1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.
8 But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.
The church in Colosse, now part of Turkey, was formed by a disciple of the Apostle Paul, Epaphras, earlier in Paul’s ministry. Paul was imprisoned in Rome when he penned several letters to the churches, including this one to the Colossians sometime between 60-62AD.
The Apostle was concerned because of reports that the underpinnings of a heretical belief system were taking hold, known as Gnosticism. The Colossians were departing from the faithful teachings of Jesus as Christ, God taking on man’s skin and living a sinless life, paying our price in full on the cross.
Instead, they were starting to embrace what they thought were secret, higher revelations (Gnosticism) and sinking back into Jewish forms of legalism. Paul corrects them by reminding who they were and how they got there.
He starts by reminding the church of the Christian’s spiritual union with Christ. This unseen life with Christ sets the Christian apart from the world or search for secret, higher revelations outside of Him. The Christian life embodies a spiritual connection with the Father and Son that is not visible, making it impossible for the world to see directly with eyes. Instead they see our attitudes and actions, demonstrating how we are set apart from the world.
Paul instructs the church that instead of searching for meaning outside of Christ, they must embody a life demonstrating their union with Christ. The new creation, every true Christion, does not walk as the world does, through sexual and other sin. Those that do walk with the world, continuing to love the world more than the Lord, continuing to live in their sins will fall under the wrath of God in hell forever. Paul goes on to list other examples that set the Christian apart such as anger, general evil (malice), blasphemy and filthy language.
In verse 10 the Apostle Paul, via the Holy Spirit, reiterates again the character of the Christian. At the time of conversion we put off our old selves and are made new. We live in Christ and for Christ. It’s a struggle, but we look towards heaven and our glorious future with Him for eternity. No secret society or legalistic ritual can replace our relationship and love for Him.