Union with Christ Results in Genuine Character of Christ (Colossians 2) ~ A Devotion for October 29, 2014

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” ~ Colossians 2:6-7

Explanation of the Text: Since we have come to the end of chapter 2 of Colossians, it is important to review what we have gone through over the past chapter and dwell and some of the important highlights. Two overall aspects can be seen throughout this chapter. The first is the fact that a believer’s identity is in Jesus Christ. As Paul continues on, we see him also hit on the concept of living a life in Christ. The two points are actually related in this text. The idea is that because one has an identity in Christ, one’s lifestyle and very being should be reflective of that.

Simply put, one who has an identity in Christ is therefore, complete in Christ. Jesus Christ, being sufficient for the salvation of all men. In a world that is full of sin and its ways, Jesus Christ is the way to evade its deceitful tactics and conquer it. It is for this reason that having an identity in Jesus Christ is important. “The best defense Christians have against such onslaught is to be thoroughly grounded in the basics of their faith in Christ and to understand fully the significance of his death and resurrection, and our baptism.”[1]  This is why Paul writes about the necessity of not needing to be circumcised in the text. Because the Colossians were already a product of Christ, identified with Him, they already had something far greater that produced a genuine union with Him.[2]

Examination & Application of the Text: The product of living in Christ, in a constant union with him should result in a genuine Christlike character, such as genuine humility that Paul alludes to throughout chapter 2. In summarizing points of the chapter, I like the following thoughts from R.C. Lucas:

  • As you received……so live
  • As you were rooted….be built up
  • As you were taught…be established in truth[3]

There is an expectation that one who is in Jesus Christ will be on a path of growth to being like Christ. This is what is seen here in chapter 2. There is no need for the worldly ways, including vain philosophies and asceticism, but instead, Christ is alone worthwhile. Christ is the center and source of growth. “Paul repeatedly stated that growth comes to those who are ‘in,’ ‘with,’ or ‘through’ Christ.”[4] This emphasizes the point of Jesus in John 15 when He calls on true believers to abide in Him. To abide in Him is to produce fruit. As Christ indicated, after Him would come the Holy Spirit. Paul later writes that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).Evidence of living in the Spirit of God can be seen through these. Therefore, Paul emphasizes growing in Christ by living in Christ and the need for those who are identified with Him, must live with Him.

[1] David E. Garland, Colossians/Philemon, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998), 163-164.

[2] William Hendriksen, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1964), 134.

[3] R.C. Lucas, The Message of Colossians & Philemon, The Bible Speaks Today (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1980), 88-91.

[4] Roy Zuck, Editor, A Biblical Theology of the New Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), Location 5024.

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