It’s the last day of notes from Bill for a while so I’m sure like me you would thank him, they have been both challenging and encouraging.. The passage today is Colossians 3:1-10.
Once again Paul looks back to the change which has come about in the lives of the Colossians. He says that they used to walk in the ways of their earthly nature v7. But they have been raised to a new life with Christ v1. They “died” to the old way of living; they have had a change of “clothing” – off went the old and on went the new v10. Now Christ is their life, they are being renewed in his likeness v10. As for the future, Christ will appear, they will share his glory v4 and the wrath of God will be the experience of the disobedient v6.
So how are the Colossian believers to live, when their old nature is still active? The human sex drive is powerful and easily misdirected v5; we are not satisfied so we are tempted to be greedy v5 and to say things that we know are hurtful v8 and untrue v9. The solutions of the false teachers don’t help, their regulations and rules lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence, says Paul in 2v23.
No, says Paul, set your hearts on things above v1. Seek the Lord, think about him and pray to him when you think about him. Seek him in your own Bible reading and prayer, seek him when you see the beauty and wonder of his creation, seek him when something or someone reminds you of him, seek to know Jesus better.
All this will be helped by setting your minds on things above v2. Take time to occupy your mind with Christ. A lifetime is not enough to know all there is to know about the Son of God. Know him better as the months and years go by. The mind informs the will. The more we know about Jesus and what he has done for us, the more we determine to please him and the more our hearts and emotions are stirred with love.
Paul first says seek the Lord and set our minds on him. Only then does he say that we are not to give space to our earthly nature. We are to squeeze the life out of it, and turn our backs on things like the sins of the tongue and telling lies. But until we have found what takes its place we are likely to fall back into our old ways all too soon.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” (Isaiah 55.6,7)