“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.



“If ye then be risen with Christ,”
Literally:  “If then you were raised with Christ”—Seeing then that ye were risen with Christ; this refers to what Paul had previously said, (2:12). Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him. Therefore, you have most received the Doctrine of Christ; and profess to be partakers of a spiritual faith that promises spiritual and eternal things; seek those things, and look to be prepared for the enjoyment of them.

         Paul in this place evidently founds this argument on what he had said in chapter 2 (2:12); that there was such an union between Christ and His people, that through His death they become dead to sin; and that by virtue of His resurrection they rise to spiritual life; and that therefore, as Christ now lives in heaven, they should live for heaven, and fix their affections there on.
       The point that Paul is making here is that in baptism, Christians die and rise again.  As the water closes over them, it is as if they were buried in death;  as they emerge from the water, it is like being resurrected to a new life.  Now if that is so, then Christians must rise from baptism as different men and women.  The difference lies in the fact that now their thought should be set on things which are above.  They can no longer be concerned with the trivial passing things of earth–they must be totally concerned with the eternal truths of heaven.

        IF…THEN:  (Grk.–Ei…oun)–The connection with 2:18, 23, is that Paul had condemned the “fleshly mind” and the “satiating to the full the flesh.”  In contrast to this he now says, “If then ye have been once for all raised up (Greek, aorist tensemeaning a one time past event; never to be repeated) together with Christ” (namely, at your conversion and baptism, Rom. 6:4).


A Believer Should Seek the Upward Things

“seek those things which are above,”
Literally: “seek the upward things”—(cf. Phil. 3:14), the “treasure in heaven” (Matt. 6:20).

That is, seek them as the objects of pursuit and affection; strive to secure them. “The things that are above.” Paul gives this ideal and goal in place of merely ascetic rules.

        SEEK:  (Grk.–zēteite)–Literally:  “search or look for; strive for; seek.”  Present-perfect tense, denote a continual seeking.

1.      The better and heavenly country, the continuing city, which is above the heavens, whose builder and maker is God;
2.      Christ, who is in heaven, and salvation alone by Him without the works of the Law;
3.      All spiritual blessings, such as pardon, peace, righteousness, life, and glory, which are in heavenly places in Him.
4.      Doctrines and ordinances, which come from heaven, and are the means of supporting a spiritual and heavenly life;
5.     That bread of life which came down from heaven, and gives life unto the world, and of which if a man eats, he shall never die, but live forever;
6.      And particularly glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life,
7.      The Crown of Righteousness laid up above.

A Believer Shoud Seek the Place where Christ is Seated

“where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God”|
Literally:  “where Christ is sitting at {the} right of God”—The word “is” must be taken separately; so this is to read, “where Christ is, seated…” The argument here is, that since Christ is there, and since He is the object of our supreme attachment, we should fix our affections on heavenly things, and seek to be prepared to dwell with Him. 

1.      Believers should seek Him as the Magi did.
2.      Believers should seek Him in Whom all of the truths of their positional acceptance is found.
         That Christ was exalted, and constantly sits at God’s right hand shows that His redemptive work was finished

        “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9).
        “Who, being the brightness of {His} glory, and the express image of His Person, and upholding all things by the Word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;”
       “But this Man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God:”
(Heb. 1:3; 10:12).

         Which contains other reasons and arguments to engage believers to look upwards, and seek after heavenly things; that as Christ, when He died and rose again from the dead, did not stay long on earth, nor minded the things of the world, but ascended up to heaven, where He now is, and will remain until His second coming; so they, being dead and risen with Him, should, in their thoughts, desires, and affections, in the exercise of the graces of faith, hope, and love, ascend heavenwards, like pillars of smoke perfumed with frankincense; and the more should their hearts be where He is, and intent on things above there, from the consideration of that great honor and dignity in which He is. He is “on the right hand of God;” in human nature, an honor which none of the angels were ever admitted to: here He sits, as having done the work of redemption, and entered into His rest, beholding the travail of His soul with satisfaction, though He continues to be an advocate, and to make intercession for His people; which is another reason enforcing this exhortation.
Head being quickened, the members are also quickened with Him. Where the Head is, there the members must be. The contrast is between the believer's former state, alive to the world but dead to God, and his present state, dead to the world but alive to God; and between the earthly abode of the unbeliever and the heavenly abode of the believer (I Cor. 15:47-48). We are already seated there in Him as our Head; and hereafter shall be seated by Him, as the Bestower of our bliss. As Elisha (II Kings 2:2) said to Elijah when about to ascend, “As the Lord liveth … I will not leave thee;”  so we must follow the ascended Savior. We should subdue our lusts that our conversation may correspond to our Savior's condition.


