Once again, William Kelly cuts to the heart of the matter. I am ashamed how accurately this describes me:
It is not merely that we shall die and rise, but that we are dead and risen. Even many Christians who use the words constantly, do not really enter into the meaning of this language, and for the obvious and sufficient reason: they are not living in the truth of it practically. They are too habitually mixed up with the world to understand such absolute separation from it. It is not that they are dull of understanding in the things and interests of nature. But their speech and their ways betray them, proving how far they are from intelligence of the Scripture itself. They substitute mysticism for the truth. – William Kelly, The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians, Lecture 3 (last checked 2014-11-22).
A few paragraphs later he adds:
Moreover, there is added a remarkable statement of the reason why we should have our mind upon things above — "for ye have died." It is not moralizing, like men, even heathen that we have to die, but the fundamental Christian truth that we are dead. All mystics, old or new, have, as their object, to die. Hence it is a dwelling upon inward experience and human effort — the endeavour to crucify themselves — not "I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God." "They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts." What was suitable for a Jew, so far from being necessarily for a Christian, is on this side of the cross; our foundation is Christ who is dead and risen. The fact that a thing is in the Bible does not warrant the conclusion that it is God's will for the Christian. We must seek rightly to divide the word of truth. What was formerly right for the Jews is for us nothing but the elements of the world. These forms pointed to a reality that is now come; the body is of Christ. The blessed portion of a Christian is, that he is dead even to the best things in the world, and alive to the highest things in the presence of God; for Christ is his life. – William Kelly, The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians, Lecture 3 (last checked 2014-11-22).