It is important to set this verse in context. Leading up to this verse, Paul wrote:
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations–“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20-23
- Paul scorns “self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body.” What does he mean?
- Many people fast during Lent as a penitential discipline. Is fasting silly?
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4
- In what sense have you been “raised with Christ?” What things are above, where Christ is?
- What does it mean when Paul says that “you have died and your life is hidden with Christ?”
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Colossians 3:5-10
- How do the behaviors described in these verses contrast with the behavior of someone who has his mind set on “things that are above?”
- How does Paul sum up his teaching in a way that prevents the necessity of learning a list of “to-do” and “not-to-do” items? Where does Paul expect Christians to learn to do the right thing?
- How does this form of teaching differ from the way secular thinkers teach morality? Where do secular thinkers look in order to see what is right and good? Why do you need to understand where secular thinkers get their morals?
- How can Christians discuss morality in a meaningful way with secular thinkers?