Living Strong In Christ
Colossians 2:6-7 (NKJV)- 6. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7. rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Since the early days of the Christian church, there have been an ongoing and continuous war being waged by the enemies of Christ and His church. We as believers recognize, or should recognize, the focus of this spiritual battle has been and always is, for the control of our minds. It is, and has been, for the control of our understanding, our reasoning, our thinking, and our decision making. This is how the Greek word for "mind" i.e., nous (noos), is defined. Each and every day, we as believers, are bombarded with ideologies, theories, suppositions, inferences and other information, that subtlety and sometimes not so subtle, seek to change our perspective on what we know and believe about Christ, and who we are in Christ.
Paul wrote this letter to the church at Colossi and to the church at Laodicea, during his first two-year imprisonment in Rome. It was one of three letters he wrote at the same time, with the other two letters known as the book of Ephesians and the book of Philemon. In reading this letter, we find that Paul never visited the church, but was informed of their faith by one of its ministers, and Paul praised the church for their faith in Christ and their love for all the saints. He told them that he continually prayed for them. Even though Paul commended the church for their faith, he was asked to address an issue regarding false teachers who were infiltrating the church and denying the deity of Christ. These false teachers were trying to substitute other teachings for the truth of Christ and the gospel. They were promoting their heresies that involved very dangerous philosophies. These philosophies were dangerous to the early church because the church was still in its infancy and still vulnerable to deception by those who wanted to undermine Christ, subvert the gospel, and add their interpretation of how salvation was achieved. In essence, they were teaching Christ, plus something else.
One philosophy stressed the need for believers to observe Old Testament laws and ceremonies (Jewish legalism). Another philosophy involved the worship of angels as mediators to God (mysticism). Another taught that one could purify the spirit by punishing the body (asceticism). Then there was Gnosticism, which emphasized needing special or deeper knowledge to obtain salvation. It was exclusive in that it stressed that special privilege and "perfection" belonged to this philosophical elite. When you read further into chapter 2, you find that it was these four philosophies that were the focus of Paul's letter.
So Paul, in chapter 2, v.4 and v.8, warned the churches not to be fooled or become controlled by these false teachers, and not to be deceived and persuaded that Christ was not the Son of God or our Savior.
Amplified Bible: 2:8- See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men’s ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah).
To combat these false teachers and teachings, Paul had to reinforce and reiterate to the churches exactly who Christ is and what He meant to them as believers. We today also need constant reminding of who Christ is to us, what he means in our lives, and how our lives should reflect Him.
v. 6- as you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.
After Paul commended the Church for their steadfastness in their faith, he went on to provide a most definitive and concise argument on the identity and supremacy of Christ Jesus in salvation over any philosophy, tradition or false teachings. Paul went on to tell us who is Christ Jesus. From verses 15-22, Paul provides seven unique characteristics of Christ which is the foundation of our faith in Him: (v.15) He is the image of God and (2) the firstborn over creation; (v.16-17) He is the creator of and sustainer of the universe; (v. 18) He is Head of the church and the firstborn from the dead; and (v.19-22) He is the fullness of God, and the Reconciler of all things to God. When you know who Jesus is and what His sacrifice on the cross means, you can affirm what Paul says in verse 13 & 14-that God, through Christ...has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Christ), in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
Paul says that by knowing and understanding who Christ Jesus is and what He has done for you regarding your salvation, you have received/accepted Him (received-aroist tense; active voice). Christ offered salvation through His sacrifice and transferred His righteousness to you as the receiver of His gift of salvation. But there is one more action that we as believers had to do when we accepted Christ as Savior, we also had to accept Him as Lord.
When we accepted Christ as Lord, we acknowledged that Jesus Christ is the commander, the chief, and the leader of your life. He is the one who commands us. We are no longer our own, but have been bought with a price, that price being Christ's shed blood on the cross. When you accepted Christ Jesus as your Savior you also accepted Him as Lord. What does that mean? a) You are dependent upon him, in His strength; b) you are in deference to him, for you must always respect him and his Word because he is Lord; c) you are in defense of him, for you uphold the His glory. Paul says that with all you know and understand about Christ Jesus as Savior, and all you understand about Him as Lord, and with your acceptance of Him in your life, and with all that you know about Him in your personal experience with Him, so walk in Him.
Walk- (present tense, active voice, imperative)- to live or behave in a customary manner, with possible focus upon continuity of action; to live, to behave, to go about doing.
Even with all that we see and hear in today's informational age, you can be strong in Christ and avoid being persuaded by others that Christ is not the only way to salvation. How do you remain strong in Christ and not be swayed away from the truth about Christ and who He is in your life. In our text, Paul provides three conditions that will help us remain strong in our walk in Christ.
v.7- rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
Rooted: perfect tense, passive voice- to become strengthened, with focus upon the source of such strength—‘to be strengthened, to be rooted in.
Built up: present tense, passive voice- to strengthen; to build upon; to make more able. To increase the potential of someone or something, with focus upon the process involved. Additional Information: To finish the structure of which the foundation has already been laid, to give constant increase in Christian knowledge and in a life conformed thereto.
Established: present tense, passive voice- stable, settled; to increase in inner strength, with the implication of greater firmness of character or attitude; to receive more inner strength or strengthened in your heart.
passive voice: signifies that the subject is being acted upon; i.e., the subject is the receiver of the verbal action.
Paul says that to live strong in Christ you must: a) continually allow Him to be your strength and remain the focus of your strength; b) continually allow Him make you more able to live strong by His power; and c) continually allow Him to finish the work that He has begun in you. When you allow Him to strengthen you and to build you up, you will be stable and settled in your faith. So much that nothing the world has to offer will ever turn you around from the love of Christ.
Romans 8:35, 38-39- Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?[shall philosophies, ideologies, traditions, or theories]...38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If you live rooted and built up in Him, and established in your faith as you have been and are being taught, here's what the results you can and will be thankful for: Col.1:10-...that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
The battle for your mind never ceases. Be vigilant and watchful of what you allow to settle in your mind. Especially, worldly thoughts pertaining to Christ and your salvation. The message for us today is clear, since we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, let us continue to live and be strong in Him. Amen.