Colossians 3 :1.
(Extracted from Scripture Truth Vol. 45, 1974-6, pages 56-7)
These words framed as a text, and hanging on a wall of my bedroom, were invested with a fresh import and joy (albeit a challenge also) during a recent illness. Each word seemed to carry a new sense of blessing, and a strong appeal to one's affections. Reaching for my Bible I read with deepened interest the preceding words — "If ye then be risen with Christ." We understand the word "if" in this verse to be an "if" of consequence, not of uncertainty; and the blessed assurance of this was confirmed as one read verse 12 of the previous chapter — "Ye are risen with Him"; or as another translation puts it — "Ye have been also raised with Him through faith of the working of God". How blessed to contemplate the sovereign movements of God in mercy and the gift of faith that gives one a personal interest in the context of this verse.
A brief consideration of the text may yield some spiritual profit.
"Seek." This active verb should provoke interest and desire; it suggests that there is something well worthwhile discovering. In the gift of the Holy Spirit of God we have ability to search out discerningly the precious matters which this seeking has in view, and He, if unhindered, would promote the necessary spiritual impulse in our affections to that end. David in Psalm 27 says "One thing have I desired of the LORD that will I seek after that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His temple". At home in the presence of God, delighting in His beauty (His graciousness), would create in the affections still further desires for the knowledge of His mind and glory — desires met as one inquired "of Him in His temple" (New Trans.) Embedded in this word seek is the thought of "worship" and the atmosphere of the Psalm would most surely confirm this! How great the reward for those who truly seek — nearness to God; an increasing sense of His glory and His thoughts of love, resulting in a spirit of intelligent, affectionate worship.
"Those things which are above". Christianity is not mere theory and dogma, it embraces that which is permanent, substantial and indeed eternal. Things of earth are transient, corruptible, subject to decay and disintegration; "things which are above" are abiding, pure, full of glory. Precious outlet for our affections and practical salvation for our ways as we allow the "things which are above" to control our thoughts. Turning from this scene of violence and strife we find our joy in a realm where the "God of Peace" moves in the tranquility of His own thoughts of blessing; and scenes of corruption and guile give place in our minds to one of equity and righteousness, for "Jesus Christ the Righteous" is there. Above all else, beloved, our home is there! Do we not treasure the words of our beloved Lord — "I go to prepare a place for you, … that where I am, there ye may be also".
"We have a home above,
From all defilement free;
A mansion which eternal love,
Prepared our rest to be".
Blessed, too, to realize that if this world, of which Satan is god, is marked by rebellion and refusal of God's testimony, the will of God has place amid the "things which are above", and His word is "for ever … settled in heaven". Happy indeed the portion of those whose desires are towards this scene of moral elevation and glory.
"Where Christ sitteth". Here we reach the One in whom everything is centred and established. "Jewish ordinances were but shadows, Christ is the substance" (J.N.D.) Every thought of the blessed God, the eventual display of all that is involved in His eternal purpose; the full revelation of His heart of love, are all centred in Christ. In Him the fulness of the Godhead dwells; as God's Anointed He displaces all that attached to the first man. All things have been entrusted to Him; He is the Head of all things; "He is before all things, and by Him all things consist". In Him is the pre-eminence, the firstborn from the dead. God has decreed that He will "head up all things in the Christ … in Him, in whom we also have obtained an inheritance" (Ephesians 1:10-11. New Trans.). Presently He is our Head, the Head of His church; our Great High Priest; our Advocate; our Surety; in Him the Beloved we are accepted before God; He is our soon coming Lord ! As we await His return we are encouraged in the pathway of faith as we hear His word to the assemblies - "Even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne" (Revelation 3:21).
"On the right hand of God"
This position at the right hand of God is unique to Christ — all power is entrusted alone to Him! In Hebrews chapter 1 verse 3 He sits there gloriously and triumphantly, taking the seat Himself in the majesty of His person. In verse 13 He is there expectantly — waiting for the complete subjugation of every opposing element. In chapter 8 He is seen in priestly character, minister of the true tabernacle, possessor of "a more excellent ministry", and "Mediator of a better covenant"; in chapter 10 He is there "in perpetuity" — nothing can interrupt or disturb the position; in chapter 12 He is the Man of joy, the work of the cross completed, the Leader and Completer of faith, worthy to attract and hold the steadfast gaze of all His own. In 1 Peter 3:22 we see Him there in pre-eminence — "angels and authorities and powers being subjected to him". How much more is involved in the present position of Christ at God's right hand!
May the consideration of this precious verse of God's Word stimulate our affections, giving us a deeper appreciation of "things above" and of Him who is at the centre of them.