Life-Everlasting.net

So walk in Him

Colossians 2:6-15

 (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.

(8)  Beware [see to it] lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

(9)  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

(10)  and you are complete[brought to fullness, complete]  in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

(11)  In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,

(12)  buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

(13)  And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,

(14)  having wiped out [cancelling] the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

(15)  Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

Main point

There is nothing else we need to do for our salvation; don’t listen to wordly ‘fake news’.

Context

Background

Today we are going to look at a passage from the letter to the church at Colossae written by the Apostle Paul.

Letters can be boring to read, if not written to oneself, and not as exciting as looking at narratives of the gospels or the great stories of the Old Testament.  But this letter along with the Letter to the Ephesians are mightily important for the underlying doctrine of the Church. They are as relevant today as then. The issues highlighted are the issues we face today, in the same way they were faced 2000 years ago.

The question is why a letter to this small dying area in Asia? Why were these folk unsatisfied and looking for more, than the gospel taught by Paul?

They had been saved from the dreadful eventuality of all unsaved sinners – hell fire; why were they unsatisfied? This questions are as relevant then as it is today.

Indeed it is as if it were written exactly for today with social media driving political responses to complex scientific issues.

Also this passage is highly relevant in an age where the only truth that is tolerated is from what an individual says is true. This is despite Jesus saying he is the ‘the way, the truth, and the life’.

This passage is also about the need for humans to add to their salvation – Jesus Christ died on the cross, paying the debt for our sins in full, and there is nothing more to be paid.  Yet the human heart wants to do something to make him or herself satisfactory before a holy God.

Note we are not speaking about how a Christian conducts himself, or the fruit that must be born; it’s about adding to the gospel.

And the gospel is simple. “God’s mode of teaching offends by its simplicity the pride of sinners” (2Ki 5:11 - Naaman, 2Ki 5:12 (Naaman); 1Corothians 1:23 preaching Christ crucified).

Point 1 – The Command – ‘So Walk in Him’

The Command (v6)

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,  rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (verse 6)

These folk were Christians – they had accepted Christ in faith. They were ‘in Christ’ – their identity was in Christ. Paul presents three qualifications of a Christian: Rooted, Built Up and Established

Rooted

This means to be born again (See John 3:16). Its formation is based on faith, that is, believing in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Without strong roots we will die – without Spiritual nourishment we cannot bear fruit. The same picture is used by Jesus in the parable of the sower. In this district, and as most of you know, the root stock of a tree is vitally important. A strong root is required for strong tree so it can bear fruit.

Here ‘rooted’ is past tense – a Christian is saved, rooted in Him – we see a similar analogy made when the Bibles says we have been grafted into Christ (Romans 11).

Built up

We need to be built up – present tense – for the purpose of God’s workmanship. It’s what happens for the rest of the Christian’s life – a Christian desires and sets out to know Christ. Its edification of the Christian. It’s learning about Christ and being in Christ.

Paul says we need to move on from our point of salvation to maturity; we need to grow.

In Ephesians (2:10) Paul says a Christian is saved for God’s work. To do this we must become ‘solid’, which is what the word literally means. A tree is solid if it has a strong root system and it grows – so that butt increases in diameter so it withstand the wind. This analogy applies to Christians.

Established or confirmed

To be established, is to be secured in our faith in Christ. We are secure knowing our sins have been judged; the evil one has been defeated, the enemy death cannot destroy us. This is what this passage emphasises. In summary being established is in the sense of not being tossed to and fro, or moved with every new idea or ‘in’ thing. The word has a sense of having our faith confirmed in our actions.

How is one to learn to be rooted, builded and established

It is “as you have been taught”.

This is the crux of the issue – the issue of wandering from the Commands of God, and wondering from the true gospel of Jesus Christ, of wondering from being in Christ comes when we do not follow as we have been taught.

At the time of Paul’s letter, there is no New Testament, so they had to listen and learn.

Where do we find that teaching? In Scripture – the Bible has all we need. Ten times in Paul’s letters to the various churches does Paul exhort the congregations to keep to the doctrines he has taught; all recorded for us in the Bible.

Point 2 – The Warning (v8)

Now the warning

Although Paul says this congregation is rooted, and is being built up, and their faith is being confirmed there was a danger.

