Basic Passage: Colossians 2:8 to 3:4
Focal Passages: Colossians 2:8-15; 3:1-4
Christ is the center of the Christian faith. Without Christ, the Christian faith has neither subject nor substance. To those persons who were trying to downgrade both the person and the work of Jesus Christ Paul gave answer. In answering them he demonstrated the priority of Jesus Christ for Christian faith and life. In our personal beliefs Christ, must be first. All else is judged in relationship to Christ.
The reality of Christ is first emphasized. In warning them against the sly tactics of the deceivers Paul set the reality of Christ as the checkpoint. Other systems of belief are organized around empty ideas, human traditions, or the observances of the natural order. Against all of these is placed the reality and the authority of Jesus Christ. It is in Christ that the fullness of God dwells. By one stroke Paul felled the Gnostics. He affirmed the incarnation of Christ. They had said that a man could not be fully divine; some had thought that the Spirit of God came on Him at baptism and left at death. And he affirmed the reality of the incarnation. One system of Gnostic belief was that Jesus only “appeared” to be divine.
Not only do we find the reality of God in Christ but we also experience redemption through Him. It is through Christ that we can experience the fullness of life. Notice what has happened in Christ. It is in Christ that they have a relationship with God. One becomes a part of the covenant of grace through faith. There is no necessity to worry about external rites such as circumcision. In Christ, the believer is identified with God. Paul is not substituting baptism for circumcision. He is saying that we have been crucified with Christ, buried to the old life, and have been raised to new life. And baptism symbolizes it all. In Christ, we are given new life; we are made alive. We were dead to God because of our sins and our evil nature. But God has made us alive through Christ. A vivid description of redemption shows us how we are given new life in Christ. Our sin stood contrary to us as a bond of indebtedness or a note that we could not pay. Observing the legal demands would not cancel that note. But Christ cancelled it. Not only did He cancel it He nailed it to the cross. By His death on the cross for us He cancelled our debt of sin. Not only that, but He also made a spectacle of the powers of sin and evil. Through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead Christ destroyed the power and the hold of sin over human lives. It is described as a triumph. Conquering Roman generals often had triumphs. The triumph was a public spectacle that was a humiliating experience for those they had defeated. The victory is already decided.
Knowing the reality of Christ and redemption through Him the believer has a responsibility for the kind of life he lives. “Since you have been risen with Christ . . . ” is what verse 1 expresses.The Christian has the responsibility to seek the higher things since he has been risen with Christ. Too often we seek the lower things of life. We are admonished to seek the heavenly things in life.Our mind is to be set on the higher things. What a person sets his mind to is usually what he does. The Christian’s thoughts are to be directed toward spiritual realities.The reason for this is that the believer has a new life in Christ. He has died to the old way of life. His life is now identified with Christ in God. And he will share in the glory of Christ at His return. In our personal beliefs Christ must be first. The kind of God one has, determines the kind of life he leads. With personal belief in Christ the believer can lead a life of spiritual worth.