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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Colossians 3:2

Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Affections;   Commandments;   Covetousness;   Spirituality;   Worldliness;   Thompson Chain Reference - Meaning of the Risen Life;   Risen Life, Meaning of;   Worldliness;   Worldliness-Unworldliness;   The Topic Concordance - Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ;   Creation;   Man;   Newness;   Resurrection;   Seeking;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Affections, the;   Man;   Pilgrims and Strangers;   Repentance;  
Dictionaries:
Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Church;   Hope;   Knowledge;   Magic;   Mind;   Paul;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Citizenship;   Love;   Sanctification;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Sacrifice;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Affection;   Earth;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Colosse;   Palmtree;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ascension;   Ascension of Christ;   Colossians;   Life;   Second Coming, the;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Ethics;   Hope;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Above and below;   Colossians, Epistle to the;   Earth Earthen Earthy Earthly;   Fall;   Life and Death;   Mediation Mediator;   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Worldliness;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Affect;   Christ, Offices of;   Eschatology of the New Testament;   Good, Chief;   Meditation;   Sanctification;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for March 29;   Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for August 27;   Every Day Light - Devotion for May 13;  
Unselected Authors

Adam Clarke Commentary

Verse Colossians 3:2. Set your affection on things aboveτα αςω φρονειτε. Love heavenly things; study them; let your hearts be entirely engrossed by them. Now, that ye are converted to God, act in reference to heavenly things as ye did formerly in reference to those of earth; and vice versa. This is a very good general rule: "Be as much in earnest for heavenly and eternal things, as ye formerly were for those that are earthly and perishing."

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Colossians 3:2". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/colossians-3.html. 1832.

Bridgeway Bible Commentary


Christian freedom in practice (2:16-3:4)

In view of the freedom that Christ has won for them, the Colossian believers must not listen to those who try to force them to obey the rules and regulations of the Israelite law. Practices taught in the law may be compared to shadows. They are not solid or permanent, but their existence enables the viewer to know that there is some real object that casts the shadows. That real object is Jesus Christ. Now that he has come, the shadows are of no further interest. The ceremonies of the law have no further use (16-17).
Neither should Christians listen to those who want to show their ‘superior’ knowledge by mixing their own philosophies with the gospel. Christian life and growth come from God through a direct relationship between the believer and Christ. There is no scale of angelic beings forming a ladder to link Christians with God (18-19).
Having been set free from the bondage of sin through Christ’s death, Christians should not get into bondage again by becoming slaves of religious regulations that people want to impose upon them. To make laws to live by is the way of the worldly person, not the way of the Christian. No matter how clever and religious those laws may appear, they will not succeed in controlling the desires of the body (20-23).
Because they have died to sin, Christians are not in bondage to things of the world as the Gnostics are. Christians have been raised with Christ to new life in a higher world, where their desires and conduct are like Christ’s (3:1-2). Through Christ they have life directly in God. In contrast to the Gnostics, they do not try to climb a ladder of countless intermediate spirit beings. Neither the Gnostics nor any other unbelievers can understand this life, because the life is ‘in Christ’ and therefore is hidden from their view. Its true character will be fully shown on the day when Christ’s glory is revealed (3-4).

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Colossians 3:2". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bbc/colossians-3.html. 2005.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth.

See preceding verse.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Colossians 3:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/colossians-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Set your affection - Margin, “or mind.” Greek” think of” - φρονεῖτε phroneite. The thoughts should be occupied about the things where Christ now dwells, where our final home is to be, where our great interests are. Since we are raised from the death of sin, and are made to live anew, the great object of our contemplation should be the heavenly world.