“Set your affection on things which are above, not on things on the earth.”

The believer should think “on things above”
         “Set your affection on things which are above”
         Literally:  “mind the things above”—This admonition really deals more with the mind, than with the feelings.   
         Keep on thinking about. It does matter what we think and we are responsible for our thoughts. Be mindful of;
think (comp. Phil. 3:19-20). 

        MIND:  (Grk.–phroneite)–Literally:  “keep on thinking.”  Whereas the first charge (seek) deals with the will and active pursuit, the second charge refers to the mind.  The word signifies to mind them, and think on them, to favor and approve of them, to be affectionately desirous of them, and concerned for them. Paul here may have had in mind a marathon runner who is thinking about the race as he attempts to cross the finish line first.  The seeking and the thinking should occur simultaneously.

         Love heavenly things; study them; let your hearts be entirely engrossed by them.  Now, that you are converted to God, act in reference to heavenly things as you formerly did to those of earth; and vice versa.  Here is a good general rule: “Be as much in earnest for heavenly and eternal things, as you formerly were for those that are earthly and perishing.”

         The thoughts should be occupied about the things where Christ now dwells, where our final home is to be, where our great interests are. Since we are raised from the death of sin, and are made to live anew, the great object of our contemplation should be the heavenly world. Unless the affections are set on them, they will never be sought after in a proper manner.

The believer should NOT think “on things on earth”

“not on things on the earth.”
Literally:  “not the things on the earth–Paul does not mean that we should never think of the  things upon the earth, but that these should not be our
aim, our goal, our Master.  

         Not mind earth and earthly things, temporal enjoyments, riches, and honors; and though food and raiment, and the necessities of life, are to be sought after, and cared and provided for, yet not with anxiety and perplexity of mind, in an over thoughtful and distressing manner; nor should the heart be set on those outward things, or happiness placed in the possession of them.

         The Christian is to keep his feet upon the earth, but his head in the heavens. He must be heavenly-minded here on earth and so help to make earth like heaven.  Wealth, honor, pleasure. Our affections should not be fixed on houses and lands; on scenes of fashion and gaiety; on low and debasing enjoyments.


Worldly lusts are to be denied, the deeds of the body are to be mortified, carnal desires are not to be gratified and indulged.  Provision is NOT to be made for the flesh: to fulfill its lusts. 

The primary interpretation and application here are to the intellectual, legalistic and ascetic regulations imposed by the Gnostic Jewish teachers, and particularly the vain philosophy of Jews and Gentiles, the traditions of the elders, the ceremonies of the Law, which lay in earthly things; keeping of days, months, and years, new moons, feasts, and sabbath days; the commandments and doctrines which were of the earth, and lay in not touching, tasting, and handling certain things that are on earth.


“For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God”

REASON #1:  The Believer Died in Christ

“For ye are dead”
Literally:  “for you died”–To all hopes of happiness from the present world; and, according to your profession, should feel no more appetite for the things of this life, than he does whose soul is departed into the invisible state.

         The Greek aorist tense implies, “For ye have died once for all” (2:12; Rom. 6:4-7). It is not said, You must die practically to the world in order to become dead with Christ; but the latter is assumed as once for all having already taken place in the regeneration; what believers are told is, Develop this spiritual life in practice. No one longs for eternal, incorruptible, and immortal life, unless he be wearied of this temporal, corruptible, and mortal life.

