If you set your mind on things in the flesh you are living in the flesh. But if by the spirit you set your mind on the things of the spirit you are living in the spirit.
Colossians 3:1-3 “1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God”.
Here lies the answer to the question and confrontation Paul posed in Colossians Chapter 2:20- 23. The word raised is an important emphasis in that Paul could have just as easily said “if you are in Christ” which is also true. To be raised is to be elevated from one level to another; it is always going up to a higher level. Being raised means not staying on the same level you started, but to go up to the next level. We have been lifted out of the pit of sin and up into the presence of God through our faith in His Son Christ Jesus. Think about this in the natural; if you take an elevator to the second floor furniture department and have left the first floor clothing department, would you waste your time looking for a new coat in the sofa aisle? This may seem like a “duh” question yet Christians do this daily in their walk with Jesus. We are raised up with Christ at the right hand of God, but many are still looking down to natural understanding for worldly answers on how to live in the presence of God which they are already in. Just in case there is any doubt that Jesus is at the right hand of God, there are eleven different verses from Matthew to 1 Peter that explicitly state that Jesus is at the right hand of God. And we cannot doubt that believers are “in Christ” since there are fifteen direct verses stating we are “in Christ”; yet there is a large and possibly majority of Christians still working out their own salvation in the flesh. Sitting in the presence of God, but looking down to the beggarly elements of works and religion in effort to gain or maintain righteousness with God is sad!
Paul tells us in Romans 8:5-6, For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. As Christians unless we fully grasp what Jesus’ perfect work on the cross accomplished, by nature we stay carnal in our thinking.
Verse 2 is the answer to overcoming the fleshly mindset of works over sin for righteousness. Philippians 4:8 tells us this, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things”. Paul tells Philemon in verse 6 “that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus”. Paul is saying that the way our faith can be seen in our life is through our recognition and meditation on what is inside of us, Christ Jesus and Him crucified for our sins. We should be looking to the word of God to understand who we are and who Christ Jesus is in us, and not at how we have fallen short in our actions or how to naturally prevent our sin nature from taking over. The Devil didn’t make you do it, but your lack of understanding of what God did through Jesus allows you to sin. Even if you stumble in sin you have not fallen from grace, because it was never our absence from sin that allowed us to receive grace in the first place. John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world (a sin filled world) that He gave His only begotten Son for our salvation. Ephesians 2:8 & 9, “8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast”. Grace comes before salvation which means sin cannot keep you from grace. Don’t let the thought of your sin keep you from living in the grace God has already extended. The more you understand how much God loves you and the full price Jesus paid on the cross for you, the less pull sin has on your life. Use the grace extended to you by God and your belief in Jesus as your Lord and Savior to strengthen you in righteousness and you will eventually stop acting out your natural sin thoughts. Who is going to accuse you before God regarding your sin when Jesus has already died and paid the price for your forgiveness?
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