JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him…”
June 30, 2010, 3:31 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

Paul has been describing some wonderful things about Jesus Christ in the first chapter of his letter to the church in Colosse! He has described the awesome glory and “otherness” of Jesus Christ making a beeline to the grandest mystery of all: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Paul’s struggle in proclaiming Jesus Christ has its impetus and motivation in that same thought, where God was pleased to reveal His “Son in me.” How we need to see “the Son he loves” in us!

In chapter 2 Paul goes back to his original prayer to the Colossian Christians. This time he expounds on his prayer and the importance that what he has just proclaimed about Jesus Christ determines their battle against the things of this world. Perhaps a precursor to what he writes later at the end of his general letter to the churches in Ephesians.

Paul’s struggle, being in prison and his life, is for one sole purpose, it is for the growth of the church, for all of God’s people who gather everywhere around the world. Paul even says that “For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit.” Not to sound too metaphysical, but there is a sense that because we are “born of the Spirit,” that our life is Christ, who is in us, we are all connected spiritually. When the body of Christ gathers, it is not only those who are physically in the room who are their, but each person who knows Jesus Christ as Lord is there spiritually. Jesus Christ cannot be separated into different parts. He is fully with and in us and we are fully with and in Him. Therefore when the body of Christ meets, it is the body of Christ. While we may gather in churches in towns and cities around the world, the body of Christ is “one body!” That should give us thought to our attitude towards Jesus Christ and to His people when we gather together, daily and from house to house.

Paul’s purpose for what he has just written “is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” As a follower of Jesus Christ we find ourselves up against many things, and when we meet organically together we face a lot of stuff in peoples lives. Some will be hurtful things, some will be adverse things, some will be just junk that people are trying to find freedom from. If you haven’t seen it yet, you will! Paul says what he did, so that when the church would read these words the Holy Spirit would bring freedom to their thinking about themselves and others. That all the stuff of life has been dealt with already by Jesus Christ on the cross! And that self same Jesus now lives in us by His Spirit, and is in fact our life! That should bring comfort to our hearts, encouragement to our souls! But not just comfort but it should bring the church together in a profound sacrificial loving way. When the church comes together in face-to-face community and allow Jesus Christ to comfort and join us together with His love, it is then we begin to see the fullness of Christ come into the body of Christ. We will begin to see the “full riches of complete understanding” in knowing Christ! This knowing Jesus Christ is something that is progressive as we meet together and forever with Him in glory. Every time we gather we should be expecting to see more of Jesus! Not more of something else, just Jesus! This brings confidence and assurance in our faith as we seek Him and know Him more “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”!

Paul continues and concludes this same thought by giving a wonderful general statement of life in Christ. “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” The Christian life is initial and progressive and is founded on “Christ Jesus as Lord.” The life of the church is summed up with this definitive statement: “Christ Jesus as Lord.” Is what we do or say reflect that? Did we understand what Paul said about all that Jesus did for us, and not us but for all of creation? Let us truly get to know our Lord Jesus Christ and put Him at the center of life, for He is our life!

“Just as (we) received Christ Jesus as Lord” we should therefore walk it out, live it out, but it is walking and living “in him.” He has a path for us to follow, it’s Him! He is the way! We are to “live by His Spirit” and in so doing we will see “the fruit of the Spirit.” As Paul told the Galatian churches a few years earlier: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying one another.” Remember the words of Jesus from John’s gospel: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these.” Let us deny ourselves, count those things of the flesh crucified in Christ, those things that bring death spiritually. How we need to listen to the Spirit, who is our life and follow the way of life.

Interestingly after Paul says to “walk in him” he says “having been rooted and being built up in him” (literal translation). (1) J.B. Lightfoot sees these as metaphors of “the path, the tree, the building.” (2) Doesn’t Scripture speak of Jesus as the way, the vine, and the house (or body)? Our Christian life in Christ in the body of Christ is meant to be walked out together following Jesus leading, founded on His lordship over us, and built up by Him. It is all about Jesus! Being “in him.” How much of life is about so many other things! We walk by the Spirit, we are rooted by the Spirit, and we are built by the Spirit. Again in John’s gospel Jesus makes the analogy of the vine to describe life in him: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” As a plant grows so does its roots. You can tell how large the roots go out by how large the canopy of the tree is. To the church in Corinth Paul also says that “no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Jesus is our life. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price” – Jesus “blood, shed on the cross.” For “he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.” See yourselves, see the body of Christ as the Lord sees us! That is how we are rooted in him! This brings a solid faith in Christ!

This walking “in him” and “having been rooted…in him” is about “being built up in him,” or abiding in him! If we are not being built up “in him” we will not get very far in our life in Christ. Jesus Christ desires to enlarge Himself within us, within His body! He wants to express Himself, His glory to His creation! He is “the binding element” (3) the mortar and cement! Even the bricks of the building are Jesus, as Paul says: it is “only God, who makes things grow.” Strength in life is found in Jesus Christ! And this building “up in him” is “strengthened in the faith.” How is our faith strengthened? By knowing and knowing more of Jesus Christ, and it is worked out in the gathering of the church, when Jesus is “head of the body!” “You yourselves are God’s temple.”

Jesus said: “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you…They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
Paul told the Corinthians: “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.”

This is what church planters taught in Paul’s day, this is what we are supposed to have been taught! How we have drifted as the body of Christ. “You learned it from Epaphras, our dear fellow slave, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and who also told us of your love in the Spirit.” This was Paul’s continuation of his prayer to the Christians in Colosse. How we need to pray the same today: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

(1) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 589, 591.
(2) Lightfoot, J.B., “St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon: J.B. Lightfoot’s Commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul, Third Printing, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995, 176.
(3) Ibid., 177.


2 Comments so far
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Amen brother John! I’ve been “preaching” this like crazy lately especially to other singles. It is so tragic how so many fellow believers succumb to fleshly methods to clean up the flesh (strategies, techniques, etc.) “For from Him, through Him and to Him is everything.”

Comment by Anthony

wow! thanks brother! Colossians is such a great letter.

Comment by John Wilson

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