(February 23, 1964 P.M.)
Will you please turn to the Letter to the
Colossians, chapter three, verses one through four.
"If ye then be risen with Christ." That
is how our translation puts it. But, literally, it ought
to be in the form of a question. The question is: Have ye
been risen with Christ? Have ye really risen with Christ?
The apostle says that when Christ died, we all died in
Him. Before God, in the death of the Lord Jesus, all have
died. And before God, the only ones who are really alive
are those who have risen with Christ. What was history in
the case of the Lord Jesus has to be experienced in the
case of men. It is an historic fact that Jesus died and
rose again. That is history. What is history in the case
of Jesus must become experience in the case of believers.
Notice the change in the way in which the apostle puts
this. He does not ask any question as to the death side.
He states that as a fact. He simply says, "You
died." But he puts a question on the other side, and
he says, "Have you been raised with Christ? Before
God, you are really dead by the death of Christ, but are
you sure that you are raised in the resurrection of
Well, he puts that in the form of a
question, and then he goes on to answer the question, and
what follows in this chapter is the answer. He is talking
now about "Risen-ones," and he is stating what
Risen-ones do, what their position is. In the first
place: RISEN-ONES ARE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF CONDEMNATION,
JUDGMENT, AND DEATH. Condemnation, judgment, and death
lie behind the Risen-ones. "There is therefore
now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. The
law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus had made me
free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 8:1,2;
ASV). That is the position of Risen-ones. Well, we can
bring the question alongside of that. In view of
condemnation, judgment, death, have you been "raised
together with Christ?" That is the first blessing of
Risen-ones. The question is: Are you enjoying that
blessing, the blessing of condemnation, judgment, and
death BEING BEHIND YOU, no longer in front of you?
That is the position of Risen-ones.
thing that the apostle says about RISEN-ONES IS THAT
CHRIST IS THEIR LIFE. "When Christ, Who is our
life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with Him be
manifested in glory" (Col. 3:4; ASV). Christ,
our Life! The Risen-ones are those who have Christ as
their Life. What was history with Him has to be
experienced in believers in the matter of Life! Christ is
the Life of our inner man. We know that Christ is Life
within us. He is the very Life of our spirit. He is the
Life of our mind. This apostle speaks much about the
renewed mind. Christ as the Life of our new minds gives
us ability to understand what we could never understand
before. The mind has been enlightened, and we now have
spiritual understanding. We have a new mind. Christ is
the Life of our mind.
is He our Life for our spirit, and our mind, HE IS LIFE
FOR OUR BODIES. "If the Spirit of Him
That raised up Jesus from the dead be in you, He That
raised up Christ Jesus from the dead shall also quicken
your mortal bodies" (Rom. 8:11). There is such a
thing as Divine Life for our bodies now, and not only in
the great resurrection from the dead. The Word is Christ
Who is our Life, and not Christ Who is going to be our
Life some day - Christ is our Life now. There is such a
thing as Christ being our Life in these mortal bodies
does not mean that we never know anything about sickness,
it does not mean that He always miraculously heals us of
our sickness. But in these mortal bodies, He is Life to
help us go on. We come back from many of our sicknesses
because the Life of the Lord is in us, and we go on in
spite of our own physical weakness by the strength of His
Life. This is the heritage of Risen-ones. And the apostle
asks the question again against that: 'Are you risen with
Christ? Do you know Christ as the Life of your inward
man? Do you know Christ as the Life of your new mind? And
do you know Christ as the energy even of your dying
body?' This is what Risen-ones ought to know.
apostle goes on to speak about THE CONDUCT OF
RISEN-ONES:- Firstly, the position of Risen-ones, and
then the life of Risen-ones, and then the conduct of
Risen-ones. What do Risen-ones do? Verse five says this: "Put
to death therefore your members which are upon the
earth." And what does he mean by that? He uses a
lot of words to explain that. The first word is
"Fornication." Risen-ones put to death
fornication. A Risen-one does not live in fornication.
The second word is "Uncleanness." A Risen-one
does not live in uncleanness. The third word is "Passion."
