Last time I left you to reflect on Colossians 2.6-7. These verses serve as the thematic statement for the main body of the letter (2.6-4.6).
2.6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (TNIV).
This seems to be a recurring theme in the letter: you’ve started strong, now continue to grow and live faithfully. The material that follows explains what this looks like in practice. Specifically, this means finding complete spiritual fulfillment in Christ and resisting other claims or practices that devalue his significance (2.8-23), operating out of the appropriate Christian perspective (3.1-4), living holy lives (3.5-17), applying Jesus’ Lordship to relationships (3.18-4.1), and praying and aiding the ministry of the gospel (4.2-6).
Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord: This refers not only to believing in him, but to accepting the tradition about Jesus Christ, which Epaphras so faithfully taught to the Colossian community (cf. 1.4-7). Referring to Jesus as Lord is basically a shorthand expression that captures all that has been said about Christ up to this point.
Continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness: This is the response that Paul wants to see from his readers. They’ve started on the right path in accepting and understanding the significance of Christ—now they must live/behave in accordance with their faith under Jesus’ Lordship. The content of the command is similar to what Paul had previously prayed for the believers (1.10-12) and to the need for the believers to remain grounded in the faith (1.23, similarly 2.2-4). Ultimately, Paul is saying, you must live your lives as those connected to Jesus Christ.
I think now would be a good time to provide a quick recap of what we covered thus far. But before moving on, I want to say props to those of you who have stuck with our study of Colossians up to this point. The material has been fairly complex and lacking in application. This is when I wonder why I choose Colossians as our first study. Nevertheless, this study has been rewarding, and we are getting a better understanding of Jesus Christ and God’s plan for humanity. You can’t put a price tag on that. Press on… we’re almost to the application sections.
- Faith and love as exemplary virtues: After the opening greetings we saw Paul praise the Colossian believers for their faith in Christ and love for one another (1.4-5).
- Growing in knowledge: Paul then prayed that the believers would continue to grow in knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ. Though, we also noted that this knowledge does more than benefit the mind. It enables believers to live godly lives (1.9-12). Can you relate to this? I find that the more I come to understand God’s awesome plan to redeem humanity through Christ, the more I’m inspired to live faithfully, both out of gratitude for what he has done and in awe of who he is. In addition, true wisdom includes proper conduct.
- Living a life pleasing to the Lord: bearing good deeds, growing in knowledge of God, receiving strength from God, and giving thanks with joy (vv. 10-12). This is the response that Paul hopes for from the believers.
- The basis of our hope and reconciliation—The Lord of the Universe, Jesus Christ: He is over and above all things and it is in him that all things are being reconciled—the renewal of humanity and all of creation is taking place (vv. 14-23).
- The mystery revealed—Jesus Christ: Jesus represents the centerpiece of God’s plan to restore humanity (1.28; 2.2). He is the answer for the world. He is…
- The one in whom all the fullness of knowledge exists (2.3): There is, therefore, no need to supplement Christ with any other claims, religious “advances,” or practices (2.4).