If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
The world the Lord has created is one that requires that we be discriminating. The laws of logic by nature mean that, if we choose one thing, we reject another. If we affirm one thing, we deny its opposite.
This principle applies to our sanctification, also. To pursue godliness, we must renounce sin. In the terms Paul uses in Colossians 3, we are to “put off the old self with its practices and . . . put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator (vv. 9-10).” We must put away, put to death what is earthly and idolatrous (v. 5), on account of which God’s wrath is coming (v. 6). Paul gives a representative, but not exhaustive list of what these sins and practices are in verses 5-9.
In verses 12-16 Paul also gives a list of Christian virtues, things we must put on. We must be thoughtful, intentional, and discriminating in our actions, practices and attitudes. We bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit as we reflect Christ in His forgiveness (v. 13), love (v. 14) and peace (v. 15), for all of which we are to be thankful (v. 15). And nourished by the Word of God dwelling in us (v. 16), we encourage and uplift one another. And all we do is not for our own glory, but in His name (v. 17).
Thediscriminating principle behind this delineation between what we put off and what we put on is summarized in verse two, “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” But the truth that motivates and empowers us to do this is found in verse one, “You have been raised with Christ.” There are two worlds, that of earth and sin and self, and that of heaven, of forgiveness, love and peace. As children of the Lord, we do not choose which we live in. We have died, and our lives are hidden in Christ (v. 3), who is seated at the right hand of God in heaven (v. 1). Paul’s admonition to put on the new man is to live out what we truly are, “God's chosen ones, holy and beloved (v. 12).”
And “When Christ who is [our] life appears, then [we] also will appear with Him in glory (v.4).”
by Tom Hoffman