“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (KJV, Col. 2:6-7).
“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord”
What does it mean to receive Christ? Surely, there are many who think that they have received Christ but have not. It must be noted that Christ told His listeners in the Sermon on the Mount that many will say, “Lord, Lord.” However, the astonishing outcome will be that Christ will tell them that He never knew them. Surrounding Jesus’ statement concerning the people who will say, “Lord, Lord, “ we also read of the narrow path which many will not find, the tree that is known by its fruit, and the wise man that built his house upon a rock.
What this tells us is that the life which someone lives gives evidence to the truth about his claim. In this, we can see ways in which the Christian must examine himself to see if he is in the faith. But this does not yet answer the question, “What does it mean to receive Christ?”
To receive Christ is to have Christ. Christ is given as a gift to mankind. However, for the gift to be someone’s possession, that one would need to receive the gift. The Greek word that is used to depict “received” in the above verse is paralambano, which denotes an association with oneself in an intimate sense or to receive near. It also carries the meaning of taking unto oneself. As a result, it must be seen that to receive Christ is to take Christ as one’s own and to be intimately associated with Christ.
In contrast, we can see the way in which the apostle John wrote of Christ in His Gospel. In John 1:9-13, John tells us that Christ came to His own people. How did Christ’s people respond to Christ? John tells us that they did not receive Christ. In other words, they did not want to be associated with Christ and take Christ as their Messiah.
However, John goes on to tell us that for those who did receive Christ, Christ gave them the right to be called children of God. The receiving of Christ is the door through which the unbeliever walksto gain life.
To receive Christ is to look upon Christ with the eyes of faith and believe all that the Scriptures say concerning His work and person. Within the Gospel, we see that to receive Christ is to look upon Christ as the promised Savior of the world. He is the One Who came and died in the place of sinful man so that man could be forgiven for his sin. Christ died, rose from the grave, ascended into heaven, and is now at the right hand of God. To receive Christ is to look upon Him with the eyes of faith and believe in Him as He has been revealed in His Gospel.
“so walk ye in him”
Here, we see Paul exhorting his listeners on toward godliness. The natural progression of one’s faith moves in this direction. If someone’s faith is real, he will walk in Christ. We can know this to be true based upon the word “received,” which was touched upon by Paul prior to the above portion of Scripture.
To receive Christ is to be associated with Christ. Therefore, the one who is truly associated with Christ will walk in Christ. How could it be any other way? It would not be possible to be associated with Christ and to walk a different path than Christ. By implication, someone would attest to his associations as being elsewhere.
When the Bible speaks of the Christian’s walk, it explains that his walk will tell of the direction of the his life. Here, we see that when someone walks in Christ, he is advancing toward the Celestial City. He is on his pilgrimage toward the heavenly kingdom. He is walking in the path that his Savior walked many years before him.
“Rooted and built up in him”
As Paul moves forward, we see an essential component to maturing as a Christian. First, the Christian must be rooted in Christ. Paul speaks of Christ as the soil for the roots of the believer. This means that the Christian must seek to go deep in his relationship with Christ. He must come to know Christ on an intimate level. Simply going to church on Sundays will not bring about a deep intimacy with Christ that the Scriptures talk about.
The Christian must live his life with a desire to go deep in Christ at the forefront. Everyday must be lived with a conscious effort to be rooted in Christ. The Christian will notice that he will get out what he puts in. If the Christian spends little time with Jesus and is only minimally devoted to Christ throughout the day or week, the outcome will be that he will have little of Jesus.
The Christian must be rooted in Christ. Roots are essential for trees to thrive in the midst of the various circumstances in life. It is through the root system that a tree is supplied with the water that it needs to live. Roots grow, spread out, and sink deep into the ground to find new water sources when the water is sparse. A strong root system will also help trees to stand in the midst of storms. The taller the tree, the more extensive the root system must be for the tree to live. However, the roots come before the growth, or the tree could not stand.
After the roots comes the growth. Paul tells us that the Christian must be built up in Him. Do not be content with where you are at with Christ. Desire more of Him and grow in Him.
“and established in the faith”
To be rooted in Christ and built up in Christ is to be established in the faith. The stronger the Christian is in Christ, the more established he will be in his faith. As we look back at the illustration of a tree, we can see the way in which a tree is established in the midst of a storm. When the winds hit a tree, one can see that the tree moves slightly in comparison to the actual size of the tree. The reason for this is that the tree has been established. It has a solid root system and has been built up properly.
The same is true of the Christian’s faith. When someone is established in Christ, he will also be established in his faith. When the storms come, and they will, he will see that his faith will not fail him.
“as ye have been taught,”
The teaching of Scripture is the source of the Christian’s motivation and instruction concerning Christ. In the Bible, one can see his Savior and behold the One Whom the Christian has been called to emulate. The Christian must sit under the guidance of the Scriptures and pray for understanding concerning the Bible’s contents.
“abounding therein with thanksgiving”
What an interesting way to end the portion which we are looking at today. Paul tells us that the Christian must walk in Christ, be rooted in Christ, built up in Christ, and established in the faith. But then he ends it all with the need for the Christian to abound in thanksgiving. Paul is telling us that thanksgiving must permeate the life and heart of the Christian.
An ungrateful Christian is a contradiction in terms. The Christian has been spared from the wrath of God and the fire of hell. The Christian has been saved from the consequences of sin. The Christian has been called to a heavenly calling and has been united with Christ. There are many reasons for the Christian to be thankful. Abound in thanksgiving. Don’t just give thanks, but abound in it.
Father, I thank You for the many blessings that You have given me. You have been good to me although I do not deserve it. Teach me to abound in thanksgiving and to be forever grateful for all that You have done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.