What does "you have been raised" mean in Colossians 3:1?
Answer: We are DEAD TO GOD outside of Christ.
Colossians 3:1-4: "Therefore if you have been raised up [from spiritual death] with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3For you have [spiritually] died [to the world] and your life is [now] hidden with Christ in God" (emphasis added).
Here, we might compare this to roughly the same words in the previous chapter of the Letter to the Colossians:
Colossians 2:20: "If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world"
Why are we dead?
Because we are ALL sinners, and outside the cleansing blood of Christ we have no hope.
This is why, when we submit to the steps for salvation, we become alive exactly as we are told elsewhere:
Revelation 20:6: "Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection [from DEATH to LIFE through baptism]; over these [Christians], the second death [spiritual death] has no power" (emphasis added).
How can we not understand that we are dead outside the blood of Christ? How can we not recognize that we are raised in NEWNESS OF LIFE through His Sacrifice? (Rom. 6:4). This seems almost trivial, yet it is perhaps one of the most difficult concepts to convey in the Bible to those who refuse to see it! How does this all work?:
Romans 6:3-4: "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (emphasis added).
Simple, right? NO! It seems that very few are willing to accept this.
Paul is making the point that, through baptism [spiritual cleansing], the Christian dies and rises again. As we are submerged in the waters, it is as if we are buried in death. As we emerge from the water it is like being resurrected to a new life.
There is no mystery about this! All the early Christians regarded baptism as a death, burial, and resurrection — yes, to a "newness of life." Many Greeks understood that when a man was buried, they routinely considered him hidden in the earth. Similarly, when the saints had died a spiritual death through baptism, they were not hidden in the earth, but hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3).
It should clearly be observed in this connection that one's having died to sin in Christ is a direct reference to the imperatives of belief, repentance, and confession that Christ is Lord at baptism, thereafter living a life of godliness. It is a monumental tragedy that so few will simply remove the veil blinding them to this obvious, biblical reality.