Week 7: Colossians 3:1-11
Faith in Jesus Christ transforms us. When we first believe the message of the gospel, we are changed. We become a new creation. The old self is crucified with Christ and a new life begins. Why then do we still struggle with sin? And how can we win that battle? Paul directs us in Colossians 3 to let the truth of our new life in Christ change us from the inside out. We have already been given new life. Now let it grow and let it show. This ongoing process of inside-out transformation requires setting our hearts and our minds on things above. It continues by putting to death the remnants of the old self and allowing God to renew us in his image. Allowing the Holy Spirit who lives in us to mature us in Christ will impact our relationships, how we think about our resources, the way we behave, the way we serve, and our response to suffering. This is not just a little fix up of our old selves. It’s a total renovation, powered by the same God who raised Jesus from the dead.
Can you think of a time when a significant change took place in your life (graduation, marriage, new job, or promotion) but you weren’t sure that you were up to the challenge?
Getting into the Text:
1. (Colossians 2:11-13 and 2 Corinthians 5:17) Paul’s words in Colossians 3 are built upon the foundational truth that we have spiritually died and been resurrected with Christ. What does this mean? What aspects of our transformation in Christ are a one-time thing and not an ongoing process?
2. (Colossians 3:1-4) What are the ‘things above’ that Paul is directing us to seek and set our minds on? Why do you think Paul draws attention to Christ seated at the right hand of God (a position of authority), to the security of our salvation (a treasure safely hidden with Christ), and to our future appearance with Christ in glory? What do these things have to do with what we seek and set our minds on?
3. (Colossians 3:5-10) Does the language here indicate a sudden or a gradual transformation from old self to new self? What does it mean in verse 10 that this new self (and not the old self) is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator? How is this similar in some ways to a baby being born or a new marriage? Who does the renewing? (See also Romans 8:11.)
4. (Colossians 2:23, 3:5, and 3:8-9) Note the contrast Paul makes between the ineffectiveness of will-power and rule-following vs. the power of the inside-out transformation that new life in Christ brings. What actions or thinking does Paul highlight here as relics of the old life? How is the new life in Christ a major advantage when trying to address these earthly habits and practices?
1. In what ways is God challenging you to set your heart and mind on higher things right now?
2. Which of the aspects of the old life do you need to put to death as you increase your attention on the things above?