Beware lest [see to it] anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. (Verse 8)

This ‘beware’ is a strong emphatic command; BEWARE. The beware (Gk: blepo) is to “look out” like a lookout on a boat. Its more than beware the floor is wet. It’s a warning and a call to action (an imperative, PA Im) – we need to actively look out for the attacks of the enemy.

Paul is literally saying: “beware of being kidnapped.” There is a danger of being “cheated” (some versions) and thus have your confidence in Christ taken away, or remove from you, right under your nose.

And any cursory glance at social media says that this warning is needed.

  1. It’s a warning that your confidence in your salvation will be attacked.
  2. It’s a warning that your freedom in Christ will be undermined.
  3. Its’ a warning that the precepts and the doctrines of God will be seen to be contrary to civic society. For instance, that ordinance of marriage, established by God, as being between a man with X & Y chromosomes and a woman with X & X chromosomes is seen as a direct threat to society.

The oddity is (to which the world is blind), the family is the most fundamental unit of society, so by attacking marriage, the enemies of God are attacking the fundamentals of society, and thus the destruction of the family unit of husband and wife and children threatens existentially the very fabric of our society. But mainly this about people wanting to undermine your confidence in your salvation transacted by the Lord Jesus Christ.

He is saying: don’t let them cheat you

Enemies of God will appeal to the mind. They say the simplicity of the gospel is not enough -> and will say we must discover a mature intelligence with our selves. Yet Paul is say this leads to

“lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit,” (v8b)

Paul uses what is often translated “cheat”. It means to seduce, to lead away captive as prize of booty. The enemies of God want to capture you, to destroy your ability to work effectively for Him. And ultimately to prevent you from bearing fruit.

Many university biology departments seeks actively to demonstrate the there is no God, and within in one term, students will be rejecting the faith they had when they first enrolled! They use deceitful empty philosophy, which is the direct attack on the doctrine of God. It is based in deceit, and traditions of men according to the basic principles of the world.

Many deceitful systems exist today. The horoscope is a perfect example of what Paul is saying stay away from. It is meaningless.

and not according to Christ. (v8c)

Point 3 – Case for Christ (v9)

Confidence our sins have been dealt with by Christ

Adam sinned and fell under Satan’s AUTHORITY

Man is a sinner – he inherits the sin nature from Adam. Adam rejected God and came under the authority of Satan.

Satan had rejected God, along with 1/3 of the angels – so God threw him out of heaven and prepared hell for him, which is where he and his angles will be cast, eventually. He know walks to and fro on earth (Job 2:2).

Adam fell under the authority of Satan. Indeed Paul says that everyone is born a son of disobedience (that is of Satan).

you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2)

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 5:6)

Adam also fell under Satan’s punishment. All from Adam on are destined for hell unless they put their faith and trust in God.

Who can deal with our sin?

It is by faith (verse 7, 12) in Jesus Christ, who defeated our enemy that saves us.

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, (Hebrews 2:14)

We move from under the authority of Satan to be under the Authority of Christ.

Christ was tested and examined and not one spot or blemish was found in him (1 Peter 1:19); he rose again and is seated on the right hand of God and so will those who are under his authority. 

1.  Illustrated in the completeness of Christ (verse 9)

This letter and the one to the Ephesians provide the absolute guarantee that the Church is established on the solid rock of Christ, and Christ is God. Thus Paul goes directly to the source of our salvation and our confidence.

Why did he need to do so? There was some argument as to whether Christ was similar to God, or was the same as God[1]. Paul refutes the former –

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (verse 9)

Christ and the Father were of the same substance; indeed one (John 10:30). Paul is saying if Christ is the person he claims to be - he is God. And because of this, he was able to defeat the enemy – which is death (the last enemy to be destroyed is death) (1 Corinthians 15:26). Thus, he could say to that a born again believer is complete: one cannot get much plainer.

and you are complete [brought to fullness, complete]  in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (verse 10)

In the Greek it is a word play, but even in the English we can see this. Note the word FULLNESS in verse 9 (plērōma) and the word COMPLETE or FULL in verse 10 (plēroō) depending on your Bible version. The ‘full’ in verse 10 really means to cram to the brim. One cannot add anymore. We are complete because Christ is complete or full. Paul is saying Christ is fully God in bodily form, thus was completely God and because of this, we also are full or complete in Him – nothing more need to be added.

