If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God.
I. THE DUTY TO WHICH WE ARE EXHORTED. Affirmatively, to seek and set our affections on things above; negatively, not on things on the earth.
1. The act. In "seek" and "set your affections" are comprehended(1) An act of the understanding. Heaven and the way of getting there should be much in our thoughts.
(2) An act of our affections, that we love and desire the things above proportionately to their excellence.
(3) Activity and industry in the prosecution of these things, if by any means we may attain them. When our understandings have dwelt long enough on our heavenly treasures as to work on our affections, these, like so many springs of motion, will set our endeavours on work for the obtaining what we so much love and desire.
(4) A clear preference of the things above to the things of the earth when they come in competition. "Set your affections" is often used for taking part with one side when two parties or interests come into competition. So when heaven and earth, the interests of your souls and of your bodies, a holy and a sinful course come into competition, choose the better part (ver. 5).
2. The objects of this act.
(1) God in Christ.
(2) The blessed state of glory in the next life.
(3) The dispositions to be acquired and the duties to be performed as necessary qualifications for the obtaining this happiness.
II. THE FORCE OF THE ARGUMENTS USED TO PERSUADE US TO IT.
1. "If ye be risen 'with Christ, seek," etc., i.e.,
(1) If ye believe in the resurrection of Christ. This was the great seal of His ministry and confirmation of His doctrine: and one great branch of His doctrine was that we should lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven.
(2) If we resemble Him in His resurrection. He is our pattern in His saving acts as well as in His virtues. So as He died for sin we must die to it; if He rose we must rise into newness of life; if He ascended so should we in our hearts (Colossians 2:12; Romans 6:4-5, 9-11).
(3) If we are partakers of the power of His resurrection (John 11:25; Ephesians 1:19; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 2:13).
2. "Seek the things which are above where Christ sitteth" (Luke 24:26; Ephesians 1:20-22).
(1) The force of this argument is from the relation between the head and the members. The members have an affection for the head which makes them aspire heavenwards; and the head has an influence upon the members (John 12:32-33).
(2) The gift of the Holy Spirit is the fruit of Christ's ascension, and it is by His operation upon our hearts that our affections are fixed on heavenly things, as against the counter allurements of the world.
3. The transcendent excellence of heavenly things above things of the earth, which the apostle intimates by the opposition, "Set your affections," etc.
Parallel VersesKJV: If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.