In the first couple of chapters, Paul laid out his theology. Now, he is turning the corner and finally ready to spell out the implications of all this theology for his readers, for us.
Throughout our study, I have continually harped on the importance of the believers’ identity with Christ; that is, our union with him. We who are in Christ are united with him and, therefore, share in his victory and all things Christ. It is absolutely crucial that we “get this.” In fact, Paul feels that a proper understanding of our union with Christ (3.1-4) is essential to living the Christian life. Because we are united to him in his death, we have died to the old age of sin and, therefore, must put off all the nastiness associated with it (3.5-11). Because we are united with him in his resurrection, we experience new life and, therefore, must live as if we belong to this new age by putting on the Kingdom values associated with it (3.12-17).
We’ll discuss these verses in more detail in due time. For now let’s meditate and reflect upon these verses with this understanding in mind:
3.1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.