THERE IS NOTHING MORE TO ADD

2. Illustrated with spiritual circumcision – our sin is done away with

In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ (verse 11)

Paul goes on in verse 11 to illustrate using the picture of circumcision, well understood by both gentiles and Jews alike.  The illustration is Spiritual – the old nature of the heart is cut away – circumcised.  The carnal nature is cut/putt off. This was not done with hands, but with blood – without the shedding of blood sin cannot be dealt with. And it was Christ’s blood that was shed for our sins. Thus the old man is put away, and the new man grows, meaning, there is nothing more to be done.

Circumcision is the sign of separation. We still live in our flesh – our earthly failing body, but our spirit is alive in Christ.

3. Illustrated with Baptism – sinful nature done away with

Baptism is a role-play that illustrates the death, burial and resurrection of both Christ, the first to rise and the new believer. Baptism does not save; it’s faith (verse 12) that saves.

You were buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead (verse 12)

The old self is done away, and we are born again. It’s not the old nature which is somehow refurbished, but a completely new person – something Nicodemus had trouble understanding in John 3.

Pual summarises in verse 13

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses (verse 13)

Salvation is completed; we were once dead because we sinned.  Our sins are now forgiven: note that very small word “all”. Note also that this is our sins past, present and future – Hallelujah!

having forgiven you all trespasses (v 13b)

And this is the reason why verse 7 says that Christians are in a constant state of thanksgiving.

Conclusion (v15, 16)

Is there any need for further payment for our sin? (v15, 16)

No!

Paul now sets the record straight once forever: our sins are paid for in absolute total completeness.

having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it (verse 14 & 15)

Remember that Pilate placed a sign on the cross Jesus was hang with his offence. Pilate wrote – This Is Jesus The King Of The Jews. This followed Roman custom: an offender had his name and offences written on a sign and hang on the cross so all knew the legal reason for the person’s crucifixion.  So when we ponder the Cross we need to ponder a cross with a very large sign with our sins listed. For he died for them all, but our name is not!

But for the one who has put his or her faith and trust in Jesus – our sign is wiped clean. This is where verse 14 comes in. The text means to ‘smear out the hand writing’. The wax pen used to write our offence was smeared out by Christ. The literally melted and smeared off the sign. Thus the offence was removed, and with no offence, we do not need to die.  On the other hand these offences were nailed to the cross of Christ (verse 14b)

And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.  
(verse 14b)

Paul finishes with:

Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it (verse 15)

This is to remind us that Satan and his servants have been defeated – the enemy is defeated.

  • He cannot accuse any of us before God
    • Satan cannot accuse you before God – you sin is done away
  • The powers – these are same powers spoken of in Ephesians – with which we wrestle, have been disarmed
  • This is a total failure and embarrassment to Satan – they are defeated.

Christ is a triumph! Compare with verse 10

Live by grace in faith: not in own strength. Hold firmly to the truth – else you have believed in vain.

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  (1Co 15:1-2)

Endnote

[1] The great debate was over whether Jesus Christ is the same substance of the Father or a similar substance of the Father:

  • Of the same substances and essence (Phil 2:6-7)
  • Of a similar substance (not the same as the Father, but similar)

 “Theotetos” (θεοτητος from θεότης)– (Col 2:9) used only once: Jesus is God. It’s more than what the world can reveal.  “Christ is essentially God”. (the Godhead)

Theiotes (θειοτης from θειότης) Romans 1: 20 divine nature -> his glory and majesty and divinity are revealed in his world. Nature reveals the divine nature of God. Divine qualities have been revealed in the world, but the world is not God

Christ is God, he is divine – there is more than the divine nature of God revealed in Christ – he is the very substance of God. Thus CHRIST IS UNIQUE. In him is the fullness in bodily form: the fullness of the godhead.

David L Simon
24 July 2022 (P-UC)
\Colossians\So walk in Him - Colossians 2 v 6 - 15


^ Return top
/* Run the following to create the TOC */