Colossians 3:2, 3
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth; for ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. We must not only seek things above, but think them.
I. THE OBJECT OF CHRISTIAN CONTEMPLATION.
1. Not things upon the earth, because
(1) they are below us (Philippians 3:8, 19);
(2) unsatisfying (Luke 8:18; Proverbs 23:5; Hosea 13:13; Psalm 78:39);
(3) full of anxieties (Matthew 13:22; Job 38:22);
(4) unnecessary to our happiness (Job 28:14);
(5) transient and uncertain (Proverbs 23:5; Luke 12:19, 20).
2. "Things there are above." (See hints on previous verse.) We ought to set our mind upon them, because
(1) they are satisfying;
(3) because our treasure is there - of riches (Matthew 6:19-21), of honours (1 Samuel 2:30), of pleasures (Psalm 16:11).
II. THE DUTY OF SETTING THE MIND UPON RIGHT OBJECTS OF THOUGHT AND AFFECTION. This is the secret of heavenly mindedness. "Tell me what a man thinks, and! will tell you what he is."
1. It is our duty not to set our mind on things on the earth, because
(1) God may give them to you as your entire portion (Psalm 17:14);
(2) you may provoke him to take them away (Psalm 78:5-7);
(3) they will turn away your thoughts from heaven (Psalm 10:3, 4);
(4) they will distract you in duty (Ezekiel 33:31);
(5) they involve the guilt of idolatry (ver. 5).
2. It is our duty to set our mind on things above, because
(1) there is nothing else worth our serious thought (1 John 2:15);
(2) they will keep you from over anxiety about the affairs of this life (Philippians 4:11, 12);
(3) the thought of them will increase your fitness for duty (Acts 20:24);
(4) they will make the thought of death more pleasant in anticipation (Philippians 1:23).
III. THE REASON FOR OUR SELECTING SUCH OBJECTS OF BELIEVING CONTEMPLATION. "For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God." The thought is twofold - it refers to a past act and to a continuous state.
1. Our death in Christ. This involves
(1) our death to sin (Romans 6:2) and
(2) our death to the world (Galatians 6:14). We are, therefore, cut loose from "things on the earth."
2. Our hidden life in God. "Your life is hid with Christ in God."
(1) Christian life is a hidden life,
(a) in its origin (John 3:8);
(b) it is hid, as an experience, from the world;
(c) it is hid from the believer himself in times of spiritual desertion;
(d) the full glory of this life is hidden even from the believer (1 John 3:1).
(2) Christian life has its hidden source and abiding strength "with Christ in God." Christ is now hid in heaven and our life is hid with him.
(a) It is hid with him as our Representative; this marks its security; this is the sheet anchor of our spiritual existence.
(b) It is hid with him as its constant source; "For he is our Life," in whom we realize a growth in all the graces of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22); "Because I live, ye shall live also; I am come that ye may have life.., more abundantly."
(3) God is himself the "sphere or element in which our life is hid. It is "with Christ in God." The Son is "in the bosom of the Father," and thus we have fellowship with both the Father and the Son (1 John 1:3). Thus the believer is doubly secure. He is not only hidden in God's home; he is hidden in God's heart. Therefore we can understand the import of the phrase, "And ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's" (1 Corinthians 3:23). - T. C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.