The believer, as one with Christ, as redeemed from among men, as a child of God — ought to be very distinct from this poor, fallen, degraded world. But alas, we are too often mixed up with the world — and are too much like the world! We forget the dignity of our high calling, and our glorious destiny — as the heirs of eternal life. To us the Holy Spirit speaks, calling us to take higher ground — and to seek for far greater blessings. "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God!" Colossians 3:1
Mark, OUR PROFESSION. "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ." We profess to be connected with Christ, as . . .
the head of His Church,
the fountain of grace, and
the pattern of his people.
We profess to resemble Christ, as dead to the law, sin, and the present evil world — and as raised from the dead by virtue of our union to Him. He represented us in his death and resurrection, in consequence of which we become vitally united to Him, the living and life-giving one. We are raised above curse and condemnation — raised to the enjoyment of blessing and acceptance with God, so that we sit down with Him in the heavenly places. Our life is a resurrection life — and we should live as those who are raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father.
THE EXHORTATION. "Set your hearts on things above." Seek to possess what God gives from Heaven — and which distinguish Heaven from earth. Seek holiness — or inward and outward conformity to Jesus. Seek peace — not only reconciliation to God — but tranquility of soul, and friendship with all the Lord's family. Seek spiritual joy — which fills all in Heaven, and may be enjoyed on earth in much greater measure than it is. Seek entire consecration to God — which will lead to hearty, perpetual, and cheerful obedience to the will of God. Seek unity — all in Heaven are united, seek therefore the unity of the Church, and your own union with all who love the Lord. Seek to promote, or make known those things which are above. Speak of them . . .
to saints — to stimulate them;
to seekers — to encourage them; and
to sinners — to instruct and win them.
"Set your hearts on things above!"
THE INDUCEMENT. "Where Christ is seated at the right hand of God." He is at home with His Father. He is in the seat of all honor, power, and authority. He sits at the right hand of God. His work on earth is done. He is enjoying rest after all His toils and labors. He is in possession of perfect freedom. He realizes His right to the celestial mansions, as the Redeemer of His people. He still retains the office of Mediator, Representative, and Intercessor. He is therefore — there for us. As our Brother beloved, as our Savior trusted, as our adored God — Jesus is at the right hand of His Father. We are there now in Him, and by virtue of being represented by him — we shall soon be there with him, and rejoice always before Him.
Beloved, you profess to be dead with Christ, to be buried with Him in baptism, and to be raised with him by the faith. It is therefore your solemn duty, to live as those who are alive from the dead. You are recognized by those around you, as professing to be Christians — therefore you are under obligation to live Christ-like lives. You will suffer loss, and your sin and folly will be inexcusable — if you do not.
Rise therefore, like the liberated eagle. Leave the world with all its follies and fascinations! Set your heart on Heaven and heavenly things. Seek to obtain all from Heaven that you can. Seek to enjoy as much of Heaven on earth as possible. Make your life sublime, by endeavoring to attract and lead many to Heaven with you. There is room enough and to spare there, and it will be a source of joy and everlasting rejoicing, if any arrive there through your efforts and instrumentality.
Be thorough Christians.
Be heavenly minded — for yours is a heavenly calling.
Be holy — because your Father in Heaven is holy.
Work for Jesus — for he wrought long and arduously for you. Work now — for you will rest soon; you also shall sit down with Jesus as he sat down with his Father. Never fear suffering here, it must be short; there is happiness as well as rest in Heaven, and it will be forever! Live for Heaven, and live as much as you can in Heaven — even before you arrive there!
Rise from these earthly trifles, rise
On wings of faith and love;
Above your choicest treasure lies,
So be your hearts above!
But earth and sin will drag us down,
When we attempt to fly;
Lord! send your strong attractive power
To raise and fix us high!