Colossians 3:1-4: True Spirituality

I. True Spirituality: 1-4 IF then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

-This passage is really a continuation of 2:20ff. Paul talked about dying in Christ, which is always related to the baptismal experience when the Christian is united with Christ in Baptism. In being united with Christ, the Christian is placed into the very life of Christ. And just as he participated in the death of Christ, he also participates in Christ’s resurrection, ascension, and sitting at the right of the Father. The Christian should live in the fullness of this experience, keeping one’s mind vigilant and attentive to the presence of God.

-Paul is making a contrast with legalistic spirituality of the Gnostics (see 2:20ff) and the true spirituality of the Christian. The Christian spiritual practice is based on immersing oneself in the life of God. Being aware of God’s presence and avoiding what disturbs this ability to keep one’s mind on things above. Paul is repudiating the practices that have no power to combat the indulgence of the flesh.

-Our transformation takes place as we participate in the life of Christ. When we are removed from the life of God, we must struggle to get ourselves back into His presence. The Gnostics were creating self-imposed discipline that only lead to pride and delusion rather than humility before the face of God.

- St. Seraphim of Sarov: “Prayer, fasting, vigil and all other Christian activities, however good they may be in themselves, do not constitute the aim of our Christian life, although they serve as the indispensable means of reaching this end. The true aim of our Christian life consists in the acquisition of the Holy Spirit of God. As for fasts, and vigils, and prayer, and almsgiving, and every good deed done for Christ’s sake, they are only means of acquiring the Holy Spirit of God.”

-St Gregory of Nyssa “If reason assumes sway over our emotions, each of them is transformed to virtue: for anger becomes courage; terror caution; fear obedience; hatred becomes aversion from vice; the power of love because the desire for what is truly beautiful; high spirit in our character raises our thoughts above the passions, and keeps it from bondage to what is base. The apostle Paul praises such a form of mental elevation when he bids us constantly to mind the things above.”

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