Sketch by Patrick Murphy: http://inspiredsketch.blogspot.com/
When Paul says, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature,” he assumes that “you died,” and also, “you died with Christ” (Col. 2:20; 3:3, 5). We cannot put to death unless we are already dead. Paul is not giving a command with the expectation that we fulfill it. He is asking us to believe in what Christ has already fulfilled. He is commanding us, as we live day to day in the world, to remain above, where we are already dead in Christ, hidden in Christ, raised in Christ; to remain where old things—immorality, evil desires, covetousness, and the other things he lists—have passed away and all things have become new (2 Cor. 5:17). Romans 8:13 is a good companion scripture: “[F]or if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.” As we remain in Christ, the Spirit is released to realize the death of Christ in our bodies.
–Excerpted from my booklet, “Reflections on Colossians 3“