Tuesday July 28, 2020
The understanding of Christ dwelling in our heart is illustrated beautifully by Paul in Col 2.
For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf, and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love [the great defense against false teaching], and attaining to all the wealth [ploutos] that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Wealth comes from the full assurance of understanding. The word means to have entire confidence.
It is vital that we know what it is that we need to understand [sunesis: to set together, to understand]. Paul reveals this immediately; it is the understanding that leads into a true knowledge of the mystery of God: Christ.
The mystery of God: the life of God in man revealed by the God/Man.
I say this in order that no one may delude you with persuasive argument. 5 For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.
6 As you therefore [in the same manner] have received [the] Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
“the Christ Jesus the Lord” - emphasis on His identity.
In the context of the passage [delusion with persuasive argument], as well as the words used in vs. 6, Paul is not talking about their receiving Christ at salvation, but receiving their instruction about Him.
“received” - paralambano = to take to one’s side. Take to your side, which reveals desire, the true doctrines concerning Christ. All that is revealed of Him, take them to your heart, meditate on them, delight in them, and never stop trying to learn the complete depth of them. And then… in the same manner, so walk!
Paul uses paralambano in 1Th
You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers; 11 just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, 12 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
13 And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God's message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.
This is important to our understanding of Paul’s prayer in Eph 3. All believers are indwelt by Christ, but not all believers comprehend the treasures hid within Christ. That is what is going to make for a strong walk through life in His image.
Col 2: 6-7
As you therefore [in the same manner] have received [the] Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.
If Paul was emphasizing our receiving Christ at salvation, then “As you therefore received” Him, or “in the same manner as” [hos oun “As therefore”] you received Him would be indicating faith in Him as Savior.
“As therefore” - hos oun = in the same manner. In the same manner you have taken to your side the doctrines of the Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.
But as we know, not all who put their faith in Him have a great understanding of His Person. The Colossians are definitely believers, but they can be deluded by persuasively taught false doctrine, of which Paul is warning them.
The solution to that is faith, but faith in the true doctrines and not the false ones. False doctrines spread lies about the Person and work of Christ. Those lies began in the early church, and so the epistles to the Corinthians, Colossians, Galatians, and 1John; and they continued and grew in number and scope throughout the church to this day.
False doctrines can also profess that the believer has options concerning obedience. We should take comfort in the fact that there is one clear truth about the Lord and it is found in one place; the Scripture, and we should also take comfort in the fact that there are no other options for the believer. He has been made - designed, born-again, created new in Christ - to walk in that life only. Another comfort is the understanding that Christ’s life is the only life for man; all others are foolish lies from a fallen world of men.
To walk in Christ, in the manner of Him, it is vital that our faith is in the truth about Him, and that we are devoted to it as our only life.
As Paul wrote in 2:2 attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself
The Colossians had received the true knowledge of God’s mystery, Christ.
We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel, 6 which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
Received is referring to the true doctrines concerning Christ, and “so in that manner walk in Him,” meaning the truth of Him, being like Him now to the extent that you have knowledge of Him.
In Paul’s prayer in Eph 3, he asks God that we would be strengthened with power by the Holy Spirit in the inner man so that the Christ [the full knowledge of Christ] would dwell in our hearts.
Therefore it says [PSA 68:18],
"When He ascended on high,
He led captive a host of captives,
And He gave gifts to men."
The context of Psa 68 is not a captive enemy but a captive posterity of the saved. They are those who are freed from the clutches of sin by believing on His name.
(Now this expression, "He ascended," what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
He would not ascend on high without the captives, therefore He decided to enter enemy territory, almost becoming a captive Himself, yet protected by the power of God, He faithfully executed a perfect plan to save us, to set us free.
And then, on top of setting us free, He gave to us gifts, the plunder of His victory - gifts enjoyed and used in the service of our King.
We have gifts from Him and are now slaves of God. We must obey the One to whom we are slaves. We have work to do with those gifts, and that work is for others.
Like our Lord, we descend in service before we can ascend in victory.
And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge [epignosis: full knowledge] of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
All the captives are given gifts, and to the whole are given communication gifts, so that as a body (“until we all attain the unity”) we attain the faith of the full knowledge of the Son of God, to His measure or “in the same manner as” (COL 2:6) the Christ.
“The Christ,” the definite article is used in COL 2:6 as well as EPH 3:17, but not translated.
As you therefore have received [the] Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Himand established inyour faith[instrumental case: by your faith], just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude [the natural result of knowing you are established in Christ].
“firmly rooted and now being [constantly: present participle] built up in Him” = imagery of the roots and tree constantly growing.
That imagery brings us back to Psa 1 and Jer 17.
And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season,
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
8 "For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.
“The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 "He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. 26 "If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.”
“Where I am, there shall My servant also be,” is what Paul has written in EPH 3:17 and COL 2:6 - our faith in the doctrines of Christ and in the same manner as them, so walking. We are following Him, and if I may use an image, if He were to suddenly stop and turn around, He would find us always right behind Him.
If we serve Him, the iron-clad promise is that the Father will honor us. It is exciting to wonder how the Father will honor you if you serve Christ. But be careful not to determine it before it comes. It is all up to Him, but we are confident that it is beyond sight, thought, or hearing; beyond what we could ever think.
As you therefore have received [the] Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Himand established inyour faith [instrumental case: by your faith], just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude [the natural result of knowing you are established in Christ].
In Him means the believer is always in the sphere of His influence. He can foolishly ignore it through some version of false doctrine, but he will always be in Christ and therefore Christ, the Good Shepherd, will always be calling His sheep to see all the truths and treasures in Him. Notice the similar passage in Eph 2.
having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
Notice in the next paragraph how Paul emphasizes “in Him” and “with Him.”
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells [katoikeo; same as EPH 3:17] in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
Should we obey the way of Christ or the ways of the world or the traditions of men? It is made so abundantly obvious.