Colossians 3:2
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
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3:1-4 As Christians are freed from the ceremonial law, they must walk the more closely with God in gospel obedience. As heaven and earth are contrary one to the other, both cannot be followed together; and affection to the one will weaken and abate affection to the other. Those that are born again are dead to sin, because its dominion is broken, its power gradually subdued by the operation of grace, and it shall at length be extinguished by the perfection of glory. To be dead, then, means this, that those who have the Holy Spirit, mortifying within them the lusts of the flesh, are able to despise earthly things, and to desire those that are heavenly. Christ is, at present, one whom we have not seen; but our comfort is, that our life is safe with him. The streams of this living water flow into the soul by the influences of the Holy Spirit, through faith. Christ lives in the believer by his Spirit, and the believer lives to him in all he does. At the second coming of Christ, there will be a general assembling of all the redeemed; and those whose life is now hid with Christ, shall then appear with him in his glory. Do we look for such happiness, and should we not set our affections upon that world, and live above this?Set your affection - Margin, "or mind." Greek" think of" - φρονεῖτε phroneite. The thoughts should be occupied about the things where Christ now dwells, where our final home is to be, where our great interests are. Since we are raised from the death of sin, and are made to live anew, the great object of our contemplation should be the heavenly world.

Not on things on the earth - Wealth, honor, pleasure. Our affections should not be fixed on houses and lands; on scenes of fashion and gaiety; on low and debasing enjoyments.

2. Translate, "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things," &c. (Col 2:20). Contrast "who mind earthly things" (Php 3:19). Whatever we make an idol of, will either be a cross to us if we be believers, or a curse to us if unbelievers. Set your affection on things above: that the hearts of believers here might be where their treasure is, the apostle here repeats his exhortation, using another word, importing they should intensely mind things above, Romans 8:5, viz. the inheritance reserved in heaven for us, 1 Peter 1:4, with heart and affections, together with all that Gcd hath appointed to be a furtherance to the enjoyment of it; not curiously to search the deep things of God, which cannot be found out, but to mind things above with sobriety, Romans 12:3.

Not on things on the earth; taking off the mind and heart from all that is opposite to heavenly things, viz. not only those human, carnal ordinances and ceremonies, Colossians 2:22, with Philippians 3:18,19, but also from the eager pursuit of the pleasures, profits, and honours of this world, which the men of it do inordinately desire, Colossians 3:5, with Matthew 6:33 Galatians 5:24, and are carried away with, Titus 2:12 Jam 4:4 2 Peter 1:4 1Jo 2:17. Christians should not be, to the neglect of things spiritual; however, they are obliged, in a due subordination, to take care of themselves and families for these things below, so far as to put them into a capacity of raising them more heavenward.

Set your affections on things above,.... For unless the affections are set on them, they will never be sought after in a proper manner. The word signifies to mind them, and think on them, to favour and approve of them, to be affectionately desirous of them, and concerned for them; for where the treasure is, the heart should be; and as the saints' best things are above, their minds and affections should be there likewise; their contemplation should be on those things, and their conversation should be in heaven; nor should they regard anything but what is there, or comes from thence, for they belong not to this world, but to another and better country: their citizenship is in heaven, and there, in a short time, they must have their everlasting residence; and therefore should seek after, and highly prize and value heavenly things, and set their affections on them, and

not on things on the earth; not mind earth and earthly things, temporal enjoyments, riches, and honours; and though food and raiment, and the necessaries of life, are to be sought after, and cared and provided for, yet not with anxiety and perplexity of mind, in an over thoughtful and distressing manner; nor should the heart be set on those outward things, or happiness placed in the possession of them. Moreover, worldly lusts, the members which are on the earth, earthly pleasures that are sinful, may be here meant. Worldly lusts are to be denied, the deeds of the body are to be mortified, carnal desires are not to be gratified and indulged, provision is not to be made for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts; and particularly the vain philosophy of Jews and Gentiles, the traditions of the elders, the ceremonies of the law, which lay in earthly things, in worldly observances, the difference of meats and drinks, keeping of days, months, and years, new moons, feasts, and sabbath days; the rudiments of the world, the commandments and doctrines which were of the earth, and lay in not touching, tasting, and handling certain things that are on earth, and which perish with the using, as opposed to the doctrines of the Gospel, and ordinances of Christ, which are from above, and come from heaven, and have a spiritual and heavenly use: and which is the sense chiefly intended, though it is best to understand the words in their largest compass.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the {b} earth.

(b) So he calls that show of religion which he spoke of in the former chapter.

Colossians 3:2. τὰ ἄνω φρονεῖτε. “Set your mind on the things above.” φρ. is wider in its sense than ζητ. It embraces, as Meyer says, “the whole practical bent of thought and disposition”.—μὴ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. “The things on the earth” are not in themselves sinful, but become so if sought and thought on in preference to the things above (cf. Matthew 6:19-21). There seems to be no reference to the false teachers here.

2. Set your affection &c.] Not “affections,” but “affection,” affectus, the tendency, bias, of the mind.—More lit., “think the things &c.”; in the sense not of articulate thought but rather of character, as we call a man thoughtful, high-thoughted, and the like. R.V., well, Set your mind &c. Latin Versions, sapite, Luther, Trachtet nach dem, was droben ist.—The verb, phronein, appears (itself or its cognates) e.g. Matthew 16:23; Romans 8:5; Php 2:5; Php 3:19 (the exact antithesis to this passage).

Grace only can fix the “affection” heavenward; but the Christian, none the less, is to use thought and will in the matter.

things on the earth] Lit. and better, the things, &c.—Cp. Php 3:19.—The special reference is to earth as the scene of temptation, the field of conflict with “the flesh.” And the Christian is warned never to meet this conflict in a spirit secretly sympathetic with the foe because conversant only with the interests and expedients of things present and visible. The man who was absorbed in “earthly” care, or pleasure, and the man who understood no heavenly secrets of moral victory, but used only “earthly” expedients (“touch not, taste not, &c.”), would alike be “setting the mind on earthly things.”—See further on Colossians 3:5.—Nothing in these words bids us shut our eyes to the riches of creation, or regard the charm of human affection as in itself evil. The precept is to be read in its context; it forbids an “earthly” programme for the aims and the means of the Christian life.

Colossians 3:2. Φρονεῖτε, Have a relish for, set your mind, or affections) They who truly seek the things that are above, cannot but relish or set their affections on the things that are above. The apostle says, relish in the second place, not seek; for there is an anti-thesis to earthly things (τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς), which we are said to relish or set our affections upon, to care for, but which we could not properly be said to seek, because they are present with us.

Colossians 3:2Set your affection (φρονεῖτε)

Lit., be minded, think. As Rev., set your mind. Seek marks the practical striving; set your mind, the inward impulse and disposition. Both must be directed at things above. "You must not only seek heaven, you must think heaven" (Lightfoot). Compare Philippians 3:19, Philippians 3:20.

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