“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1 ESV).
Alright, this is kind of bait-and-switch. You probably thought I was referring to the behavioral education you received from your parents or guardians as you grew up. Perhaps even the things that you were taught to believe as a child. But the raising that I’m referring to is irrespective of any training of that nature.
If we were to do a word association drill, and I were to say “Jesus,” you might reply “Christ” or “Savior” or “Son of God.” If then I were to say “raised,” your response would likely be along the lines of “resurrected” or “from the dead.” And all of those would be good answers.
Suppose I then said, “you.” It would be reasonable for you to say your name, or “me,” or maybe your gender or racial identity, or even the occupation to which you are attached. If I then said, “raised,” you might reply, “Lutheran” or “Presbyterian” or even “atheist.” I wouldn’t expect your first thought to be “with Christ.” Yet that statement, if you are a Christian, would be a far more accurate description than the others.
Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ” (ESV). And we all know the result of crucifixion…death!
But what does it mean to have been crucified with Christ? Scripture teaches us that Jesus died the death that we rightfully deserved. We stood condemned by the Law, and Jesus paid our penalty (Romans 6:23). 1 Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (ESV). The records will show that our sentence was carried out. We died.
But twice in his letters, Paul pointed out that if we died with Jesus, we’ll also live with Him (Romans 6:8 and 2 Timothy 2:11). That means that when Christ was raised from the dead, we were raised too!
I know that, if you are a believer, you already know all of this. But I know that sometimes I need a reminder, so…maybe you do too.
So, what are the implications of our being raised with Christ? As Paul told the church at Colossae, we are to “seek the things that are above.” Heavenly things. Paul wrote, “…we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 ESV). Transient means temporary, things that won’t stand the test of time.
We know that when our mind is set on things of the flesh—things that won’t last!—it leads to death. But when we set our minds on the things that are above we find life and peace (Romans 8:6-8 ESV).
Since then we have been reminded of how we were raised, let’s also remind ourselves to seek after heavenly things, incorruptible things, things that will stand the test of time.
Blessings on your day!