The Book of Colossians – part 7, Dr. Alan Bandy (PowerPoint)

Putting Earthly Things to Death
Pursuing the Things Above (3:1–
• Many consider 3:1-4 as signifying the shift
between the doctrinal to the practical because of
the shift from the polemical to the hortatory.
• This is correct, but there still a theological focus:
– 2:20 connects Paul’s theology to our union with Christ:
“Since we have died with Christ. . .”
– Is the same concept in 3:1- “Since, then, you have
been raised with Christ . . .”
Pursuing the Things Above (3:1–
therefore if you have been raised with Christ
Seek the things above
where Christ is seated at
the right hand of God
Set your minds on things
not things on
for you have died
and your life is
hidden with Christ in God
Christ is revealed
who is your life
then you also will be revealed with him in glory
Putting Earthly Things to Death
Therefore, put to death your earthly parts
(1) sexual immorality
(2) impurity
(3) lust
(4) evil desires
is idolatry
Because of these things God’s wrath is coming
upon the sons of disobedient
in these you once walked
when you lived in them
Putting Earthly Things to Death
But Now you also must put all these away
(1) anger, (2) rage, (3) malice, (4) slander, and
(5) abusive speech from your mouth
Do not lie to one another
for you have taken off the old man with its
and put on the new man being renewed
in knowledge
according to its Creator.
where there is neither Greek,
Jew, circumcised, uncircumcised,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, nor free,
but Christ is all and in all.
Pursuing the Things Above (3:1–
• 3:1, 2– So if [Since, then, or Therefore if]
resumes the implications of their identification
with Christ begun in Col 2:20 and signals a shift
in the epistle from doctrinal instruction (Col 1–
2) to practical application (Col 3:1–4:6).
• You have been raised, same word as in Col
2:12, indicating a past action granting
believers’ new life.
Pursuing the Things Above (3:1–
• Seek, an imperative, means to devote serious
attention to something.
• Set your minds, an imperative, means to give careful
consideration and thought to something.
– The objects of their seeking and thinking are heavenly
things where Christ dwells (cf. Ps 110:1).
– These commands intentionally contrast true spiritual living
with the false spirituality promoted by the earthly
Pursuing the Things Above (3:1–
• 3:3 –The reason for these commands is based on their union
with Christ.
– The verb hidden is perfect passive indicating that God fully
completed the action in the past with permanent results.
– Hidden could mean “to conceal” or “keep secret,” and used here it
carries the sense of hidden in safety and security.
• 3:4 –Currently, Christ dwells at God’s right hand in heaven and
hidden from the view of earthly inhabitants.
– At some future point he will be revealed in the fullness of His glory.
– When this occurs, the believers will likewise be gloriously revealed
with Christ.
– Interestingly, their hope of Glory is Christ in them (Col 1:27), but it is
also that they are in Christ (Col 3:3).
Putting Earthly Things to Death
• 3:5 – The command to put to
death (cf. Col 2:20; Rm 8:13; Matt
5:29-30) is the practical
outworking of seeking and
thinking about heavenly things (cf.
Col 3:1-2).
Paul offers a fivefold catalogue of
vices explaining what he means by
whatever in you is worldly.
• These vices occur in an order of
specific outward behavior to
general inward inclinations and
Putting Earthly Things to Death
• 3:8 – The pattern of a
command followed by a
fivefold vice list parallels verse
• To put away literally means “to
take off,” or “to remove
something from you,” and it
may evoke the familiar Pauline
metaphor of changing clothes
(cf., Rm 13:12; Eph 4:22, 25).
• The vices listed all seem to
point to things that disrupt
relationships between people.
Putting Earthly Things to Death
• 3:9–10 –The metaphor of
changing clothes (imagery
possibly drawn from baptismal
practices) pertains to an actual
observable change of behavior.
• The new man replaces the old,
but is also continuously begin
renewed to reflect the image of
• The reference to the new man
certainly applies to individuals,
but it also carries corporate
connotations relating it to the
body of Christ (cf. Col 1:15-20).
Putting off the Old Self and Putting
on the New Self (3:9–11)
After commanding them to “put to
death,” and “put away” worldly behaviors,
Paul now offers a series of positive
commands to put on or to “clothe
yourselves” (cf. Rm 13:14) with behavior
fitted for God’s people.
The adjectives chosen (cf. Isa 43:20; 65:9;
Rm 8:33; 2Tm 2:10; Ti 1:1; 1Pt 1:1; 2:4, 6,
9) holy (Mk 1:24; Lk 4:34; Jn 6:69; 1Pt 2:9)
and loved (Mt 3:17; Eph 1:6; 1Th 1:4; 2Th
2:13) were all applied to Israel, Jesus and
the Church.
The fivefold list of virtues, heartfelt
compassion, kindness, humility,
gentleness, and patience diametrically
oppose the vices listed in verses 5 and 8.
Putting off the Old Self and Putting
on the New Self (3:9–11)
• 3:13 – The verbs accepting
(cf. Eph 4:2; Rm 15:7) and
forgiving (cf. Eph 4:32)
express the habitual manner
in which they exhibit the
stated virtues.
• Just as the Lord has forgiven
echoes Jesus’ injunction to
forgive because you are
forgiven (cf. Mt 6:12, 14-15,
18:23-35; Lk 7:42).
Putting off the Old Self and Putting
on the New Self (3:9–11)
• 3:14 – Above all could also be
translated as “in addition to,” or
“on top of all these,” and the
verb “put on” should be supplied
although it is not in the Gk. text.
• The imagery suggests that the
final and possibly most
important new article of clothing
for God’s people is love.
• Paul describes love as the
perfect bond of unity, which is
to say that love binds believers
together in completeness as one
(cf Eph 4:3).
Putting off the Old Self and Putting
on the New Self (3:9–11)
• 3:15 – Paul commands that
the peace that Christ brings
is to be what controls their
hearts (cf. Rm 8:6; 15:13; 2Co
13:11; Gl 5:22; Eph 2:14; Php
4:7; 2 Th 3:16).
• Paul also exhorts them to be
thankful, a quality recurring
throughout the epistle (cf.
Col 1:3, 12, 2:7; 3:17; 4:2).
Putting off the Old Self and Putting
on the New Self (3:9–11)
• 3:16 –They are also exhorted
to allow the word of Christ
dwell among them.
• The verbs teaching and
admonishing express the
means of how the gospel is
to dwell among them.
• Wisdom, singing, and
gratitude characterize the
manner of the teaching and
Putting off the Old Self and Putting
on the New Self (3:9–11)
• 3:17 – Paul summarizes his
list of exhortations (eight in
all) with a universal appeal to
do everything in the Name of
Jesus (cf. 1Co 10:31).
• The phrase in the name of is
best understood in the sense
of “as representatives of.”
– Once again, giving thanks
features prominently as a
characteristic of true
spirituality (cf. Col 1:3, 12, 2:7;
3:17; 4:2).
Questions for Reflection
• How do we seek heavenly things and set
our minds on things above?
• Who do we “put to death” worldly things
in us?
• What are the social implications of the
“new man” in Christ?
• How do we take off the dirty clothes and
put on the clean?

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