If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Recall in Colossians 2:11-12, Paul states that we have received a “circumcision without hands.” In the Old Testament, circumcision was a covenant sign ordained by God to set his people apart. This old covenant circumcision was performed “with hands,” and for this reason, it is obsolete. It was fleshly and worldly, it was from below and not above. This old covenant sign, like many rites and rituals, was a shadow pointing to a greater reality. In the new covenant, circumcision is not performed by hands or upon flesh, instead, it is performed in Christ by the Spirit of God.
Therefore, any Colossian who had sympathies for the old covenant rites and rituals would be pursuing a false assurance of salvation. Because to pursue any old covenant ritual, is to set one’s minds on earthly things. However, it is not just the old covenant rites, but anything within the old creation, anything that involves sinful human hands has no chance of bringing one closer to God. God alone must do it; he alone is able to work salvation for his people.
Paul again emphasizes that we have died with Christ in his burial. Now, certainly, we have not died physically. Yet, we have certainly died spiritually, freeing us from the bondage of sin. This is why we are able to be hidden with Christ in God. Consider Genesis 3:15, after eating of the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve hid from God. They hid out of fear because they had disobeyed God’s command. Yet thanks be to Christ that we are not hidden in figs, but in God. Furthermore, in Revelation 6:15-16, we’re told of the devastation and fear that will come for all those who are not hidden with Christ—how they will cry out for rocks to fall upon them in order to be hidden from the wrath of the Lamb. As Christians, we will not see the wrath of Christ, instead, we will see our life—our resurrected bodies. No longer will there be a struggle between our flesh and the Spirit, rather, we will be like Christ, loving God in perfection and perpetual obedience. Paul exhorts us to set our minds on heavenly things, however, when Christ returns with our new bodies, our minds will be filled with them.