“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.”
Chapter three begins the practical division of the book of Colossians. Paul now moves to the positive. Not only does the death of Christ relate to the believer, but so does the resurrection of Christ. The one relates to our salvation in the past; the other relates to our future. Not only is the Christian to relinquish his pre-death life, but he is to aspire to the post-resurrection life of Christ.
Jesus liberated us from legalism. We have new privileges in Christ. Chapter three launches our responsibility to live up to our privilege.
“If then you were raised with Christ,”
The word “then” picks up the argument of chapter two. Paul draws an inference based on his arguments there.
The word “if” assumes reality; we can translate it by the word “since.” “Since” (in view of the fact), you were raised with Christ. That God has already raised us with Christ is an assumed fact. It is a fact that God has raised us with Christ (Eph 2:5,6). It is something already done. There is no doubt in the “if” in the Greek here.
“Raised with Christ” is an advance on “dead with Christ” of 2:20. A prerogative of the Christian life is that the Christian has risen with Christ. “Risen with” means to cause to live again together with. Here God raises the believer to live together with Christ. By virtue of our union with Christ, we are justified and will be glorified. Because this is a judicial resurrection, it makes it no less real.
God sees things differently than we do. God’s viewpoint here is positional truth. God views us as already dead (Co 2:20), buried (Co 2:12), and raised in Christ. God sees better than we do, but he expects us to see what he has done in Christ with the eye of faith. This has nothing to do with our feelings. We cannot taste, feel, or smell positional truth. Our position in Christ is infallible, unalterable, eternal, and exalted. God said it, and our faith lays hold of it. Religious duck bumps do not confirm the facts. Emotions appreciate what God has done. All God wants is for us to lay hold of our privilege by faith.
Our present resurrection with Christ is one of many expressions of our position in Christ. Positional truth cannot change. It is something we have forever with Christ. God provides our position with Christ. He establishes this position forever entirely apart from merit at the moment of our salvation. We can draw power daily from this resource.
God expects us to live the Christian life on the declared fact of our resurrection with Christ.
Every fact declared by God is for our taking by faith. Most people try to live the Christian life by rules. They strive to improve the flesh, but the flesh will never improve. They place themselves under regulations that they hope will deliver them from sinful inclinations. All these lead us away from Christ.
The heretics of Colosse sought to attain spiritual freedom by asceticism that would bring them into contact with spirit beings. Paul, however, points to the true conquest of sin–our positional truth in Christ. Positional truth elevates us to the very heights of heaven.
When we come to Christ, we turn in our old, broken down life, and in its place, we gain Jesus Christ. The Christian life is living the life of Christ.