  1. Dead to your former life of sin. Your new life to which you have risen in Christ through faith. This life comprehends both the present spiritual life of the soul and the glorious resurrection life of which it is the earnest; for both together constitute that one everlasting life, the beginning of which all who believe in Christ has as a present possession. John 3:36; 5:24; 6:40, 54; I John 5:13.
  2. Dead to the world; dead to sin; dead to earthly pleasures. On the meaning of the word dead, The idea of the apostle is, that as Christ became literally dead in the tomb, so we, in virtue of our connection with him, have become dead to sin, to worldly influences, pleasures, and ambition. Or, in other words, we are to be to them as if we were dead, and they had no more influence over us than the things of earth had over him in the grave.
  3. Not dead in a natural or physical sense, for they were living in the world; nor in a moral sense, for though they had been dead in sins, they were quickened by the grace of God; nor in a legal sense, for all their trespasses were forgiven them; but they were dead to the law, moral, ceremonial, and judicial, by the body of Christ; and to sin, as to its damning power, through his bearing it in his own body on the tree; and to the world by his cross: and therefore as dead men have nothing to do with the world, and the things of it, so believers being dead with Christ, should have no regard to the rudiments of the world, the ceremonies of the law, and the ordinances of men; to worldly lusts, and to the things that are in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; but should be dead as to their desires after, affections for, and subjection to these things

         To be dead to a thing is a strong expression denoting that it has no influence over us. A man that is dead is uninfluenced and unaffected by the affairs of this life. He is insensible to sounds, and tastes, and pleasures; to the hum of business, to the voice of friendship, and to all the scenes of commerce, gaiety, and ambition. When it is said, therefore, that a Christian is dead to sin, the sense is, that it has lost its influence over him; he is not subject to it; he is in regard to that, as the man in the grave is to the busy scenes and cares of this life. The expression is not infrequent in the New Testament. “For I am dead to the law” (Gal. 2:19).
         Paul does not attempt to prove that Christians are thus dead, nor to state in what way they become so. He assumes the fact without argument. ALL Christians are thus, in fact, dead to sin.  They do not live to sin; nor has sin dominion over them. The expression used here by the apostle is common in all languages. We familiarly speak of a man's being dead to sensual pleasures, to ambition, etc., to denote that they have lost their influence over him.

REASON #2:  The Life of the  Believer is Hid with Christ

“your life is hid with Christ in God”
Literally:  “your life has been hidden with Christ in God”—To hide, remains concealed, locked “together with” Christ, “in” God.  No hellish burglar can break that combination.   There is still life. Though dead to one class of objects, you are alive to others (comp. Gal. 2:20).

         Christ is your treasure; and where your treasure is, there is your heart.  Christ is the life of your souls; and as He is hidden in the bosom of the Father, so are you, who live through and in Him.

         The language here is taken probably from treasure which is “hid” or concealed in a place of security; and the idea is, that eternal life is an invaluable jewel or treasure, which is laid up with Christ in heaven where God is. There it is safely deposited.  With one who can “keep that which we have committed to him against that day;” (II Tim. 12). Our eternal life, therefore, is as secure as it could possibly be made.
         It is not only with Christ, where it is secure enough, but it is with Christ “in God.”  Christ is in God, the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father; they are One in nature (a tri-unity), and this union between them, which is natural and perfect, is the foundation of the security both of the persons, and of the life, spiritual and eternal, of God's elect. Moreover, this life itself is in God.  Not only our natural life is in Him; we live and move, and have our being in Him; but our spiritual and eternal life: He is the spring of it; it arises originally from Him; it was purposed in Him; it was promised by Him; the scheme of it, or what is called the fellowship of the mystery, was hid in Him; it was given by Him.  He is the fountain of it, and that itself; and therefore the saints can never perish, nor need they fear any enemy.

REASON #3:  Christ is the very Life of the Believer

“When Christ
{Who is} our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in Glory.”

