Imagine for a moment that you had some kind of serious disease and the physicians were not very sure that you would survive. After a course of treatment however, your doctor comes into the room and tells you the good news that you are completely healed. That would be wonderful indeed. But what if you then left the office and continued to act like you had the illness, making arrangements for your potential funeral, continuing to show up for your treatments. People might wonder if there wasn’t something wrong with your mental status.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ” It would be easy to overlook these few words at the beginning of Colossians three, but to do so would be a huge mistake. You HAVE been raised with Christ! If you have put your faith in Christ, those words ARE your new prognosis. Guess what? You are going to live… forever. This has already happened, at least in a spiritual sense. When Christ was raised from the dead, your place before the Father was restored and the choke hold that death held on you was shattered forever. This has life changing consequences for us, at least it should. Think about it, when you’re worried about something, how would the fact that you have been raised with Christ change worry? When you are sick, how does the fact that you have been raised with Christ affect your perspective on health and even on physical death? If you are trying to make a difficult decision, how would having been raised with Christ play into that? Your relationships, your finances, etc.
You see, because we have been raised with Christ, we ought to stop acting like the dead men and women we were before. Too often we allow our circumstances to dictate our theology instead of letting our theology frame our circumstances. That is exactly what Paul does here. He says stop thinking and acting like you did before, you’re not that person any more.
I’m not saying that we should approach life in a prosperity gospel way; in that we simply claim something and believe that it will happen like God is some kind of vending machine. Instead, what I mean is that our reality as believers has changed, and we need to recognize this and view life in light of that new reality.
One more thing; just because we are a new creation doesn’t mean that some of the old ways won’t still be there to haunt us, quite the contrary. The question is what to do about those things. Paul gives us the answer here as well. First, he says to set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Living in this new reality means we should think about the things in our new reality not the things from the old reality. Second, Paul says put to death the things of the old nature. Note that he doesn’t say, try to stay away from them. He doesn’t say, pray about that and wait for God to act. He doesn’t say go buy a good book on the topic from an author you trust and get five tips for overcoming. He says PUT THEM TO DEATH! The old nature was the reason you were separated from the Father in the first place it doesn’t deserve your attention, and it isn’t something to wrestle with. Kill it!