Colossians chapter 3 is all about living this renewed life. And to understand that it isnt a list of “you must” or “you mustn’t” statements, is to grasp the encouragement of the gospel, to rely upon the promises of God, and to surrender the throne of our heart to God.
Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.
Colossians 3:1-2 NLT
Yes, being raised to life means putting to death our old life. It means resisting temptation, but that really means longing for God and His Way. A Christian who loves God ands is seeking first the Kingdom of God sees the worthlessness of what they are “giving up” in comparison to the riches they have found in Christ Jesus. Who would cling to stale bread that clearly has a deadly fungus growing on it when there is fresh, warm, good bread for our consumption? But this is exactly what we do when we don’t see sin for what it really is and we don’t fully trust that The Way is best.
So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.
Colossians 3:5-10 NLT
And as we shift our focus and direction, and as we set our eyes on heavenly things — The Way we are to go of true holiness is not high minded and alone like a religious zealot, looking down on the sin of others. It is The Way of forgiveness, humility, mercy, gentleness and love — not of pride. Pride is sin that we are putting behind us. So we are not looking harder at ourselves in a mirror — or looking harder at others — but we are setting our eyes upon God.
If we fall into the shame of self criticism or into the pride of self exaltation, we will see others with pointing fingers, accusations, unfair expectations, etc. We must choose to see “them” and “ourselves” how He sees us, washed by the Blood of the Lamb, clean from the stains of sin, forgiven, beloved, and holy as He is holy.
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:12-17 NLT