Not on things on the earth - Wealth, honor, pleasure. Our affections should not be fixed on houses and lands; on scenes of fashion and gaiety; on low and debasing enjoyments.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Colossians 3:2". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/colossians-3.html. 1870.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

2. Not the things that are on earth. He does not mean, as he does a little afterwards, depraved appetites, which reign in earthly men, nor even riches, or fields, or houses, nor any other things of the present life, which we must

use, as though we did not use them, (1 Corinthians 7:30) (433)

but is still following out his discussion as to ceremonies, which he represents as resembling entanglements which constrain us to creep upon the ground. “Christ,” says he, “calls us upwards to himself, while these draw us downwards.” For this is the winding-up and exposition of what he had lately touched upon as to the abolition of ceremonies through the death of Christ. “The ceremonies are dead to you through the death of Christ, and you to them, in order that, being raised up to heaven with Christ, you may think only of those things that are above. Leave off therefore earthly things.” I shall not contend against others who are of a different mind; but certainly the Apostle appears to me to go on step by step, so that, in the first instance, he places traditions as to trivial matters in contrast with meditation on the heavenly life, and afterwards, as we shall see, goes a step farther.

(433) See Calvin on the Corinthians, vol. 1, p. 257.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Colossians 3:2". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/colossians-3.html. 1840-57.

Chuck Smith Bible Commentary

Chapter 3

So then,

If then you are risen with Christ [If you are risen with Christ... going back to buried with Christ in baptism, now risen with Him], seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God ( Colossians 3:1 ).

You're not really bound to these things of the world, the rudiments of the world. You're not under the laws: touch not, handle not, taste not. You've risen with Christ. You're living in a new dimension of life, the spiritual dimension of life. And you should be seeking those things which are above where Christ is sitting on the right hand of God.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God ( Colossians 3:2-3 ).

Now, again, my life is the reflection of what I am and what I believe. And it doesn't mean that Paul is giving these people a license to live after the flesh. It doesn't mean that he's saying it doesn't matter how you live. What he is saying, that these aren't the things that make you righteous. And you shouldn't be living in a negative relationship with God under the law; you should be living a positive relationship with God, seeking the things which are spiritual, seeking and pursuing those things that are above. Setting your affections on things above, not on these things on the earth. For really you are dead to them, and that's the principal he is teaching. I have been crucified with Christ, thus I am dead to the flesh and to the things of the flesh and to the life of the flesh; I should not be living after the flesh. For you are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. That's where I am now living in Christ, in God. And,

When Christ, who is our life, [Now, you see this is the key to it right here. Can you say that Christ is my life? As Paul said, "For me to live is Christ," and I love this powerful statement.] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory ( Colossians 3:4 ).

Jesus is going to come again as he said with "the clouds of heaven...and great glory" ( Matthew 24:30 ). "Behold, He cometh...every eye shall see Him" ( Revelation 1:7 ). "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing here into heaven, this same Jesus is going to come again" ( Acts 1:11 ). And when Christ who is our life shall appear, we shall appear with Him in glory. Oh, but how important that we are able to say, "Christ who is my life." That my life be so completely bound up and centered in Christ that He is my life. Christ who is my life. I love it.

Mortify [or put to death] therefore your members which are upon the earth [that is the members of your body, those body desires put them to death]; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience ( Colossians 3:5-6 ):

Now, as Paul is writing to the Ephesians, he tells them much the same things, that for these things the wrath of God is coming upon the earth. Therefore, we should not be guilty of these things. "Know this," he said, "no whoremongers, nor unclean person, nor covetous man who is an idolater has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no man deceive you with vain words for because of these things the wrath of God is coming on the children of disobedience" ( Ephesians 5:5 , Ephesians 5:6 ). As he was writing to the Galatians and was listing the works of the flesh, he said, "That we know that those who do these things shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven" ( Galatians 5:21 ). In Romans one he says, "For the wrath of God is going to be revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth of God in unrighteousness" ( Romans 1:18 ). And then, as he gives this long list of things, parallel list here, he said that, "They which do such things are deserving death" ( Romans 1:32 ).

