How To Live For Christ
Look with me at Colossians 2:6-7 today. Here is the overarching point that Paul is making here: Believers are to be fueled and rooted in their understanding of the fullness of what the gospel accomplishes and provides regarding salvation and forgiveness of sin, and this understanding is expressed thru gratitude and worship of the one true God thru how we conduct all of our lives.
In verses 6-7 Paul makes it abundantly clear that believers are called to live in a manner consistent with their faith by constantly growing in their faith and understanding of what He has accomplished on our behalf, ultimately resulting in and being expressed thru gratitude in any and every circumstance.
Paul makes it clear that they have received Christ. I think it is important for us to note what that means. It not only means believing “in” Christ in regards to who He is, but it also involves a commitment to the apostolic teaching about Christ and His significance. Truth about Christ is involved here. Accepting truth about who He is. You cannot separate the two, His person and His work, or truth about who He and what He has accomplished. Can’t have one without the other. Person and work of Christ are to be believed for salvation.
Paul uses many combinations of the terms Jesus, Christ, and Lord in his writings, but he never combines them the way that he does here, and it is significant. Paul is doing this with a purpose. By addressing Christ as “Jesus Christ the Lord”, Paul is connecting what it means to be a Christian with the truth of Christ that he has already developed and shown in Colossians.
What Paul does by stating “Jesus Christ the Lord” is succinctly bring together all that he has stated about Christ thus far: 1:15, 18, 27; 2:2, 3 into one title. Christology is what the doctrine of Christ is referred to. Paul brings everything together here. These are central confessions of who Christ is and they have far-reaching implications for our lives. Truth followed by response to be lived out. Work and person together.
This is who you have received. Reminding them. Not just truth, but truth and response. Whole set of truths that are accepted. Not a buffet where we take this truth and that truth, but not that truth about Christ. We don’t get to make Christ out to be who we want Him to be, or set aside the hard to explain or tough things He said or did and focus on the easy things or sayings. And the response to Christ’s Lordship and Person and Work is total surrender in every area of our lives. That is what Paul refers to when He says “walk”. He said this same thing in 1:10 – everything was to result in a worthy walk, lifestyle, based upon the truth of Christ.
This walk goes way beyond just pragmatic or behavioral terms. It involves living in faith and worship of the true Lord of all in every area of your life. It points to a life of worship based upon who we are in Christ and who He is as Lord. Our confession and our ethic should line up. And Paul explains how this comes into reality in verse 7.
Based upon this truth of Christ, the response is remain where you are – that is what he is saying. Don’t be moved. Conduct your life as a person who has been incorporated into the body and family of Christ, the kingdom of Christ. As believers, Christ is the one and only Lord, and as Lord He establishes our values, guides our thinking, and directs our conduct. In this we will lead lives that are consistent with our confession of Jesus as Lord. Jesus’ Lordship reaches every aspect and area of our lives. Total surrender to a life that leads to His glory and gospel advancement.
And even this Paul does not leave up to us to determine the how or what. This life or walk in Christ is now developed by four phrases that describe what it means to walk or live in Christ as our protection against any false teaching that seeks to add to the fullness of what is ours in Christ, the Lord. This is the “how to” regarding living a life worthy of Christ and not wavering.
- We live lives trusting in the fact that we have been firmly rooted in Christ
- Based upon our being firmly rooted, we are to be built up and grow in respect to Christ
- As we grow in Christ as we have been rooted, we become established in our faith
- The result of our understanding and confidence in Christ will be a life that abounds in gratitude
This is a call for continuous growth in the grace and knowledge of the Savior. Plainly, Christianity is knowing Christ and that new status then working out into every aspect of our lives. We all need to continue to pursue our upward calling for growth in Christ (Phil. 3:12-14). No matter how much we may have grown or understand, we have just barely begun to truly know the fullness of Christ. Seeking maturity.
We saw this in 1:28 – Paul’s desire was to present them as mature and complete in Christ. Takes time. As we dwell in the Word and the Word dwells in us, the Christian is the recipient of God’s work in his or her life. We see here the grace and dependence on the Lord for growth and spiritual change. As we remain in Christ, God does His work in causing us to grow. Again, this is Phil. 2:12-13. We must cooperate and respond, but it is God who is at work in us both to will and to do in us according to His purposes.
Likened to a tree whose roots go really deep. Brings stability to the tree. Ps 1:1-3. Firmly planted thru what? Meditating on God’s Word day and night, constant. Deep roots that provide stability and nourishment.
What we see here for the Colossians and believers today is the call to be sure of our salvation and still be eager to grow up in respect to our salvation. It wasn’t enough to just be saved. They were in Christ, and yet the journey of faith had only begun. Paul wanted to assure them of their settled status as the Lord’s people, but he also wanted to startle them with how little they knew of the One who loved them so much. They lacked maturity, depth. And thus they were unstable. Eph. 4:11-13 stuff – blown around by every wind and wave and trickery of doctrine. What they needed was greater maturity in Christ. Deeper understanding regarding the gospel so they would not be moved away by false teachers.
That is so practical for you and me today. Assurance of salvation should not stunt our desire for growth, but rather should launch our desire for growth in that which we have been saved. That we grow up in respect to our salvation as 1 Peter 2:2. All rooted in a deeper understanding and comprehension and what it means to be saved. Child of God. Ransomed, redeemed, adopted.
But our deeper understanding of the gospel does another work in our lives that we have seen everywhere in Scripture, and it is thankfulness. Six times in this short letter that centers our thoughts on the fullness of Christ and our completeness in Him, there is the emphasis on “thankfulness” (1:3, 12; 2:7, 3:15, 16; 4:2). Thankfulness and gratitude are always the marks of a mature believer. Lack of these are always the marks of immaturity on some level. Lack of true understanding of the gospel and what it means to be saved.
The tense here in the Greek with regards to thankfulness is such that it teaches that this is our responsibility. Command to be thankful, as a response to seeing who Christ is and what He has done on our behalf. Go back to the truth of Christ that you were taught and dwell there and let God do His work as you dwell on truth. Dig deeper into the gospel and your salvation.
Thankfulness takes our thoughts away from our circumstances and accomplishments and ourselves and instead focuses our thoughts on Christ and His accomplishments that our circumstances cannot touch.
Thankfulness is a tremendous weapon against Satan and his attacks. Agreed? Huge offensive weapon, and it is fueled by truth, brought about thru truth of Christ and His work and who we are in Christ. It parallels satisfaction. That we would be satisfied thru our understanding of Christ’s work that false teaching would have zero appeal to us. Maturity, complete in Christ. He and His work are preeminent. And that touches and impacts every area of our lives.
No matter what life may bring, we have in Christ a constant source of thankfulness because of what Christ brings to the situation, that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39) and that God is at work in whatever we face to “conform us to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29) and Gen. 50:20 that the event may have been meant for evil, but God used it for ultimate good.
We can be thankful because of a sovereign and good God, even “in” and “for” all things as Eph. 5:20 and 1 Thess. 5:18 command. We can rejoice even in our sufferings as we saw because of what God is doing sovereignly thru them, both in us and those around us, advancing the gospel.
Because of that and so much more, believers are called to live in a manner worthy of their position in Christ, and this is done by going deep into the truth of who Christ is and who we are in Him. As we grow in Christ and truth, we become mature, sturdy, steadfast, able to abound in thankfulness in and for all things because of who Christ is and what He has accomplished.
May this be us at TCO to the glory of God. Always growing. Always thankful.