1. Paul is starting to focus on Christian living in this section. Why does he begin with this theological truth?
Christian living is built on this foundation. Because we know that Jesus is raised from the dead, our identification with him becomes real. The idea of being raised with Christ was introduced in 2:12. As we now see this truth, certain behaviour is appropriate to us.
The phrase ‘sitting at the right hand of God’ alludes to Psalm 110 and focuses on the sovereign rule Christ now exercises.
2. What does it mean to set our minds on things above?
The best Christian living comes from minds fixed on heaven. If our lives are hidden with Christ in God, and as Jesus is enthroned in heaven, our thoughts and hearts should be connected to heaven also. In order to seek these things, our minds must be set on them.
3. What is Paul trying to show by saying ‘Christ who is our life’?
This idea is for all believers. Elton John – music is his life or Usain Bolt – athletics is his life. For the Christian, Jesus is our life.
4. How can our understanding of v1-4 help us ‘put to death’ the things listed in v5?
These things are contrary to our identity with Jesus. He wouldn’t walk in any of these sins, and if our identity is in Him too, we won’t either.
5. Why do these sins invite the wrath of God?
The world loves this kind of sinful lifestyle and they don’t come in humility to Jesus. As they continue, it adds to their condemnation.
6. What’s the good news for the Christian?
These sins may mark a world in rebellion against God, but they are in the past tense for the Christian. The Christian should not live like the sons of disobedience. While they can occasionally mark a Christian’s life, they should not be a Christian’s walk.
7. The next list Paul gives seems like a list of ‘little’ sins. What’s the challenge Paul is giving?
Paul is challenging us to put off the old self in every area of our lives. These sins are primarily concerned with what we say. Nevertheless, silences can be just as false and misleading as any words.
8. What does it mean to ‘take off the old self with its practices’?
Paul has shown two high priorities in Christian living – sexual morality and getting along with each other in love. In Jesus, Christians are different people. When we feel compelled to do these things, we need to deal with it like an alien intruder.
9. Who is the ‘new man’ or ‘new self’?
The new man is renewed in knowledge, so is hungry to know what God says in his word.
Paul is alluding to Genesis 1:27 (God created Adam in His own image). Note that the first Adam is viewed as the old man who should be put off and thrown away, because we are now created after the image of the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
The new man is part of a family, which doesn’t favour any race, nationality, class, culture etc. It only favours Jesus, as Christ is all and in all. All the barriers have been broken down.
Pray that we would put sin to death and to put on our new self so that we live with our identity in Jesus.