         “When Christ {Who is} our life”–

Literally:  “Whenever Christ our life is revealed”— Christ, who is the Author, and Purchaser, and Preserver of our life–“Jesus saith unto him, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life…” (John 14:6).  Christ is the Bread from heaven which men must eat by faith (John 6:51).  As the living vine, Christ lives out His life through the branches, the believers.

REASON #4:  Christ Shalll Appear from heaven

          WHEN:  (Grk.–hotan)–Literally:  “whenever.”  The fact that of Christ’s return is certain, but its time is indefinite.  Because the believer does not know when this will occur, he must be constantly watching.

“Shall appear”
Literally:  “is revealed”–When Christ, Who is our life, shall be manifested then shall you also with Him be manifested in glory (I Pet. 4:13). The spiritual life our souls have now in Him shall be extended to our bodies (Rom 8:11). 

        SHALL APPEAR:  (Grk.–phanerōthēi)– When Christ comes to judge the world, we will appear with Him in His glory, and in an eternal state of blessedness.  The Greek verb phanerōthēsethe means, “to make visible what is invisible.” 

What Paul is really saying is that the real position of the believer, which has been hidden to the world, will be made know.  Glory comes from the total transformation of the person as is evidenced in the immortal and incorruptible  body, not from outward conformity to earthly laws.  Because of his total belief in this, Paul could boast:  “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).

Christ is:
1.     The Author of all spiritual life, the fountain from whence it originates,
2.     The object on which the believers live,
         a.      He is their very life itself.
         b.      He is their eternal life.
                 The believer's eternal life is in Him
                (1)   Given forth by Him;
                (2)   To know Him now is the beginning of it;
                (3)   Its perfection hereafter will lie in the vision of Him,
               (4)   Communion with him,
               (5)   Conformity to him.
From this standpoint it becomes logical for a believer to look up, rather than to look down or around.

REASON #5:  The Glorification of the Believer will Occur in Heaven

“then shall ye also appear with Him in Glory.”
Literally:  “then you will be revealed with Him in glory”–Then–and not until then. Those err who think to find a perfect Church before then. The true Church is now militant.

         Rome errs in trying to set up a Church that is now regal and triumphant. The True Church shall be visible as a perfect and reigning Church, when Christ shall be visibly manifested as her reigning Head. Rome, having ceased to look for Him in patient faith, has set up a visible mock up (or should I say, a “mockery”); a false anticipation of the millennial kingdom. The Papacy took upon itself  (by robbery), that glory which is an object of hope, and can only be reached by bearing the cross now. When the Church became a harlot, (Rev. 17:4-5) she ceased to be a bride who goes to meet her Bridegroom. Hence the millennial kingdom ceased to be looked for by Rome.

When Christ returns,
1.      Christians shall then be raised from the dead.
2.      They shall ascend with the Redeemer to heaven (I Thess. 4:16-17).
3.      The dead bodies of the saints will then be raised and united to their souls, which He will bring with Him.
4.      Living saints will be changed, and caught up together into the clouds with the raised ones.
         a.      To meet the Lord in the air; and,
         b.      So they all shall be with Him together, wherever He is, whether in the air, or on earth, or in heaven, and while He is in either; and ,
         c.      Shall be forever with Him, enjoy communion with Him,
         d.      Shall be made like unto Him, and,
         e.      Shall behold His glory.
5.      Believers shall "appear in glory" also
         a.      With a glory on their bodies, which will be raised in glory like unto the glorious body of Christ;
                  On their souls, being in perfect holiness,

         b.      Appearing in the shining robes of immortality, incorruption, and glory;
                  (1)      Having on the wedding garment, or robe of Christ's righteousness,
                 (2)    Having the glory of God upon them in soul and body, and,
                 (3)    Having such a glory revealed in them, as the sufferings of this present life, and all the enjoyments of it, are not to be compared

All of this will furnish out strong arguments and reasons, enforcing the above exhortations to seek for, and set the affections on things in heaven, and not on earth.