Sunset Sky

The Gospel Cycle that Kills Sin

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 the things that are above, not on the things that are on the earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)

Called to An Upward Gaze

In these verses, Paul calls Christians to set their minds on the things above. In calling us to an upward gaze, Paul doesn’t mean for us to neglect our earthly responsibilities; instead, he calls us to gaze upward as a means to fight against our fleshly desire for sin. In this way, setting our minds on the things above becomes a gospel-motivation for sanctification.

The Benefits of Union with Christ

As believers, we are united to Christ in the likeness of His death and resurrection. Although our union hasn’t yet resulted in an experiential resurrection, it has resulted in a positional resurrection (Rom. 6:2-11). United with Christ in faith, we are already raised from the dead and seated with Him in the heavenly places. Our current position in Christ allows us, in this life, to enjoy some of the privileges and blessings of the life to come, including a repaired relationship with and access to the Father; true peace, joy, and love; a change in Masters and kingdoms; freedom from the sting of death; and power over sin (Heb. 4:14-16; Col. 1:11-14, 20; 1 Cor. 15:55; Ps 110:1; Eph. 1:15-22; 2:4-7).

A Cycle of Sanctification

As we set our minds on the things above, we are reminded of our freedom from and power over sin, as well as of our future sinless reality. That reminder should motivate us to kill sin in our lives. Killing sin in our lives allows us to experience the blessings and joy of the life to come. As we are experiencing a taste of our life to come, we should be motivated once again to set our minds on the things above, which will start the cycle over again. In this way, we enter into a cycle of sanctification, which is driven by our understanding of the gospel, instead of shame, guilt, or legalism.

The Cycle Illustrated

Gospel Cycle of Sanctification Graphic

Questions for Reflection

  1. Is your sanctification fueled by the truths of the gospel?
  2. Or are you more motivated by shame, guilt, and legalism?
  3. Which motivation do you think will sustain your fight against sin for the long-term?


For additional information see Article Table Talk Magazine, Where to Set Our Minds, March 2nd, 2011,


Quotes from My Readings

Separation of Church and State

The Lord has appointed two kingdoms to govern the affairs of men.

What Are the Two Kingdoms? What Do They Do?

The church administers the sacraments and the Word of God to direct our Father’s children in godliness, while the state bears the sword against injustice and makes laws for the good of all people, regenerate and unregenerate alike (Rom. 13:1-7). Each authority must do its delegated tasks and not try to usurp the authority of the other. The church does not bear the sword, and the state does not administer church discipline.

How Should the Church Interact With and Think of the State?

Nevertheless, on account of the covenant of creation, it is right for the church to expect the state to honor life and bear the sword justly, and it is the responsibility of the church to be a prophetic witness against the state when it fails in these duties.

In this day and age, there is a great temptation for the church in the United States to think that its mission is coextensive with the platform of one or more of the political parties in this country. Yet while we must never be guilty of this error, it does not follow that the church is to be silent on current policies that violate God’s natural law. The state must ever be reminded that it is under the authority of God and the laws He has established in nature.

Question for Reflection

  1. How do you think of and apply the separation of church and state?


Table Talk MagazineCreation Ordinances, February 28, 2011 (headings mine)