Read Colossians 3:1-17
“…you were dead in your sins…” “…God made you alive with Christ…” “…you died with Christ…” (Col. 2:13, 20)
Apart from the written revelation of God in Colossians 2 (with parallel ideas in Ephesians 2 and Romans 6), I don’t think I would be aware of these spiritual realities. I would likely not have known that I was spiritually dead before I came to Christ. Or that, at conversion, I was infused with spiritual life. And when I placed faith in Jesus, the old man and my sinful nature was put to death. Those are not typically experiences that we “feel” happening as we become Christ-followers. They are not necessarily things of which we are experientially aware.
But they are true! Whether you were aware or not, those things really took place. And, because they are spiritual realities, Paul admonishes readers like you to bring your life conduct in line with them. Because you have been raised with Christ, your thoughts and your pursuits are to change. Now, rather than focusing on and seeking after things that the earth offers, you are to raise your sights and energies to bring them in line with those of heaven.
And since, at conversion the old “you” was put to death, your life should reflect that. Things like immorality, impurity, greed, anger, and slander are to be things that once characterized our past, not the present or the future. They are replaced by godly qualities like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love, and peace. These are the kinds of qualities that God, through His Spirit, builds into us as we allow the truth of Scripture to “richly dwell” in us.
Don’t misunderstand this. At conversion, you did not become perfect. Because of conversion, you will not, in this life, achieve perfection (1 Jn. 1:8-10). Nevertheless, you are not to throw in the towel in surrender to sinful patterns that have characterized your life. God wants to bring about practical life change that is consistent with your spiritual experience. That requires your wholehearted cooperation!