So don't be deceived; don't let men deceive you. You cannot live after your flesh and inherit the kingdom of God. The very fact that I have accepted Jesus Christ, the whole concept is that I have renounced the life of the flesh. I'm dead to the flesh that I might be alive unto God in Christ, living after the Spirit. And if I am still living after my flesh, the ritual of baptism is not only negated, but all that I might say is also negated. John said, "If a man says he loves God and yet hates his brother, he is a liar" ( John 4:20 ). "The truth isn't in him" ( John 2:4 ). If a man says he abides in Christ then he ought to be walking as Christ walked. In other words, it's not what you say which really counts; it's how you're walking that counts. And so, are you walking after the Spirit? Have you renounced these hidden things of the world? Have you mortified the deeds of the flesh? For don't be deceived, if you are living after the flesh, you are not an heir of the kingdom of God. It is a spiritual kingdom for those who are living and walking after the Spirit, regardless of what you may say or affirm to be so. They that do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And so he lists these things and he says, "Look, the wrath of God is coming upon the earth because of these things. Don't presume upon the grace of God." The children of Israel made a tragic mistake thinking, "Well, we are God's chosen people, and we can live like the nations around us." You can't. You must live as God's people. Mortify, therefore, those fleshly things,

In the which you also walked sometime, when you lived in them. But now ye also put off all of these; [not just these more overt sins of the flesh, but put these off too, put off] anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him ( Colossians 3:7-10 ):

So we should be as John says, walking as Jesus walked. He is our example; He is the image into which the Spirit of God is seeking to conform our lives. And so put off the old man, and put on the new.

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all ( Colossians 3:11 ).

We don't have distinctions in Jesus Christ, religious, ethnic or whatever; Christ is everything. He is all, and He is in all. There is not rich or poor, there is not favored and special class; we are just all one.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, [now, you put on Jesus Christ, you put off these things, put off anger, wrath, and malice and instead, put on] bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, and if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity [love], which is the bond of perfectness [completeness] ( Colossians 3:12-14 ).

So, not only am I to just put off the works of the flesh, the old life, I am to put on Jesus Christ, living after Him.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be thankful ( Colossians 3:15 ).

So, we're called to thanksgiving; we're called to the peace of God. And then, verse sixteen:

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; [And that's why we're here tonight. That the word of Christ might dwell in our hearts richly. That we might teach and admonish one another.] teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord ( Colossians 3:16-18 ).

Now, as we had mentioned when we were going though Ephesians, God gave very simple rules for marriage. Two rules: one for the wife, one for the husband. And if we'll follow these rules we can have a very happy marriage and a happy relationship. But if we violate these rules, we're going to bring misery into our marriage. The rule for the wife: submit yourself unto your own husband. To the husband: love your wife, be not bitter against them. So the husband is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. The wife is to submit to the husband. These two are tied together. God knows that the greatest need that the woman has is to know that she is loved, that she is loved supremely. When she knows she is loved supremely, she is secure, and she feels that security, and thus anything my man does is all right. Then she finds it easy to submit to him, because she knows that he loves her supremely. And as she says, "Well, honey, whatever you want." God knows that the greatest need a man has is to be macho, to feel he's in control. And to challenge that is to court problems. But to play up to that is to open the door for all kinds of demonstrations of love. "Oh, my little sweet heart. Man, what can I do for her today; she's such a doll. She trusts my judgment; she trusts my wisdom. How can I show her how much I appreciate her and love her?" So, as the wife submits, the husband finds it easy to show his love. As she rebels, then he's got to show that he's macho. "I don't need you; I don't need anybody. I'm able to handle. I'm macho. I can do what I want." And so he becomes cold. And as he becomes cold, then she feels all the more insecure and she has to challenge all the more. "This creep! I don't know if he loves me or not. Think what he wants to do is stupid. We have to loose everything, and then he is going to take off. I know he is, because I don't know if he loves me or not." So you feel like you've got to challenge everything. "Are you sure? Do you really know what you're doing?" Macho, "I know what I'm doing. Leave me alone." He gets cold.

Two rules: wives submit, husbands love. Then you have a happy relationship. Because the wife feels the love and the security and she knows, "Hey, he's my man." And the husband, he feels so macho, "Hey, she's my little gal; she's trusting me to do the right thing." And it's beautiful. It's heaven on earth. Simple, isn't it? "Well," you say, "and it would be simple if my husband really knew what he was doing." But she says, "It would be simple if he really loved me, liked Jesus loved the church." Now,

Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord ( Colossians 3:20 ).

