Seeking Things Above
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections 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 ye shall also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. In the which ye also walked sometime, when ye lived in them." (Col. 3:1-7).
The apostle was speaking of the same thing, as he was writing in the Roman letter: "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." (Rom. 6:5) When we are baptized into Christ, we are baptized into his death, we are raised from a watery grave of baptism to walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:3-4) Then we are to seek things above, that means to seek those things which appeal to the spirit, and not to the carnality of man. A man of the world delights in things of the world, but the man of righteousness delights in things of the spirit. In the Ephesian letter, Paul writes: "Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places." (Eph. 1:20) Gave him, as mediator between God and man, the highest honors and dignities, (Phil. 2:9) in which state of exaltation he transacts all the affairs of his church, and rules the universe. The right hand is the place of friendship, honor, confidence and authority.
The writer goes on to say, "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." We get the understanding from the word "affection", that it means a state of mind. Certainly that is why we cannot seek things above, when we are seeking things below! When one is truly converted to God he will not mind the things of the world, for he will be searching for things unseen to satisfy the inward desires, that so fill the heart. Walking by faith, and not by sight is an attribute of the Christian. For if we are dead, that is, dead to paths of sin; we will be seeking things above, and not fulfilling the lust of the flesh. We appeal to the carnal mind on this point. Why do you lust? Ponder it for a while. Can you say that it satisfies your wants. Surely, the answer is no. Lust only calls for the repetition of sin, which is death to the soul.
The writer goes on to speak about the members of our bodies. He says, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry." Webster tells us that mortification is "mortifying or state of being mortified; as subjection to the passions and appetites, by penance, abstinence." To gratify any sensual appetite is to give it the very food and nourishment by which it lives, thrives, and is active. However the body may suffer by excessive sensual indulgences, the appetite increases with the indulgence. In speaking of uncleanness, we turn to the Roman letter, Paul says: "For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature." (Romans 1:26) Their system of idolatry necessarily produced all kinds of immorality. How could it be otherwise, when the highest objects of their worship were adulterers, fornicators, and prostitutes of the most infamous kind, such as Jupiter, Apollo, Mars, Venus. Of the abominable evils with which the apostle charges the Gentile see this and following verse. We could produce a multitude of proofs from their own writings; but it is needless to make the subject plainer than the apostle has left it.
But, if we are to reduce ourselves to the practices of idolatry, then we must cease to seek things above, for they do not go hand in hand with practices of Christianity. The mind must overcome the fleshly appetite, and live above it. It is well to read the book of Romans, and see what stress is put on man that is carnally minded. In one place Paul says that carnality is enmity with God "for which things the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience; in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them." God is angry with such persons, and he inflicts on them the punishment which they deserve.
Finally, in the day of judgment will not the children of disobedience be punished? The second Thessalonian letter will bear this out. "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the present of the Lord, and from the Glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (believe as our testimony among you was believed) in that day." (II Thess. 1:8-10).
C. G. Caldwell, Sr., 1203 S. Green St., Glasgow, Ky., October 17: "The Bellview Church, near Edmonton, recently conducted a ten-day meeting in which I preached. Three were baptized, and one restored. We have had three baptisms at the Glasgow Church recently. Interest and attendance continue to increase from week to week, and our contributions have increased materially over the past few months. Our work here is pleasant, the people are happy, and prospects for the future seem bright indeed."