In Colossians chapters 1 and 2, the Apostle Paul maintained that Christ is “all-sufficient” in matters of salvation and overcoming sin (Colossians 2:10). Beginning in chapter 3, he gave some basic and practical admonitions that pertain to living a life in Christ. When carried out, these “Basics for Living in Christ” will assure that we find in Christ everything we need for this life and the one to come. In this article, we want to give careful consideration to these basic principles of the Christian life.

SEEK THE HEAVENLY – COLOSSIANS 3:1-4 – We are to seek those things which are above (Colossians 3:1, 2). But why is this so important?The answer is simple, it is essential if we desire to be “transformed” as instructed by God (Romans 12:2). Further, it is necessary if we want to be able to live according to theSpirit (Romans 8:5, 6).So, how do we “seek those things which are above?” By our directing our minds’ attention to such things mentioned by the Apostle Paul inPhilippians 4:8. More specifically, by our setting our attention on the Word ofGod, where we find:

                                                         Christ foreshadowed and foretold in the Old Testament.

                                                         Christ’s life and teachings in the Gospel accounts.

                                                         Christ’s church in the Book of Acts.

                                                         Christ’s fuller teachings in the Epistles.

                                                          Christ’s encouragement and ultimate victory in the Book of Revelation.

Moving on to Colossians 3:3 and 4, we note further reasons for seeking those things that are above. First, the Christian has “died” spiritually. This occurs when one is baptized into Christ, which is a burial into His death in which we are “crucified with Him” (Romans 6:3-6). At that time, we “died” to sin, that we might be free from it, and now live with Christ (Romans 6:7-13). Secondly, we were also “raised with Christ,” as seen in verse Colossians 3:1, which occurs when one comes forth from baptism (Colossians 2:12). At the same time, we were raised so that we might “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Thirdly, at that time, our life is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). Note what Paul wrote to the Galatians in Galatians 2:20. Fourthly, we have denied and crucified self, so it is now Christ who is to live in us! When Christ appears in glory, so will we be glorified in Him (Colossians 3:4). The first three reasons for us to “seek those things which are above” were based upon what has happened in the past. This motivation is predicated upon what is promised for the future.

MORTIFY THE EARTHLY – COLOSSIANS 3:5-9 – We must put to death the sensual sins as seen in Colossians 3:5-7. These are those which appeal to the “lust of the flesh.”We are to put away “fornication,” from the Greek word “porneia,” which is the general term for any illicit sexual relationship, including adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, and bestiality. Further, we are to put away “uncleanness,” which is from the Greek word “akatharsia,” and has reference to uncleanness in a moral sense. We are also to put away inordinate affection (passion), from the Greek word “pathos,” which was used by the Greeks in either a good or bad sense. In the New Testament, when used in a bad sense, its meaning referred to that which indicated a depraved or vile passion. Further, we see that we are to put away evil concupiscence (evil desire), from the Greek word “epithumia,” which referred to desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden,  or lustful. It, also, referred to that which appeals to the “lust of the eyes.” In addition to these, we are to put away covetousness, which comes from the Greek word “pleonexia,” which referred to greedy desire to have more at any cost. This was described by Paul to be equivalent to idolatry. The reason for this is that the covetous person puts things in the place of God. Christians are to set their minds on things above (where God is), but when we covet material objects we have our minds on things below, making such objects our idols.

The motivation for putting these things to death is to avoid the coming wrath of God (Colossians 3:6, 7). It is one thing to do these things when we “lived in them,” but in Christ we have “died to them.” We must also put off the social sins so common among men (Colossians 3:8, 9). These are sins of the “emotions.”

                    Anger – Greek., “orge.” Movement or agitation of the soul, impulse, desire, any violent emotion, but especially anger.

                    Wrath – Greek, “thumos.”  Passion, angry, heat, anger, forthwith boiling up and soon subsiding again.

                     Malice – Greek., “kakia.” Malignity, malice, ill-will, desire to injure.

 Additionally, we are to put away the sins of the “tongue.”

                     Blasphemy – Greek, “blasphemia.” Slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another’s good name; impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty.

                     Filthy Communication (Filthy language) – Greek, “aischrologia.” Foul speaking, low and obscene speech.

                     Lying – Greek, “pseudomai.” To lie, to speak deliberate falsehoods; to deceive one by a lie, to lie to.

The reason for putting off all these things is we must complete in practice what we started in principle (Colossians 3:9). When we were baptized, we “put off” the old man with his deeds (in principle) (Colossians 2:11, 12; 3:9). In practice, it does not occur overnight, thus the need for such admonitions as: “But now ye also put off all these,” which indicates the growth process (Colossians 3:8).

STRENGTHEN THE CHRISTLY – COLOSSIANS 3:10, 11- This is done by putting on the new man (Colossians 3:10). In baptism into Christ, we “put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).Thus, in principle, we also put on “the new man” who is renewed“ after the image of him that created him.”What we have done in principle (Colossians 3:10), we will need to do in practice (Colossians 3:12). The goal is Christ is all, and in all (Colossians 3:11). The Christian seeks to be renewed according to the image ofChrist (Romans 8:29) as they seek to become like Christ, and in so doing, destroy the barriers that have long divided man.