When we were going through Ephesians, he said, "Obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." And we do recognize that the highest authority in our life is God. And we, the presumption here, is that the parents are Christians and are seeking the spiritual welfare of the child. If the parents are not Christians and are demanding the child do something that would be a violation, if he's conscience before God, then we must obey God rather than man. But assuming that the parents love the Lord and you have a Christian home, children, obey your parents in all things; this is well pleasing unto the Lord.

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged ( Colossians 3:21 ).

And, to anger, is not in the original text. You notice it's in italics. It's just, "Fathers, provoke not your children, lest they be discouraged." It's easy to discourage the child through unreasonable demands. Isn't it interesting how we want to make sure that our children don't make the same mistakes that we made. How we want them to be better than we were. We don't want them to goof off and get mediocre grades in school. We want them to get all A's. And sometimes, we are guilty of pushing our children with unreasonable demands, and what it does cause is discouragement on their part. Make sure that we're not making unreasonable demands upon them, taking away their humanness, causing discouragement. And so, don't provoke your children so that they get discouraged. Actually, I have seen something that I think is a terrible evil. And that is, I've seen fathers sometimes tease their little babies until the baby screams in frustration. "Here, you want this candy? Ha, ha. Here the candy, ha, ha, ha, ha." And they keep teasing the child, pulling it away until the child just looses control and screams, and then, isn't that funny and then hands them the candy. Don't do that. Don't provoke your children. That's not a wise thing to do. You're not teaching them when you do things like that.

Servants [or employees], obey in all things your masters [bosses] according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men ( Colossians 3:22-23 );

Oh, that you could have employees like that, that are doing things as unto the Lord. They do it heartily; they do it with joyfulness. They do it with a great spirit. Not to be a man pleaser, "Oh, the boss is coming. Look busy." But doing it as unto the Lord,

Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve [are a servant of] the Lord Christ ( Colossians 3:24 ).

Now, you may be making your living by working there at that office, or factory, or wherever. That may be putting bread on the table, but your life really is bound up in Jesus Christ. You're His servant. You're called to serve Him. Now you make your living over here. But, even in making your living, if you will do things heartily as unto the Lord, it will open up many opportunities for you to witness. People will say, "How is it that on Monday you can be so happy; you're whistling. Man, my head aches so bad I can hardly see. You seem to have such a good attitude. Boy, if he'd told me that, I would've just really said, 'Hey you take this job, man and stuff it.' You had such a good attitude. And you just went ahead and did it. How is it?" Hey, it opens up so many opportunities to witness for you. Do it as unto the Lord, you're the Lord's servant. He's watching.

But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he has done: and there is no respect of persons ( Colossians 3:25 ).

"



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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Colossians 3:2". "Chuck Smith Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/csc/colossians-3.html. 2014.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Again we could translate "If" as "Since" (first class condition). It introduces another situation Paul assumed to be true for the sake of his argument (cf. Colossians 2:20). Paul returned to his thought about the believer’s union with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection (Colossians 2:9-15). Two present imperatives identify the Christian’s responsibilities: "seek" (Colossians 3:1) and "set your affection on" (Colossians 3:2). Since God raised us with Christ and we are already as good as seated with Him in heaven, we should "keep seeking" heavenly things.

"The description of Christ as ’seated at the right hand of God’ is another implied rejoinder to those who were seeking to diminish Christ’s role as mediator, inasmuch as the right hand of God is a metaphor for the place of supreme privilege and divine authority." [Note: Vaughan, p. 209.]

Second, we should continually "set" our minds on the things of heaven (our spiritual blessings and hope, our Savior’s desires, etc.) rather than on the things that are only physical and temporal. They should occupy a large place in our thought lives.

"You must not only seek heaven; you must also think heaven." [Note: Lightfoot, p. 209.]

". . . from now on the Christian will see everything in the light and against the background of eternity. He will no longer live as if this world was all that mattered; he will see this world against the background of the larger world of eternity. . . .

"He will, for instance, set giving above getting, serving above ruling, forgiving above avenging. The Christian will see things, not as they appear to men, but as they appear to God." [Note: Barclay, p. 177.]

