Colossians 3:1-4

Paul has so far focused on the negative aspects of Christ's lordship (2:6): what not to do.[1] He now explains how we positively must live out Christ's lordship.

New Orientation (1-2): Believers have a new life in Christ as those who "have been raised up with Christ."[2] As Christ was raised to life, so we also have a new life.[3] And this new life demands that our pursuits ("keep seeking") and minds ("set your mind") be oriented toward heavenly concerns[4] ("things above"), which are the concerns of Christ.[5] He is the One seated in heaven in the position of authority. When we turn our pursuits and minds toward Christ, away from earthly concerns,[6] we begin to practically live out His lordship.

Future Glory (3-4): This new orientation is necessary because ("For") our new life is currently "hidden with Christ." As the risen Christ ascended into heaven and He is physically hidden from plain sight, so our new life in Christ[7] (though real) has no visible glory (we still live in the flesh). But when Christ comes ("is revealed"), we will be glorified ("revealed with Him in glory").[8] Our new life is real and it will reach its culmination in glory when Christ returns.[9] Until then, we live the new life with a proper orientation, awaiting our glory.

[1] The imperatives (2:8, 16, 18) and the rhetorical question (2:20) call them to live no longer by worldly rules.

[2] With the "Therefore," Paul now matches our death with Christ (2:20) with our life with the risen Christ.

[3] "If" (3:1) is like "since" (as a first class condition like 2:20). Paul is convinced they were raised with Christ.

[4] "Things" is implied in Greek and it means concerns, not material things in heaven (as in Rev. 21:19-21).

[5] Concerns "above" are the concerns of Christ because "above" is defined as where Christ is present and is seated in the position of authority ("at the right hand of God") (cf. Acts 2:33; 5:31; Eph. 1:20-22; 1 Pet. 3:22).

[6] We can see an example of these in the decrees regarding the perishable and temporal things (2:20-23).

[7] Our new life is so deeply connected to Christ that He is equated with our life ("Christ, who is our life").

[8] Scripture confirms that glorification accompanies Christ's return (1 John 3:2; Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:52).

[9] New life before glorification is like pregnancy before delivery. The baby is real and alive, long before birth.