(Vs. 1.) "If it be true that you are crucified with Christ, buried with him in baptism, risen with him and seated with him in the heavens, then seek those things which are above."
1. Seek the heavenly country (Ps. 17:15; Heb. 11:9,10; 1 Peter 1:3,4).
2. Seek Christ and his righteousness (Phil. 3:9-11).
3. Seek all spiritual blessings, as peace, life and glory (Eph. 1:3; James 1:17; 3:17).
We seek those things which are above; for he is there, seated at God's right hand.
(Vs. 2.) "Set your affection [your heart] on things above." Unless our hearts are set on the things of Christ, they will not be sought in the proper manner. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23). Do not set your mind, thoughts and desires on the things of this world (Rom. 8: 5). Food and clothing, care of families, health and necessities of life are to be sought after and provided for, yet not with anxiety and distress, as if these were our chief end or the source of our chief happiness (Matt. 6:28-34). All the things of this earth shall fade away, "but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" (l John 2:15-17).
(Vs. 3.) As far as this world is concerned (with its riches, honour, temporary glory, fame, pleasures and relationships), "ye are dead"! Our new life, our real life and interest, is with Christ in God. "Hid with Christ" denotes the secrecy of it (the natural man does not understand it), and the safety of it (it shall never perish). The more we are aware of our union with Christ and the more our minds are set on him, the less interest we have in this world and its passing vanities.
(Vs. 4.) Our real glory is yet to come! It will be revealed when he is revealed in his glory. Christ is our life; his life and ours are one (Gal. 2:20). He is our hope. He is our happiness; true happiness is in knowing him. He is our portion; we are joint heirs with him, and when he comes in his glory, we will enter into his glory! (1 John 3:1-3; Rom. 8:16-18.)
(Vs. 5, 6.) Since we seek things above, are mindful of things above, are dead to the things of this world and are one with Christ, we must constantly put to death these sinful desires that remain in our flesh (Rom. 7:18-23). Let us face our bodily members and their sinful desires with honesty and truth, putting them down and refusing to yield to them when they appear.
Paul lists some of the fleshly temptations which we are to put down and deaden: fornication, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires and imaginations and all greed and covetousness. The work of mortification is not perfected in an instant (nor is it ever completely perfected in this life). So this body of sin and death remains in us that we must make it our daily task to put down evil thoughts and desires. The Lord's people are still human and will have a real struggle with the flesh. However, he will give grace and mercy for every need. The very fact that we are exhorted to mortify these fleshly appetites indicates that they still exist to some degree in the believer. God's wrath is upon the children of disobedience because this is their way of life.
(Vs. 7.) Before we met Christ, this was our way of life. We walked and lived in these things, giving full release to the flesh, greed, covetousness and sin. Now we love Christ and long to be like him in conduct, conversation and attitude. It is not so much sin in itself that brings the wrath of God, but love for sin, hardness in sin and continuance in sin. There is sin in his people, but they confess their sins and he forgives them (1 John 2:1).
(Vs. 8.) Paul returns to his exhortation to put down and mortify sin in our members. He mentions six sins; the first three are of the heart and the rest are sins of the mouth! The right order of mortification is to begin with the heart (Matt. 23:26). Proceed then to the tongue and the outward man.
(Vs. 9, 10.) This is regeneration, this is the new birth the Holy Spirit has created a new man with new desires, new principles, new attitudes. This new man is created in the image of Christ. We know him, his will and his ways. We hate the old man of flesh and continually put him off. By God's grace the new man will grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ until at death the old man will be totally eradicated and we will be like Christ.
(Vs. 11.) It is usual for natural men to think that they will be accepted of God because of nationality, ceremony, outward piety, works, or knowledge. It is also usual for men to conclude that God will take less notice of them if they lack these things. This verse clears that up. In regeneration Christ is all (John. 1:12). In righteousness Christ is all (2 Cor. 5:21). In sanctification Christ is all (1 Cor. 1:30). In acceptance Christ is all (Eph. 1:6,7). In love Christ is all (Rom. 8:39). In redemption Christ is all (1 Peter 1:18).