"The Christian has to keep his feet upon the earth, but his head in the heavens. He must be heavenly-minded here on earth and so help to make earth like heaven." [Note: Robertson, 4:500.]

This is the legitimate mysticism of Paul. The two commands differ in that the first emphasizes the more practical pursuits of life whereas the second stresses the whole bent of the life. The first is outward and the second inward.

Jesus Christ’s present rule on His Father’s throne over the church is not the same as His rule on David’s throne over David’s kingdom, which will begin when He returns to earth. [Note: See Cleon L. Rogers Jr., "The Davidic Covenant in Acts-Revelation," Bibliotheca Sacra 151:601 (January-March 1994):81-82; John F. Walvoord, "Biblical Kingdoms Compared and Contrasted," in Issues in Dispensationalism, especially pp. 89-90; David A. Dean, "A Study of the Enthronement of Christ in Acts 2, 3" (Th.M. thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1992); John A. McLean, "Did Jesus Correct the Disciples’ View of the Kingdom?" Bibliotheca Sacra 151:602 (April-June 1994):215-27; Charles C. Ryrie, The Basis of the Premillennial Faith, pp. 81-82; and John F. Walvoord, Jesus Christ Our Lord, pp. 224-26.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Colossians 3:2". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/colossians-3.html. 2012.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

A. The basic principle 3:1-4

To encourage his readers to turn away from their false teachers, Paul reminded them of their union with Christ. He also urged them to continue living in keeping with their position in Christ.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Colossians 3:2". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/colossians-3.html. 2012.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Set your affections on things above,.... For unless the affections are set on them, they will never be sought after in a proper manner. The word signifies to mind them, and think on them, to favour and approve of them, to be affectionately desirous of them, and concerned for them; for where the treasure is, the heart should be; and as the saints' best things are above, their minds and affections should be there likewise; their contemplation should be on those things, and their conversation should be in heaven; nor should they regard anything but what is there, or comes from thence, for they belong not to this world, but to another and better country: their citizenship is in heaven, and there, in a short time, they must have their everlasting residence; and therefore should seek after, and highly prize and value heavenly things, and set their affections on them, and

not on things on the earth; not mind earth and earthly things, temporal enjoyments, riches, and honours; and though food and raiment, and the necessaries of life, are to be sought after, and cared and provided for, yet not with anxiety and perplexity of mind, in an over thoughtful and distressing manner; nor should the heart be set on those outward things, or happiness placed in the possession of them. Moreover, worldly lusts, the members which are on the earth, earthly pleasures that are sinful, may be here meant. Worldly lusts are to be denied, the deeds of the body are to be mortified, carnal desires are not to be gratified and indulged, provision is not to be made for the flesh, to fulfil its lusts; and particularly the vain philosophy of Jews and Gentiles, the traditions of the elders, the ceremonies of the law, which lay in earthly things, in worldly observances, the difference of meats and drinks, keeping of days, months, and years, new moons, feasts, and sabbath days; the rudiments of the world, the commandments and doctrines which were of the earth, and lay in not touching, tasting, and handling certain things that are on earth, and which perish with the using, as opposed to the doctrines of the Gospel, and ordinances of Christ, which are from above, and come from heaven, and have a spiritual and heavenly use: and which is the sense chiefly intended, though it is best to understand the words in their largest compass.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Colossians 3:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/colossians-3.html. 1999.

Matthew Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

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 (Colossians 3:2; Colossians 3:2): 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, Psalms 27:4. This is to be spiritually minded (Romans 8:6), and to seek and desire a better country, that is, a heavenly,Hebrews 11:14; Hebrews 11:16. 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, Colossians 3:3; Colossians 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,Galatians 6:14. 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,Colossians 3:3; Colossians 3:3. 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 14:19. 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 Peter 1:8), 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,Colossians 3:4; Colossians 3:4. Observe, (1.) Christ is a believer's life. I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me,Galatians 2:20. 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,Philippians 1:21. (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 8:38; Luke 9:26. (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 Thessalonians 1:10); 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 17:24. 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.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Colossians 3:2". "Matthew Henry Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mhm/colossians-3.html. 1706.