PURSUING THE THINGS ABOVE (3:1–4) and Putting Earthly Things to Death (3:5–8) Pursuing the Things Above (3:1– 4) • 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– 4) 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 above not things on earth for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God when Christ is revealed who is your life then you also will be revealed with him in glory Putting Earthly Things to Death (3:5–8 Therefore, put to death your earthly parts (1) sexual immorality (2) impurity (3) lust (4) evil desires (5) covetousness/greed which 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 (3:5–8 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 practices 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– 4) • 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– 4) • 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 “philosophy.” Pursuing the Things Above (3:1– 4) • 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 (3:5–8 • 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 thoughts. Putting Earthly Things to Death (3:5–8 • 3:8 – The pattern of a command followed by a fivefold vice list parallels verse 5. • 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 (3:5–8 • 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 God. • 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 admonishing. 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?