Colossians 3:1-17: Fixing our minds
If you want to be a better Christian, you need to (fill in the blank). What is it that you think you need to do? What is it that some voices are telling us we need to do? Many tell us how we can be successful in our Christian walks. There are many fads that take advantage of our sincere hunger for holiness and obedience, and as a result there are many quacks with their quick fixes. ‘In order to live the victorious Christian life you need Christ and Christian psychology; Christ and inner healing; Christ and casting demons out of Christians; Christ and miracles; Christ and the baptism of the Holy Spirit; Christ and spiritual warfare; etc. All of these fads are essentially saying that Christ and what we received in the Gospel is not enough, what you need to do is supplement the Gospel get something more than the Gospel in order to really succeed as a Christian.
The heretics on the Colossian church were advocating a similar view, they were saying that Christ was not enough. They were advocating angels as mediators, and legalistic regulations to get control over the flesh. They were pretending to have access to the secret knowledge that would unlock spiritual riches for the Colossian church, but it was all a syncretistic mix of legalism and Gnosticism. Paul writes to the Colossians to prove to them the sufficiency of the person of Christ, and the sufficiency of the work of Christ, that we need no other mediators, and we need no other way to be made forgiven our sins and made holy. We are entering that section where Paul shows us that we do not need to add anything to the Gospel but that the Gospel itself has in it all that is needed for living a fruitful Christian life. Colossians 1-3 is the part of the letter where Paul establishes the truth of Christ’s person and work, and 3-4 is where Paul outlines the way we live out of those truths with nothing added. He points out the treasures that we already have in Christ, and focuses especially on what we need to think about in order to live out of these riches. So the title of our sermon today is ‘Fixing our minds,’ with a deliberate pun on the word ‘fixing.’ Fixing means to mend something that is broken, but also to set it on something, and this is how Paul counsels us to live the successful Christian life. He wants us to learn about who Christ is and what He has done, and seeing ourselves as having died and resurrected with Him, a certain life should be the logical conclusion.