406. On Colossians 2:6-15. A Reading for 24 July 2022. 

I remember reading decades ago that the famous Chinese Christian writer Watchman Nee wrote something like this, “When I am reading the Bible and come to a “therefore”, I stop and try to see what the “therefore” is there for, and every time I get a blessing.” As we have noted in previous articles, Paul’s ethics are built on his theology, for true behaviour stems from true belief.

A true belief behaves itself truly. In other words, what Watchmen Nee was saying was that Paul’s “therefores” mark the distinction in his writings from the truths about the person and work of Jesus, and the ethical demands those truths place upon Christ’s followers. 

Paul’s ethical exhortations are never simply plucked out of the air but rather follow on from the truths he has been previously expounding. “This is what Christ has done, therefore this is how you are meant to respond.” That is the case in this passage as well.  As verse 6 says, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.” We bring out the implications of that below. 

A]. OUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S GRACE TO US IN CHRIST 2:6-8.

1.  Walking in step with Jesus. 2:6.

6, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.” 

“Receiving” Jesus is the same as believing in Him. This is seen in John 1:12, where John wrote, “But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.” Now that they belonged to the people of God they were to walk in His ways. 

Jesus saw that following Him meant walking in the light He had come to bring.  “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12. And in John 12:35, “So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going.” 

The Christian life is a life lived in fellowship with Him, walking with Him in His way.

 2.   Living in union with Jesus. 2:7

The Christian is seen to be in union with Christ as Paul explains in 2:7, they were “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” “Rooted” is a perfect participle denoting the security of the believer in Christ. “Built up” is a present participle denoting the growth helping them to become more established in the faith. Thus there was a need for abundant thanksgiving on their part. All we can actually give to God is our praise and thanksgiving as we offer Him all we are and have!

  3.  Living while being focussed on Jesus. 2:8.

The Colossian believers had been exposed to false teaching that did not give Jesus His rightful place. So Paul warned them, 8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.“ The phrase to “take captive” is from [sylagōgeō; συλαγωγέω] meaning to carry away as a captive or to lead away from the truth. False doctrine has that tendency to confuse and to weaken one’s faith. Their solution was to maintain their hold on Christ and not to look for anything adfitional apart from Him.

B}. WHAT WE HAVE IN JESUS. 2:9-15

Paul now adds a wonderful exposition of the truths about Jesus and our relationship with Him. 

1. Christ fills us with His fulness. 2:9-10

It is obvious that any sense of fulness must exist in God alone from whom all things derive and exist. But that fulness exists also in Christ, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” 2:9. The amazing truth is that believers are also filled with that fulness, “and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. “2:10.

What Paul is saying is that believers have all they need in Christ and need not look to any other source to be filled as they seek to live for Him! 

2. Christ sets us free to live for Him. 2:11-12.

Their baptism had signified a deep spiritual truth, namely that they had undergone a spiritual circumcision in being baptised into Christ and into His circumcision. It was as if they had put off the body of the flesh nature as they rose with Him in baptism. “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12, having been buried with him in baptism.“ 2:11-12. They were now free to live as they should.

 3.  Christ gives us victory over sin and makes us spiritually alive. 2:12b-15.

Raised from death to life in Christ. 2:12-13a, In which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13, And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him.”

The significance of Christ being raised from the dead meant that as those who were raised with Him through our faith-union, we too were made alive in Him. 

     4. Forgiven through Christ’s death. 2:13b-14.

Christian believers in every generation have been forgiven of the penalty for all their sins. How? Because Christ bore the penalty for all our sins in His death on the cross. 13b, “having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14, by cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” 2:13b-14. The condemnation of the law had been fulfilled through Christ’s death and believers could now live under the grace of God.

     5. Christ sets us free from the powers of darkness. 2:15.

Set free from the past, but how can we cope with the pressures of the present and the future? By realising that when Christ died and rose again, we too were raised to share in His victory, “He disarmed [NOTE 1] the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame [NOTE 2], by triumphing over them in him.” 2:15. 

The cross declared outwardly Christ’s victory. He “disarmed” His opponents whilst leaving them alive but weakened in power.

The picture of Christ on the cross was not a sign of Christ’s weakness. Rather it was a glorious public sign that the powers of darkness had been broken and that Christian believers now could have victory in Christ. 

SUMMING UP.

This whole passage is centred on Christ, His Person and His work! In His Person He is shown to be filled with the fulness of God and thus is equal to the Father in the godhead!

His work involved becoming the Saviour for sinners by bearing in His own body the penalty for the sins of the world.  Through their faith-union with Christ they can now walk in victory knowing their sins are forgiven, they are rooted in Christ and can have victory over all the powers of darkness. 

IT IS ALL OURS, BECAUSE THEY ARE OURS IN HIM!

——————————————————————————

NOTE 1]. “Disarm” [apekdyomai; ἀπεκδύομαι] means to put off or despoil. 

NOTE 2]. “Open shame” is [deigmatizō; deigmatizō] means to make an example of, to show as an example. 

Blog No.406 posted on Sunday 03 July 2022.

About Jim Holbeck

Once an Industrial Chemist working for the Queensland Government but later an Anglican minister in Brisbane, Armidale and Sydney. Last position for eighteen years before retirement in 2006 was as the Leader of the Healing Ministry at St Andrew's Cathedral Sydney.
This entry was posted in BIBLE PASSAGE OUTLINES, Bible verses. Comments, Creation, Faithfulness, Forgiveness, Glorification, Holy Spirit, Judgement, Justification, Prayer, Salvation, Sanctification, spiritual warfare, Temptations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to 406. On Colossians 2:6-15. A Reading for 24 July 2022. 

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