The Affections of the Christians Set on Things Above.
v. 1. If ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
v. 2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
v. 3. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
v. 4. When Christ, who is our Life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.
As the Bible-student will note, the similarity between Colossians and Ephesians is everywhere apparent, but nowhere more pronounced than in this chapter. The apostle here holds out before the Christians the highest inducement that he could possibly bring: If, then (as is the case), you were raised with Christ, seek those things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. That we Christians have been raised with Christ, that we have risen together with Him, that we have been made partakers of His resurrection and its blessings in our conversion, that is the principal and most profound basis of all our Christian life. "For, as St. Paul here says, the excellent work and supreme treasure of the resurrection of Christ shall not be a useless, inefficient, and powerless talk or thought, as a dead picture hewn in stone or painted on paper, but a power and might of a kind to work a resurrection also in us through faith; which he calls 'rising with Christ,' that is, to be dead to sins, to be torn out of the power of death and hell, and to have comfort and life in Christ. " Having become partakers of Christ's life, of the fruits of His resurrection, having entered into the most intimate fellowship with Him, it follows that we will have only one thing in mind, that we will set our thoughts upon the things that are above. Christians will at all times strive after the possession of the invisible, eternal, holy, heavenly world of God, on the eternal blessings which the exalted Christ has prepared for them in the mansions above. They will heed the admonition: Set your mind on the things above, not on those on the earth. All our thinking, all our desiring, all our loving should be directed heavenward. The transitory things of this world should engage our attention only inasmuch as we are stewards of the gifts of God for the space of this short life. But Christians cannot set their affections upon the treasures, upon the joys, upon the honors of this world. The things of this world are at best only a means to an end, namely, to support this earthly, physical life, to enable us to perform the work which was given us by the Lord to perform. In the right use of the earthly things entrusted to us, we really mind and seek heavenly things; with their attainment our hearts are engrossed.
Paul substantiates his admonition: For you died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When the Lord converted us through the power of His Word, He gave us complete fellowship with Christ. So we Christians died to the world and to earthly, transitory things; we renounced the devil and all his works and all his pomp. At the same time we entered into the communion of Christ's wonderful life. We now enjoy the mysterious union with Christ which is concealed with Him in God. This life, which belongs to the depth of our inward experiences, may be foolishness in the eyes of the foolish children of this world, but to us Christians it is a divine conviction, a certain experience. At the same time, by our union with Christ, we are united in fellowship with God the Father Himself. The apostle thus has the strongest reason for speaking so emphatically. "To such earthly behavior, he means to say, after which the heathen and unbelievers seek that put the Word of God out of their mind entirely and permit themselves to be led and driven by the devil, you must be dead, proving thereby that the resurrection of Christ in you is not vain words, but living power, which also give evidence in you that you also have risen and now live differently than before, namely, according to God's will and Word; which is called a divine, heavenly life."
Eventually this life will no longer be hidden: When Christ shall appear, who is your Life, then you also with Him will be manifested in glory. Christ, our Savior, is our Life; He is at the same time both Possessor and Source of all true life, spiritual and eternal. The life of our Redeemer is our life, it was transmitted to us by His gracious power; He Himself is the essence of our life, all the manifestations of spiritual life in us are due to His life in us. See Rom_6:10-11; Gal_2:19-20. Christ will be manifested on the great day of His judgment, He will appear before all the world in the majesty of His glory. And then the days of humility will be past, then the time of the hidden life will be ended, then we Christians shall also be manifested with Him in glory, to the astonishment of the unbelievers, that considered us more or less harmless or harmful fools with our belief in the risen Christ; we shall be taken out of our disgrace and obscurity to become partakers of His eternal state of blessedness.