Friday, August 1, 2008

Colossians 2: 6-7

Day 9

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

When you see the word therefore, always look to the Scripture preceding it to find out the why of what the writer tells you next. Paul has just finished telling the Colossians how he struggles on their behalf, in order that their hearts might be encouraged. He may be absent in body, but he is with them in spirit. Therefore. . .

As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. How did the Colossians, or any believer, for that matter, receive the Lord? Through the grace of God. “For by grace you have been saved. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any many should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9) So we need to walk in grace. When we received the Lord, we were transferred from the darkness to the Kingdom of Light (Colossians 1:13). So we need to walk in the light. We were given total and unconditional forgiveness for our sin (v. 14). The blood of Christ paid for it all. So we need to walk in forgiveness. We were reconciled to God-- we started as enemies of God, but when we received Christ, God now calls us sons and daughters in His kingdom (v. 21). So we need to walk as reconcilers. Since receiving Christ, we have been presented as holy, blameless, and beyond reproach(v. 21-2). So our walk should reflect our holiness. Our actions should be beyond reproach. As we received Him, so should we walk.

Having been rooted and now being established in your faith . . . Have you ever watched the development of a plant from a seed? The first thing to spring from the seed is a root. Why is it so important to have a root first? The seed does have a supply of food for its fledgling plant as a part of its composition, but that supply won’t last for long. As the plant develops, the root must grow first. It will then become the source of life for the plant. Its tiny root hairs will soak in the water and nutrients from the soil. As the new plant peeks its tender head above ground, the root will serve to anchor the plant when winds buffet or rains pound down from overhead. The root is vital to the life of the plant. So it must grow first.

Paul writes that our root is in Jesus Christ. Our salvation is through Him alone. Our life exists because of Him. This is our foundation. Back in 1:23, Paul warned the Colossians not to move away from the hope of the gospel. Without that root, that provider of life, the plant will wither and die. We cannot hope to function as a Christian without full understanding and assurance that we could do nothing to save ourselves. Christ did it all.

Once the root has grown, the plant can be established. The verb tense here is present: being established. It is happening right now. Our “establishment” is an ongoing process. It comes from good teaching, as Paul writes: Just as you were instructed. A plant is never stagnant. Its life mission is to grow and produce fruit. While it is alive, a plant will continue to grow. New leaves will sprout. Fruit will grow, mature, and fall to the ground.

Our quest must be the same. Never stagnant. Always growing.

One of my favorite Connecticut memories is of an afternoon when I joined a group of young adults to go inner tubing down the Farmington River. We had a wonderful time, riding the occasional rapids with hands linked, screaming our delight as we splashed over the rocks. In other places the river was quieter, and only gently moved us along. The beauty of the sport was even if one did absolutely nothing, their tube continued to move downstream. The current was enough to carry us. We live in a world which is moving downstream, away from God toward self-destruction. If we do nothing, expend no energy toward keeping ourselves from drifting away from the Lord, we will naturally and unconsciously move in the wrong direction. Instead, we must fight the current, pursuing actively the things which He desires for us. Only then can we avoid the slow drift that will eventually lead us away from Him.

What does your walk reflect about your salvation and the God who saved you? How purposeful are you about your growth?

No comments: