Colossians 3:1-14 … During the frontier era in the western U.S. there were wanted posters for fugitives that usually read: “Wanted – Dead or Alive.” Those are the extremes we’re dealing with in Colossians 3, but we’re dealing on a spiritual level, which is actually more important and more relevant than a physical level, at least as we think about eternity. We’ve previously seen the concept of being buried in baptism (Colossians 2:12) and raised up in faith. That’s the perspective here in Colossians 3: raised up with Christ, keeping our minds on Christ, being Christ-like, because our life, our true life, has an eternal destiny; our life will never end (John 11:26) – and that’s where we want to have our being and our mind-set.
All the things we may have dealt with in the past … immorality, impurity, unwholesome thoughts or desires (v.5) … along with anger, slander and unhelpful, unedifying talk (v.8) … all those things should be put aside because they all represent the part of us that has died … dead to sin and alive to Christ (Romans 6:11). The focus for those who are born anew and alive in Christ is to put on the new self (v.10) in the image of Christ.
We like to illustrate the concept this way … as we begin our day … and look over clothing options … we can chose the old cloths (anger, malicious behavior, unwholesome thoughts) or we can choose the clothes of the new life … compassion, humility, forgiveness and love (v.12-13). Which will it be? Shall we put on the old life and be disagreeable all day? That would be nonsense (even though we might find ourselves in that mind-set) and that’s the point here. Our life is with Christ and we should therefore put on the attributes of the new life in Him … and let Him rule (v.15) in our lives. It’s a great, great way to start each day!