me, for I am MEEK and LOWLY: and ye shall find rest unto your souls."
THAT is peace. HOW MANY FIND IT? *
* Bro Growcott - Straight words to the Colossians.
19 Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.
Men who are unkind, churlish, and neglectful in their behaviour towards their wives will doubtless one day rue it. Predisposition in either of these directions should be manfully attacked and overcome.
After Christ a man's wife should come first in his affections and considerations. The commandments are very definite upon the matter. The wife is to be loved (even as a man would love himself) cherished, nourished, and held in honour (Ephes. v. 28, 29; Col. iii. 19; 1 Pet. iii. 7).
A husband's duties do not begin and end in providing temporal necessaries. He has to bear in mind that his wife is a joint heir with himself of salvation. He has to dwell with her "according to knowledge." He has to be circumspect: to study the manifold bearings that his conduct has on her race for eternal life. He has to look to her spiritual requirements: to help her to get to the meetings, and secure time for reading. He should also endeavour to arrange for profitable companionship for her.
"The husband is the head of the wife,"
and should therefore form a worthy example to her. The fear of displeasing her should not influence him to forego the obligations and calls of the truth. Neither should that motive cause him to refrain from giving faithful counsel or timely reproof.
Bro A Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Nov 1887
24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
Not one day should pass without our doing something for Christ-for the well being of the ecclesia, and the enlightenment of the stranger. Christ can be served in many ways, and by the busiest.
We can materially forward his work by an exemplary discharge of the common duties of life. What better recommendation can the truth have than for those who profess the name of Christ to be kind, courteous, upright, sober-minded, and virtuous?
This is a way of serving Christ which is open to us all, whether we be master or servant, husband or wife, parent or child, in health or in sickness. Touching this way the Scriptures exhort us frequently (Matt. 5:16; 1 Pet. 3:16).
But we can all do more than this. We can take steps to make ourselves strong in the truth, so as to be in a position to impart instruction to the less enlightened, and otherwise form useful and stable members of the meeting to which we may belong. Who is there that cannot squeeze in, however busy he may be, many minutes during the day for Scripture meditation and study?
Are not our minds, for the most part, more filled at the end of the day with unprofitable stuff gathered from the newspaper and other sources, than with divine knowledge, which might have been got if our attention had been turned Christwards?
Then, again, we can sow the good seed of the kingdom by dropping a word here and there. If we are too shy to open out to our neighbours in the tram or train, we can carry a few leaflets or lecture bills to lodge quietly as opportunity offers. It is not so much time that is needed as a willing mind. The day will come when all of us will lament that we did not put forth more effort for Christ.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, May 1907