Monday, June 24, 2019
Died and Gone to Heaven
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:1-4).
In general, folks who move to Idaho adopt our values and attitudes. They shrug off their suits and ties, pull on Levis, flannel shirts and hiking boots and get into our mind set and lifestyle. In the same way, Paul insists, you who are identified with Christ have died and are now seated with him in "Heavenly places" (Ephesians 2:6). So act and think like you’re living there!
This idea, or so I think, is the thought behind Paul's prayer, "that I may attain to the resurrection of the dead," i.e., "that I may live as though I have been raised from the dead and am now this day in Heaven" (Philippians 3:10). Furthermore, it is an essential part of our Lord's Prayer: that God's moral will may be done "on earth as it is in Heaven."
Whether we understand this concept or not (probably not), the point is that we can and should manifest in this present age the attitudes—what Paul calls “setting your minds on things that are above”—and the behaviors of the age to come, bring Heaven to earth, if you will, something we can do as God “renews” us and informs us by his grace (Colossians 3:10).
(The tense of the verb "renews" posits an ongoing process. The mood of the verb is passive and suggests something that's done to us and not something we're doing to ourselves. It is God who works in us, giving us the desire and the ability to do his will. Our "work" is to ask for it.)
Imagine a household in which family members reflect the attitudes and actions of the age to come, where compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, tolerance, forgiveness, tranquility, gratitude and love abound (Colossians 3:12,13). Would that not be Heaven on earth?