Colossians 3:1 tells us that we have been raised to new life with Christ. Paul further writes:
... you died when Christ died, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:3 (NLT)
and then goes on to tell us that when Christ, who is your real life is revealed to the world, we will share in all his glory (Col. 3:4).
This is a very popular message in the churches today. We love to hear encouraging and affirming messages that we are alive in Christ and that we will share in His glory. Who wouldn't want to hear a message like that? We love Colossians 3:1-4 but what about the rest of the chapter. Do we even bother to read it? The remainder of Colossians 3 is instructions filled with do's and don'ts. It is an instruction manual of how to live the new life.
When I was a teacher, it was not unusual for me to have to stop and give instructions to my students. I took the time to do so because I knew it was important to their success. I was not doing it for my benefit, I was doing it for theirs. When I gave them instructions, I expected not only their full attention, I expected them to carry out those instructions. When they did not do so, I wanted to know why and if they continued to ignore my instructions, they suffered the consequences. They quickly learned it was better to listen and obey.
God has given us instructions on how we need to live. If they were not important, God would not have taken the time to have them recorded so that we might not only know them but live by them as well. For some strange reason, there are people who seem to think that because we are saved by grace, we are not bound to follow God's instructions anymore. Now usually they will not say it like that because if they did, well, everyone would realize what a ridiculous and even wrong statement that is. Instead they will say something like, "We are no longer under 'The Law'." This type of response is usually given when something is suggested to them that they do not want to do such as giving financial support to their local church or indulging in some sort of activity that someone is questioning.
God's instructions are for our benefit. Like a newborn baby, not everything comes naturally or instinctively. We have to learn how to live. God in His wisdom has provided us not only with His training manual, the Word of God but our own personal trainer, the Holy Spirit. Are we taking advantage of the resources God has graciously given us?
In the final chapter of Colossians, Paul leaves us with these final instructions:
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Colossians 4:2
Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone. Colossians 4:5-6
When we read and obey God's instructions we will truly be living the new life.
All scripture taken from The Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.