Grace Family Bible Church
Risen with Christ
By: Scott Morton
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.
As we shift into Chapter 3 we are going to see how the Apostle Paul starts to shift the focus of what he is dealing with. The first two chapters were dealing with doctrinal issues where he was giving them information they needed. Now Paul is going to start to deal with the things on how the believer is to live their life. The doctrine we have should influence the practical life we are to live.
Too often believers focus just on the doctrinal things without having an understanding of the practical side. We do need to understand the doctrine for this dispensation and need to be able to share this with others, as the will of God is for all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4). As part of this we also need to be living the life which is influenced by the doctrine, which means we need to understand the practical things and need to be able to explain these things as well. God wants us to do the right things (Ephesians 2:10).
As Paul starts this section he starts with a word that could cause confusion for some. The word if is used two different ways. Many times this is used in the conditional sense, which is often seen when God was dealing with the earth through Israel:
And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth:
But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee:
These two verses are part of an entire chapter which is dealing with the results of the behavior of the Israelites. God is dealing with them conditionally and they will receive the results in many different areas of their lives based on what they do. The law could be summed up by using the words if and then, as there were clear consequences which resulted from the actions they took.
The word if can also be used in a different manner, which we have already seen in this epistle. This word can be used to confirm a fact which they were to already have an understanding of:
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
The saints in Colossae already had am understanding of their identity. They knew that once they put their trust in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) they were identified with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is exactly what the Apostle Paul is continuing with here in the beginning of Chapter 3. He is speaking about how they are identified here with the resurrection. This is something which he mentions multiple times throughout his epistles:
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
These three passages are a sample of what Paul says on the topic. He brings up our identity because this should be driving who we are and shows the hope we have. This fact is immediately true of us and cannot be taken away.
Paul does bring this up as a statement of challenge because there were, and still are, individuals who deny the idea of a resurrection. This is something which Paul addresses as well:
1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:  And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.  Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.  For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
Here the Apostle Paul is dealing with individuals who are denying there is a resurrection which even happens. To the natural man, the idea of resurrection seems to be foolish. This is why so many people think the only thing we have is the life which we are living today. If this is the case, then we would be miserable, as there is not a lot of good which is associated with this life. This is why Paul speaks about the hope we have, which is associated with the knowledge of the resurrection to come. We know this is a reality for us as believers and this is what motivates us. We know the reality of what was accomplished on the cross:
1 Corinthians 15:54-57
So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
As this chapter is concluding, as well as the epistle, we see the Apostle Paul identifying for us the victory which has already been accomplished. When we see these things it shows why there should be no confusion on who we are and the position which we are going to have in the heavenly places. This is why it is a challenge to the saints at Colossae to remember who they are and not a conditional issue of where they could potentially lose this position.
Because we are identified in this manner and we know this reality, Paul starts to speak about where we are to have our affection. This means where our focus should be. This is something which Paul has had to remind individuals about throughout his epistles:
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:  Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
The word conversation in this passage does not just mean the speaking we are doing. This is a reference to the entire lifestyle of the individual. The focus of things is not to be here on the earth, but is to be on the things of the heavenly places. Too often individuals get tangled up in the things of this world and the focus becomes more and more on these things, pulling them eventually away from the things of God and the focus on the heavenly places. This is where all of our blessings are located (Ephesians 1:3), which means this is where our focus should be.
The Apostle Paul clearly lays out the program for us and the difference between what had preceded us and what is going on today:
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
These two verses in Romans 15 show how there is a difference between the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ while He was here on the earth and the ministry which has been given to Paul. After reading these two verses, it would be very difficult to try to say they are saying the exact same thing. This is what some do when reading these. Knowing there is something different going on today, we can see how the focus is to be different than what we see in time past.
It says here we are to seek the things in the heavenly places. The following is the definition of the word seek, taken from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
SEEK, v.t. pret and pp. sought, pronounced sawt. [L. sequor, to follow; for to seek is to go after, and the primary sense is to advance, to press, to drive forward, as in the L. peto.]
