February 2008


Heavenly Power ~ Col. 3:1-4

I remember as a one-week old Christian sitting in a Christian professor's office at USC asking him about keeping my thoughts pure when the girls on campus often did not dress modestly. I was not used to experiencing the new presence of a holy God within my soul who countered with conviction any unwarranted looks toward the girls on campus. He told me that to keep oxygen out of a container you need to fill it with water, and then said that to keep lust out of the heart you must fill your soul with God.

In Col 3:1-4 we are being commanded to fill our souls with the heavenly realities that are true about us because Christ is now our life and we have died to the world.

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

This passage is not talking about seeking angels and harps. It is urging us to have our thoughts. and affections so fixed on the heavenly life that now dwells within us that we are able to put to death the influence of our sin indwelling through our union with Jesus Christ with whom we are now one.

The word "Therefore" in v.1 of course links the first four verses of Colossians 3 with the end of chapter 2. The second chapter indicates that legalism has "no value" against fleshy indulgence. Those who are under the bondage of religious legalism are following the outward, extra Biblical rules of man. Such man made rules do not enable us to overcome the power of indwelling sin.

In the situation at the church of Colosse, false leaders taught that these believers needed to abstain from certain foods in order to be holy. Paul countered that heresy stating that if we want victory over our sin nature we must dwell on the truth that God's heavenly life dwells within us. It is the life and power of God that is able to master the flesh.

Notice that the exhortation which follows in Colossians 3:5 is an exhortation toward holy living based on this truth that we are heavenly creatures with God's indwelling life available to us to put sin do death:

"Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry."

The term used in Col 3:1, "raised up" actually means co-resurrected. At salvation we were united with Christ in his death, burial and resurrection. As a result, Col 3:3 indicates that we have died and our life is now hidden with Christ in God. Paul states that as a result, we are able to overcome our sin nature through the life of God. Furthermore, in this passage, the Apostle is urging us to keep seeking this heavenly life to overcome our inner sin nature.

: Practically speaking what does that mean for you?

Are you struggling with anger, lust, laziness, envy, pride, jealously, greed, and/or fear? Is something else tempting you away from your life in Christ?

Are you distanced from the heavenly life that dwells within you through
Christ that you lack the desire to walk in the Spirit, spend time in God's Word or serve within Christ's Church? Or are you presently experiencing the victory of the power and glory of this indwelling heavenly life within you?

The victory is found in taking our eyes off of this world and seeking that which is above. We need to walk in the newness of this heavenly life. We need to appropriate the heavenly life of the Spirit. In God's strength we need to destroy the strength and vitality of sin as it seeks to reign within us, Rom 8:13 - . . . "for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live."

May God give each one of us his heavenly power. May He cause us to be victorious as we live a heavenly life in His power while living on earth.

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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427