If/Then…these were 2 of my least favorite words in school. I did not like if/then statements. My main answer was, “If I know the right answer in my head without paper then I should not have to waste my time writing it down for you.” That was not popular though.
Colossians 3:1, “If you have been raised with Christ…then…then…then” We must make sure in life we get the ”if” in the “if” spot and the “then” in the “then” spot” or we turn the life-giving Gospel into a soul-sucking lie.
Colossians 3 speaks of things we must “put to death” in ourselves and then goes onto say that we must “put on” a whole list of incredibly high standards of great character. If we place the “put to death” and the “put on” in the place of the “if” and the salvation found in Christ in the “then” spot we miss grace altogether.
Let’s get the if/then right. If Christ is life, then life is Christ. If we have been raised with him our life is hidden in him and we will appear with him in glory. He is the answer to the past, the present, and the future.
Now, if we are raised with Christ, then there are a few things we should do.
Set on Christ. We must set our lives on Christ, our hearts on Christ, our minds our Christ, our spirit on Christ. He is, after all, where life is hidden and found. We know what we are set on in life by what we are seeking out in life.
Set off self. We must put to death many things according to this passage, from coveting to sexual immorality to lying. The list is instructive, not comprehensive. It is a guide to the types of things God desires to die in us. We must remember in all of these things that, “saying no is not saying yes.” God ultimately desires that we would say “yes” to him in obedience not simply “no” for him in obedience, thus…
Suit up Christ. We must put on Christ. We need to suit up everyday. We will never give to others what we do not first receive from Christ. We give compassion because we receive compassion. We give forgiveness because we receive forgiveness. Suit up in Jesus by allowing the His Word to dwell in you richly in relationships with other believers that teach and admonish you.
These steps are not one-time steps. We must walk out these commitments to the THEN reality of the IF we have experienced in Christ by setting on, setting off, and suiting up over and over again in our lives.
The passage ends in verse 17 with a quick test of how you are doing in this. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Here are the test questions.
1. Can I do this in the name of the Lord?
If the answer is no, do not do it. There are some things you will never do in the name of Jesus. (Examples – commit adultery, lie, steal, cheat on your taxes.)
2. Am I doing this in the name of the Lord?
Just because I can does not mean I should. Nor does it mean I am doing it with the right intention and heart.
Now, if you have been raised with Christ then…