Vol. 4, No. 7
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With reference to the burial and resurrection of baptism (Colossians 2:12), Paul writes in Colossians 3:1-2 that since "you [Christians] were raised [from the water] with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth."
It is not merely a suggestion, then, but a Divine requirement that a Christian's focus be on Christ and things heavenly. Paul does not leave us without the reason for doing so. In verse three, he writes that it is because "you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God." The idea of being dead involves a separation (James 2:26). The one who has risen with Christ is dead to the sins of this world and, because of this, has no longer any reason to focus his heart on the things of this world. In death, he has separated himself from it and has hidden his life with Christ in God. The sense of this language is that a person who has hidden his life with Christ has deposited his treasures with him for safekeeping. Christ presents this very idea first in the Sermon on the Mount: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth ... but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 5:19-21).
The faithful Christian, then, will live his life in concert with Paul's statement in 2 Timothy 1:12, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed unto Him [my treasures] until that day." The treasures that we lay up in heaven for safekeeping with Christ are far more important than the treasures that we so often waste our time and money on in this life. All that can be gained physically and materially in this life is either to perish with the using or it will be utterly destroyed at his coming (2 Peter 3:10), but heavenly treasures are eternal.
With consideration to this truth, Peter cites the question of our discussion, "What manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness" (2 Peter 3:11)? In verses twelve and thirteen, he provides the answer in general terms: Christians are to be 'looking for' and 'making ready' for the coming of the Lord, expecting to receive the promise of a new home in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, he instructs that we be diligent to be found of him, when he comes, in peace [with God, family, and man], without spot [undefiled by this world] and blameless [not being condemned]. The faithful Christian then will live with an eye toward the coming of the Lord, being at peace through obedience to him (Philippians 4:4-7), thereby, not being condemned. He will be undefiled by this world. Upon being raised with Christ as a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), things of this world, such as fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and covetousness (which is idolatry), will have been put to death (Colossians 3:5; 1 John 2:15-17).
True Christianity, however, involves much more than merely forsaking this world and its corruption. It is more than church attendance and warming a pew. In leaving the world, a child of God enters the Kingdom of Christ (Colossians 1:13) to sacrificially serve the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Christianity is not something that is inactive and passive, but rather it demands a life of action and activity. Following Christ's example, 'we must work his works while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as we are in the world we are the light of the world' (John 9:4-5; Matthew 5:14-16). As such, Christians are the only instruments by which the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ should shine upon those who have been blinded by the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:1-7). To fail in this mission, is to fail self, to fail fellowman and to fail the One who sent us (Matthew 28:18-20). Being separated from this world, and while doing good to all men (Galatians 6:10), each and every faithful child of God will live his life laying up treasures in heaven, spending and being spent in satisfying the terms of the commission given him (Mark 16:15-16)!