Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things... Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:1-2, 16-17 NIV
Paul, in his writings, established the principle of godly living and the basic reasons for it. From our text, Paul now extends this principle to specific areas of conduct. Here belief and behavior become inseparably bound together. Desiring and thinking about “the things above” do not mean that one lives in another worldly life. Our being united with the Lord Jesus has most specific implications for the here and now. The behavior described in this passage is not done in order to come into a right relationship with God; it is a result of that relationship with God that such behavior is demonstrated. There are some characteristics that are “put off,” or “put to death,” not as a work of righteousness, but as a consequence of union with Christ’s putting them to death with Him paid for at the cross. There are other characteristics that are “put on” again, not as a work of righteousness, but because Christians have been raised with Christ in His new life, thus reflecting His characteristics working within. All these happen when we allow the Word of God dwell richly in our lives. Not only that we reflect the life that God wants us to manifest, but it also helps us in encouraging and teaching others. We obey God’s commands by thinking of “things above” for we “do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Colossians 3:17). Every word and every deed is to be done in His name. We act on behalf of our Lord and Savior. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20). Paul affirms here that Christians are to be such for the Lord Jesus Christ. What they do and what they say are to be done as Jesus Himself would act or speak. Ultimately, Christian life is not about having a list of do’s and don’ts. It is rather the awareness that Christians are here and it is their life in Christ that is their ultimate ethic.