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  • Writer's pictureBro. Caleb Taft

Knowing our King | Colossians 3:2-4 | Your Affections

Colossians 3:2-4

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.


The struggle that is taking place in this epistle can be summed up in chapter 2 verse 2. It is a struggle between “Things above” and “Things on earth.” This is the struggle between the false religion of Chapter Two and the true religion of Chapter One. In chapter one we saw the object of true religion, Jesus. Chapter 2 showed us the object of false religion, self. Things above only appeal to those whose affections are set on things above and those whose hearts are in heaven and whose minds are stayed on Jesus. They have no danger of falling into false religion because false religion has no power to appeal to them. On the other hand, those whose affection is set on things on earth are in great danger of their “Enticing words.” False religion has a hook in them, it “Puffs up their fleshly mind” and appeals to a man whose affections are on things below. True religion’s focus is Christ, our hope is “Christ in you”, our strength is from above all that we have and all that we are is laid up for us, not in this world but in the next. As Jesus Prayed in Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” As Paul said, “To Live is Christ and to Die is gain.” These are words of those whose affections were set on things above, not on things on earth. Where are our affections set this morning? Do we long after the things of earth? Do we strive for the things on earth? Do we invest in the things on earth? Dear friend, recall the words of our Lord in John 8:23 “And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” Jesus was not of this world, and neither should we be I would remind you of what Paul told us in Romans 8:5-8 “5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”


Mark carefully the words, “Set your affection.” This is a call to action; it is something that will be an effort on your behalf. In this war between the 2 natures, you will have to make an effort to set your affections on the new nature and not the old. This is what chapter three is going to teach us, how to navigate the struggle between “Things above” and “Things on earth.” Don’t be discouraged in the work, I can testify, along with others, that greater joy, peace, and contentment will be found when you set your heart on things above, you will have a hope that “fadeth not away,” you’ll have a strength that is not your own and joy unspeakable and full of glory. When my heart has been set on things on earth, I have seldom found any joy that lasted more than a few fleeting moments and the more I acquired the less content I became. Dear Christian if you would be happy and have a taste of heaven on earth then “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”


In verses three and four he gives us two valuable truths that open our eyes and help us to understand how and why we should “Set our affections on things above, and not on things in earth.” Verse 3 shows us the truth of our death in Christ. Verse 4 shows us the truth of our life in Christ. We are dead to things below and alive to things above! What a wonderful and necessary truth for us to grasp. Before we were saved, we were dead to God and alive to the World. We were dead in our trespasses and sins and God came and saved us. At that moment there were a whole host of heavenly blessings that were given to us, more than we could speak of today, we were “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” [Eph 1:3]. One of these blessings is that we died with Christ. It is important to understand the word, Death. Death has been associated with annihilation or a ceasing to exist completely, but this is the death of animals, plants, or other of God’s creatures who do not have an eternal soul. Death when it comes to eternal beings does not mean a ceasing to exist but separation. Death for a man is not the end of life but the beginning, the beginning of a new existence, an eternal one, death is the separation of our body from our souls. Death of our old nature is not that it ceased to exist but that we were separated from it. The NT illustration of circumcision shows us the same truth that we were separated from the flesh. We were bound to it before Christ, alive to it, it animated us and controlled us. When I was born again, I died or was separated from my old nature. He is still there but he does not control my life now any more than I yield to him. Read Romans 6-8 and mark the truths of those chapters carefully, the instruction given to us is to “Reckon yourselves dead indeed unto sin” and “Yield yourselves.” God gave us freedom from sin; now we must not yield to it or give it control. So when God tells us in Colossians 2:2 to set our affections on things above, He is telling us to do something that he has made it possible for us to do. He tells us to Set our affections on things above and goes on to tell us how this is possible, “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Not only did we die with Him but we also resurrected with him and are alive to God. We have the new heavenly nature, He “Quickened us” or made us alive. Recall our verses from chapter 2:12 “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.” Verse 3 seems to be the how of “Set your affections on things above, and not on things in earth” and verse 4 seems to be the why.


Why should we set our affections on things above? Because “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” Not only are you dead to sin, and alive to God now, but you will be for all eternity! Things on earth are passing away every moment, “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” [James 4:14]. Our life in heaven is eternal, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” [1 Peter 1 :3-4]. Dear friend, you may ask why should I set my affections on things in heaven and not on things on earth, after all, I live here on earth now, can’t we indulge our flesh here and enjoy what he has for us there as well? This is the state of either a false confessor or an ignorant child, and sadly it is the state of most of our Christians. We want to invest in earth and be rich in heaven’s blessings but we must remember what Christ taught us, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” [Matthew 6:19-21] Why would we set our affections on things on earth when so soon we will pass into eternity and only what was done for Christ will last?



C.T. Studd

Two little lines I heard one day,

Traveling along life’s busy way;

Bringing conviction to my heart,

And from my mind would not depart;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


Only one life, yes only one,

Soon will its fleeting hours be done;

Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,

And stand before His Judgement seat;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


Only one life, the still small voice,

Gently pleads for a better choice

Bidding me selfish aims to leave,

And to God’s holy will to cleave;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


Only one life, a few brief years,

Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears;

Each with its clays I must fulfill.

living for self or in His will;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


When this bright world would tempt me sore,

When Satan would a victory score;

When self would seek to have its way,

Then help me Lord with joy to say;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


Give me Father, a purpose deep,

In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep;

Faithful and true what e’er the strife,

Pleasing Thee in my daily life;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


Oh let my love with fervor burn,

And from the world now let me turn;

Living for Thee, and Thee alone,

Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.


Only one life, yes only one,

Now let me say, “Thy will be done”;

And when at last I’ll hear the call,

I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”;

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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