1. To go in search or quest of; to look for; to search for by going from place to place.
The man asked him, saying, what seekest thou? And he said, I seek my brethren.
2. To inquire for; to ask for; to solicit; to endeavor to find or gain by any means.
The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. Psa 104.
He found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Heb 12
Others tempting him, sought of him a sign. Luke 11.
3.Seek is followed sometimes by out or after. To seek out, properly implies to look for a specific thing among a number. But in general, the use of out and after with seek, is unnecessary and inelegant.
To seek God, his name, or his face, in Scripture, to ask for his favor, direction and assistance. Psa 83.
God seeks men, when he fixes his love on them, and by his word and Spirit, and the righteousness of Christ, reclaims and recovers them from their miserable condition as sinners.
Ezek 34. Psa 119. Luke 15.
To seek after the life, or soul, to attempt by arts or machinations; or to attempt to destroy or ruin. Psa 35.
To seek peace, or judgement, to endeavor to promote it; or to practice it.
Psa 34. Isa 1.
To seek an altar, temple, or habitation, to frequent it; to restore to it often.
2 Chr 1. Amos 5.
To seek out God's works, to endeavor to understand them. Psa 111.
When looking at these definitions of the word seek we see there is something which is consistent throughout all of them. The issue of seeking is trying to find something which is not visibly seen. If something is sitting right in front of me and I can see it, I do not need to be seeking it. In order to be doing this, it is demonstration of faith (Hebrews 11:1) as the things which I cannot see I can only know them by faith.
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Before going further related to what we seeking there is an issue which the above passage is addressing, which will be addressed briefly here. The Bible speaks about how the natural man is not seeking God. This is because the natural man is completely contrary to God because of the position we are born in (after the image of Adam). It is only when the Word of God is being introduced to an individual, which produces faith (Romans 10:17), that an individual is seeking after the things of God.
1 Corinthians 2:10-16
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.
This is the process which occurs in a saved individual as they are taking in the Word of God through their study. The Spirit utilizes the Word by comparing verses together in order to give the believer insight into what the Word is saying. This is how an individual today is able to seek after the things of God, as it leads to:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We are to have a renewed mind, which causes us to be separated from the things of this world. The thought process which is associated with the things of this world is controlled by the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), Satan. This is why the things of this world, which includes the wisdom of man, is said to be opposed to God. We cannot put our trust or focus on the things of this world.
The things of this world appeal to the flesh, which is part of the makeup of a man. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 indicates man is made up of a spirit, a soul, and a body. Even though we are saved and the flesh is considered to be dead in the eyes of God, it still has an influence on us, as we walk around in a fleshly body. This is why the things of the world will appeal to an individual and why we need to be careful about these things. We cannot let them have control over what we do.
The Apostle Paul spoke about individuals who allowed the Word of God to have the impact on them:
1 Thessalonians 2:13
For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.
Paul says the Word of God was effectually working in those who were believers. They were able to have the Word of God have the influence it is supposed to have and he holds them up as an example for how we are to be living our lives today.
But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.
Even when we talk about applying the Word to our lives we need to make sure we are following the principle of right division. Paul is reminding us here that the things which were part of Israel's program cannot have the positive influence on our lives related to how to live our life today. This is why we are being told to avoid these things, as he is trying to have the individuals understand exactly what it is they are supposed to be doing.
The Apostle Paul speaks about how our affection is to be focused on the things of the heavenly places. The following is the definition of affection taken from Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
1. The state of being affected. [Little used.]
2. Passion; but more generally,
3. A bent of mind towards a particular object, holding a middle place between disposition, which is natural, and passion, which is excited by the presence of its exciting object. Affection is a permanent bent of the mind, formed by the presence of an object, or by some act of another person, and existing without the presence of its object.
4. In a more particular sense, a settle good will, love or zealous attachment; as, the affection of a parent for his child. It was formerly followed by to or towards, but is now more generally followed by far.
5. Desire; inclination; propensity, good or evil; as, virtuous or vile affections. Rom 1. Gal 5.
6. In a general sense, an attribute, quality or property, which is inseparable from its object; as, love, fear and hope are affections of the mind; figure, weight, &c., are affections of bodies.