A Risen-one does not live in passion. The next thing
is "Evil Desire." A Risen-one does not live in
evil desire. And, then, the last word is
"Covetousness." And the apostle says,
'Covetousness is idolatry, that is, a life of wanting
everything for yourself.' A Risen-one does not live in
gives us another list of why THE RISEN-ONES ARE VERY
DIFFERENT PEOPLE. Verse eight: "Put ye away also
all these things," put away "Anger."
Risen-ones do not live in anger. Put away
"Wrath," put away "Malice," Put away
"Railing," put away "Shameful Speaking out
of your mouth: lie not one to another." Why? Because
"You have put off the old man." All
that belongs to the old man went into the grave with the
Lord Jesus. And Risen-ones leave the old man just where
the Lord has put him: IN THE GRAVE.
apostle says: "You have put on the new
man." And the new man is the Risen-man. This is
the conduct of Risen-ones. I want you to notice,
especially, verse eleven. In this new man, the apostle
says, "There cannot be Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian,
bondman, freeman; but Christ is all, and in all" (ASV).
You notice the different classes that the apostle
mentions? There are national differences - Greek, Jew,
Barbarian, Scythian. These are different nationalities.
Of course, we could add a lot more to that and we could
say, British, Chinese, Indian, African, American. And the
apostle says, in Risen-ones, there are none of these. If
you are taking account of national differences, you
belong to the other side of the grave. If you say, 'Well,
you see, he's only an Englishman.' Or if you say, 'Well,
he's only an African.' 'Well, you see, he's only an
American' - you are contradicting the fundamental reality
of the Risen-ones. Paul says there can be none of this in
all, CHRIST IS ALL FOR RISEN-ONES. Christ is all and the
only One. And then he says, "And Christ is in
all." Oh, what does that mean? A Jew, a Greek, a
Barbarian, a Scythian, an American, a Chinese, an
Englishman, if they belong to the Lord, Christ is in
every one of them. If they are Risen-ones, Christ is in
all. And we are not to know them on national grounds: We
are only to know them on Christ ground.
apostle marks another distinction. He says, "bondman,
freeman." These are the people who are of
a high social standard and others of a low social
standard. These are the masters and these are the
servants. Paul says, "In the Risen-ones, there is no
such distinction." Risen-ones are not governed by
social distinction. The superior ones do not look down
upon the inferior ones in Christ, and the inferior ones
do not hate the superior ones. We are all one man in
Christ Jesus. Christ is all, and in all.
must close with just one more thing. WHAT IS THE LIFE
OBJECT OF RISEN-ONES? The answer comes right at the
beginning of the chapter. Are you risen with Christ? You
will prove that you are by this! - you will seek those
things which are above, where Christ is. You will not set
your minds on things on the earth. All your interests
will be centered in Christ in heaven. Of course, you will
have business interests, but you will make your business
serve Christ. You will say about your business, 'This is
not to be my slave, this has got to serve the Lord
Jesus.' You will have family interests, but you will say,
'My family interests have got to serve the Lord Jesus.'
You will have social interests, that is, you will have
friends, but your friends must come along the way of the
Lord Jesus. Those with whom you make your friends,
must be the friends of Jesus. So Risen-ones will have
everything centered in Christ.
or later, dear friends, you and I will leave this earth.
With some of us, it looks as though it is going to be
later. We are getting old, but we are certainly going to
leave this earth. The youngest one here cannot say that
he or she is going to get old. By some sickness, or by
some accident, you may leave this earth early in life.
But whether it be sooner or a little later, or
quite late, we are all going to leave this earth. Then
what matters? What is the thing that matters when that
comes about? The thing that is going to matter for
all eternity is how much of Christ was there in us while
we were here? The young ones must say, 'As a Risen-one
with Christ, I am going to have as much of Christ as
possible.' And they must say, 'Christ is going to have as
much of me as possible.' Christ must be all, and that
applies to the middle-age, and it applies to the old-age.
The big question in eternity will be: 'How much of Christ
was there in us while we were in this world?' Paul says,
'It is not this or that, but Christ is all, and in all.'
That is what it means to be Risen-ones.
against all that, he says, 'Are you risen with Christ?
Are there all these evidences in your life that you have
been raised together with Christ? Is Christ your Life? Is
your heart set upon things of Christ? Are you behaving
like Risen-ones? Is Christ all, and in all?' These are
the evidences of our being risen together with Christ.