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Basic Bible: Complete in Christ

Colossians 2:6-19

In the opening chapter of Colossians, Paul emphasized the need to hold the right doctrinal view of Jesus Christ. It is through Christ, and Him alone, that we know God the Father. It is by the light of Christ that we can walk the way in which God the Father would have us to walk.

In verse 6 of chapter 2, Paul issues the directive: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.” One receives Christ as Lord by faith, believing that He was sent by the Father into this world to restore a fellowship with Him (the Father) that was destroyed by sin. One hears the truth and believes. Believers are called to walk by faith in Him. Our paths are to be directed by Him. When one is swayed by false doctrine concerning Christ, one wanders away from Him.

In verse 7, Paul describes what believers experience when they walk in faith: they abound in thanksgiving. If you are not abounding in thanksgiving, there is a reason that you are not abounding. To abound in thanksgiving one must remain rooted in Christ. One cannot deny His full deity and be rooted in Him. One must not depart from the basic root truths which are revealed in God’s word. One must walk by faith.

What are the basic truths upon which one must be rooted? First, Christ is the promised seed of woman whose heel would be bruised by the serpent (Satan) and who would bruise the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). Second, Christ satisfied every precondition set forth in the scriptures — son of David, born in Bethlehem of a virgin, fulfilled the law by living a sinless life, was like unto Moses performing miracles and speaking words of God, a light unto the Gentiles, rejected by men, bore our iniquities, suffered death upon the cross for the guilty, raised from the dead on the third day, and shall see His seed (Isa. 53:10). Lastly, Christ shall come again and rule upon the throne of David in Jerusalem.

When one walks by faith, one knows with absolute certainty that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28). When we walk in faith, thanksgiving abounds within us.

While believers know to walk in the way which Christ has shown, some stray from the path. In verse 8, Paul cautions against being misled by men espousing the philosophy and traditions of the world. The philosophy and traditions of the world are not of God. They are the fabrication of individuals who walk by sight. If one were to look upon Jesus Christ upon the cross through the lens of philosophy and tradition, one does not behold the Savior. Philosophy and tradition looks upon the cross of Christ and laments that it is sad that a good, passionate and selfless person should have been subjected to such a death. Philosophy and tradition are blind and cannot see the One who gave Himself for all who would believe. Philosophy, literally, means love (philo) of being wise (sophos). Love of being wise is rooted in self and cannot lead one to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. The desire to be wise was cause for Adam and Eve to disobey God (Gen. 3:6).

Philosophy and tradition cannot lead one to Christ in whom the fulness of the Godhead dwells (v. 9). Philosophy and tradition cannot direct one in God’s ways. Philosophy and tradition can only direct one in the ways of the world, the wide way that leads to destruction. Philosophy and tradition cannot atone for sin. Philosophy and tradition cannot restore man’s lost relationship with God.

One abounds in thanksgiving when one walks in Christ. Walking in Him produces a completeness that philosophy and tradition cannot manufacture. When we walk in Him, His power and authority is revealed in us. Christ’s power and authority is manifested in believers through spiritual circumcision. Physical circumcision signified separation from the world and linkage to God through the covenant of the law. Spiritual circumcision is the separation from the world and linkage to God through Christ (v. 11). It is a better covenant.

The completeness that believers enjoy can only be found by being buried with Christ in baptism and risen with Him in faith according to the power of God. Separation from the world is the result of one’s intimate relationship with Christ. That relationship is had through being buried with Him in baptism and being raised up with Him through faith. Paul reminds the Colossians of this basic truth in verse 12. The work of Christ Jesus was being cast aside by false teaching within the church at Colosse.

In verses 13-15, Paul focuses our attention upon that which Christ has done for us. None of the things which the apostle lists were done by an intermediate. They were all done by Christ, and done for our personal individual benefit. When one is quickened, it is personal. No angel or enlightened human needed. Christ, and Christ alone, nailed our unpaid sin debt to His cross, forever blotting out our unrighteousness. Christ fought and defeated the principalities and powers that once held sway over each believer. Christ fulfilled all requirements of the law. He did this personally for each and every believer.

One is made complete in Christ, not by that which one does or did, but by what Christ has done. One cannot abound in thanksgiving because of that which one has done. But one can forever rejoice and give thanks for what Christ has done. He has given us His perfection. In Him we are made complete.

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