7. Among physicians, a disease, or any particular morbid state of the body; as, a gouty affection; hysteric affection.
8. In painting, a lively representation of passion.
Shakespeare uses the word for affectation; but this use is not legitimate.
We see by these definitions that the word affection is speaking about the feelings an individual would have. The Bible refers to this issue as the heart or the soul. This is where an individual has their feelings and this is what is going to come out of the individual. We see the Lord Jesus Christ speak about this:
O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Here we have the Word of God showing what happens with our speech. The feelings we have are reflected in the things we speak. Sometimes individuals will say things that are wrong and when asked about it they will say "I didn't really mean that". The Bible reflects the issue of how a person does truly mean it, as what is inside of them is what is coming out of them. They are showing their true affections by their speech.
When God was dealing with Israel in time past He provided His Word as guidance for them and attempted to help them. We can see how Israel attempted to utilize this through the following verse:
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and deals with issues related to the Word of God and its relationship to Israel under their program. This shows how important the Word is, as this is the only thing which can produce faith (Romans 10:17). The author of this psalm speaks about how the word was hid in his heart. He was taking the word in so it could have a positive influence in his life and make the changes required in order for him to be pleasing to God.
While the proceeding verses dealt with Israel under the law, we need to know how we are to be functioning. The Apostle Paul speaks about the things which we should want to have as part of our life and how these desires can influence us:
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:  Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)
We see from this passage the Apostle Paul is speaking about individuals who are minding earthly things. He says this brings a shame unto them. This is because our focus is not to be on the things of this earth, as Paul has been reminding the saints in Colossae through the passage we are looking at. We are to be focused in the heavenly things. The only thing which the things of this earth can bring is shame, according to this passage in Philippians. The shame results from the fact that the things of this world can only result in the wood, hay, and stubble being built at the Judgment Seat of Christ, which is where we receive our rewards.
This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,  Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:  Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
When Paul speaks here about walking as other Gentiles walk, he is speaking about those who are not saved. We are not to be functioning as this lost world. They do not have the understanding of the Word of God as it cannot have an impact on them, as they are not saved and do not have the Spirit in them. They can only walk in a certain manner.
This does not mean we cannot do things to have fun. This direction is where some would want to take this type of thought process. The issue is we have to know what fits into the plan God has for this dispensation, we have to know what we should and shouldn't do, and we have to be able to use the opportunities we have to bring glory to God and share the message of God's Word with other individuals.
As the Apostle Paul has been writing to these saints, he brings up the issue of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the hope we have. We see the timing of the event given in the following passage:
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
It is unfortunate today that there are some who are denying this is what is being spoken of here and try to equate this to the 2nd coming for Israel. If someone reads the passages carefully, not just taking the words of someone who is teaching them, they would see this passage is speaking about the same thing which Paul is speaking about to the saints in Colossae. He is describing the fact we will be caught up to meet Him in the air to rule and reign with Him in the heavenly places.
This day is referred to throughout Paul's epistles and he refers to it as the Day of Christ. This can be seen from the following verses:
1 Corinthians 1:8
Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;
There are some who state this event is the same thing as the Day of the Lord. Why would the Apostle Paul speak about an event the Body of Christ is not going to be involved in? Just because we don't like the phrase or it causes us to have to look at some other things doesn't mean we just ignore the texts.
We can see from these verses we are going to be considered blameless and held secure as members of the Body of Christ until this event happens. This is a glorious thing and should be seen as being good news for us.
We also know the hope of receiving a glorified body which will happen at this event as well:
1 Corinthians 15:39-54
All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.  There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.  There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.  So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.  As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.  Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
This passage here describes the glorious body which has been promised to us (Philippians 3:21). We know the timing of this is associated with the Day of Christ. This is where this ultimate promise is going to be fulfilled:
2 Timothy 2:11-13
It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:  If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:  If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
How glorious it is to realize we are going to be reigning with Him for all eternity. We should never try to take away from our hope and need to be resting in this knowledge. It is important for us to be sharing this information with others, as they need to have access to this same hope.