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3. Rules for Holy Living

1If then ye were raised together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated on the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. 3For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory. 5Put to death therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; 6for which things' sake cometh the wrath of God upon the sons of disobedience: 7wherein ye also once walked, when ye lived in these things; 8but now do ye also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, railing, shameful speaking out of your mouth: 9lie not one to another; seeing that ye have put off the old man with his doings, 10and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all. 12Put on therefore, as God's elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering; 13forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any; even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye: 14and above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness. 15And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto God. 17And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. 18Wives, be in subjection to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord. 21Fathers, provoke not your children, that they be not discouraged. 22Servants, obey in all things them that are your masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord: 23whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men; 24knowing that from the Lord ye shall receive the recompense of the inheritance: ye serve the Lord Christ. 25For he that doeth wrong shall receive again for the wrong that he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

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The Spiritual Life. (a. d. 62.)

1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.   2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.   3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.   4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

The apostle, having described our privileges by Christ in the former part of the epistle, and our discharge from the yoke of the ceremonial law, comes here to press upon us our duty as inferred thence. Though we are made free from the obligation of the ceremonial law, it does not therefore follow that we may live as we list. We must walk the more closely with God in all the instances of evangelical obedience. He begins with exhorting them to set their hearts on heaven, and take them off from this world: If you then have risen with Christ. It is our privilege that we have risen with Christ; that is, have benefit by the resurrection of Christ, and by virtue of our union and communion with him are justified and sanctified, and shall be glorified. Hence he infers that we must seek those things which are above. We must mind the concerns of another world more than the concerns of this. We must make heaven our scope and aim, seek the favour of God above, keep up our communion with the upper world by faith, and hope, and holy love, and make it our constant care and business to secure our title to and qualifications for the heavenly bliss. And the reason is because Christ sits at the right hand of God. He who is our best friend and our head is advanced to the highest dignity and honour in heaven, and has gone before to secure to us the heavenly happiness; and therefore we should seek and secure what he has purchased at so vast an expense, and is taking so much care about. We must live such a life as Christ lived here on earth and lives now in heaven, according to our capacities.

I. He explains this duty (v. 2): Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth. Observe, To seek heavenly things is to set our affections upon them, to love them and let our desires be towards them. Upon the wings of affection the heart soars upwards, and is carried forth towards spiritual and divine objects. We must acquaint ourselves with them, esteem them above all other things, and lay out ourselves in preparation for the enjoyment of them. David gave this proof of his loving the house of God, that he diligently sought after it, and prepared for it, Ps. xxvii. 4. This is to be spiritually minded (Rom. viii. 6), and to seek and desire a better country, that is, a heavenly, Heb. xi. 14, 16. Things on earth are here set in opposition to things above. We must not dote upon them, nor expect too much from them, that we may set our affections on heaven; for heaven and earth are contrary one to the other, and a supreme regard to both is inconsistent; and the prevalence of our affection to one will proportionably weaken and abate our affection to the other.

II. He assigns three reasons for this, v. 3, 4.

1. That we are dead; that is, to present things, and as our portion. We are so in profession and obligation; for we are buried with Christ, and planted into the likeness of his death. Every Christian is crucified unto the world, and the world is crucified unto him, Gal. vi. 14. And if we are dead to the earth, and have renounced it as our happiness, it is absurd for us to set our affections upon it, and seek it. We should be like a dead thing to it, unmoved and unaffected towards it.

2. Our true life lies in the other world: You are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God, v. 3. The new man has its livelihood thence. It is born and nourished from above; and the perfection of its life is reserved for that state. It is hid with Christ; not hid from us only, in point of secrecy, but hid for us, denoting security. The life of a Christian is hid with Christ. Because I live you shall live also, John xiv. 19. Christ is at present a hidden Christ, or one whom we have not seen; but this is our comfort, that our life is hid with him, and laid up safely with him. As we have reason to love him whom we have not seen (1 Pet. i. 8), so we may take the comfort of a happiness out of sight, and reserved in heaven for us.

3. Because at the second coming of Christ we hope for the perfection of our happiness. If we live a life of Christian purity and devotion now, when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we shall also appear with him in glory, v. 4. Observe, (1.) Christ is a believer's life. I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me, Gal. ii. 20. He is the principle and end of the Christian's life. He lives in us by his Spirit, and we live to him in all we do. To me to live is Christ, Phil. i. 21. (2.) Christ will appear again. He is now hid; and the heavens must contain him; but he will appear in all the pomp of the upper world, with his holy angels, and in his own glory and his Father's glory, Mark viii. 38; Luke ix. 26. (3.) We shall then appear with him in glory. It will be his glory to have his redeemed with him; he will come to be glorified in his saints (2 Thess. i. 10); and it will be their glory to come with him, and be with him for ever. At the second coming of Christ there will be a general meeting of all the saints; and those whose life is now hid with Christ shall then appear with Christ in that glory which he himself enjoys, John xvii. 24. Do we look for such a happiness, and should we not set our affections upon that world, and live above this? What is there here to make us fond of it? What is there not there to draw our hearts to it? Our head is there, our home is there, our treasure is there, and we hope to be there for ever.




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