Colossians 3: The New Self

The letter to the Colossians may be divided into two parts. Chapters 1 and 2 address doctrine, whereas chapters 3 and 4 offer application. Paul’s first command is to keep seeking the things above and not the things on Earth (Colossians 3:1). This echoes Jesus’ rebuke to Peter for not being concerned with the interests of God (Matthew 16:23). Paul reminds the Colossians that they now have a new life in Christ, a life that is yet to be fully revealed. Christ will come again, so we should live in light of the life to come. 

A New Self, A New Mind

Because we are in Christ, who is seated at the right hand of the Father, we are positionally changed. Having been “raised up with Christ,” we must now set our minds on the things that Jesus is concerned with (v. 3:1). Our earthly duties should not be informed by the desires of the flesh and this world: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life (cf. 1 John 2:16). Instead, our pattern of life should reflect our position in Christ. A mind being renewed by the knowledge of Jesus is characterized by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love (Colossians 3:10–14). 

This is evidently not an automatic process, or else Paul would not have needed to exhort the Colossians to practice according to their position in Christ. Paul is telling his readers that this is a deliberate process. We must strive and concentrate to seek the things of God. In the end, our life will be revealed in Christ. 

This teaching is based on Ken Boa’s Handbook to Scripture. 

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Colossians 3: The New Self

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