Colossians & Philemonby Mike Raiter
Paul now gets down to business. Colossians 2:6–7 is really the heart of the epistle. If you always wanted to memorise Colossians, but find four chapters (or 95 verses) too much, then memorise this short passage and you will have the epistle in a nutshell. In these two verses, Paul sums up everything he is about to say.
Verse 6 contains this phrase: “as you received Christ Jesus as Lord”. We use the expression “receive Jesus into your heart” as a way of describing how a person becomes a Christian. But Paul means more than that: he is talking about the gospel tradition of the crucified, risen, and exalted Christ that has been passed on. It is the responsibility of every generation to receive, embrace, and then pass on, without any change or dilution, these wonderful truths about Christ and His salvation.
Since Christians, both now and then, have received this Jesus into their hearts, they must continue to walk in Him, just as the first name for Christians was “the Way” (Acts 9:2). Paul’s one command here is to live this faith out. In the rest of the letter, Paul will describe the road we walk on.
How do we keep on walking? We must walk with our roots deep in Jesus. We do so by building ourselves up and becoming mature in Jesus, being strengthened in the faith we were taught (v. 7). In other words, by constantly growing in our understanding of the gospel truths that first brought us to Jesus. That is why the best sermons tell me nothing new. They may give me a new appreciation for an old truth, or apply a truth of Scripture in an insightful way, but they keep bringing me back to Jesus.
For the same reason, we flirt with spiritual danger if we attend a church that is not gospel-focused in its teaching, and stunt our spiritual growth if we feed our minds on talks and books that talk too much about us and too little about Jesus.
When Jesus fills our hearts and minds, and we become firmly rooted in His truth, then our mouths will be full of thanksgiving.
How did you receive Christ? How has your understanding of Jesus and your love for Him grown since then?
What kind of Christian teaching do you fill your mind with? How is it keeping you established in the faith and growing in maturity?