By Faith – Colossians 2:6-7 07/19/20

By Faith – Colossians 2:6-7 07/19/20

There is a cause and effect relationship that is universally true in the created order: this causes that, which causes the next thing. If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, there’s also supposed to be a cause and effect relationship between who’s we are and how we live, which at the end of the day, will be by faith. That’s exactly what the Apostle Paul is speaking about in our text today. Please read through Colossians 2:6-7.

“Therefore,” more literally “so then” (Ὡς οὖν)[1] points us back to the previous instructions Paul provided[2] and marks his transition to a new series of thoughts.[3] Previously, we saw that Christ is supreme over all creation, and because of this, those who belong to Him should be living lives worthy of Him as they/we become citizens of His kingdom. Our passport into that kingdom is the very presence of Jesus Christ in us.

The Colossian church, with their learning from Epaphras about Jesus Christ, had come to know Jesus as the Anointed of God (the Christ), as the Savior (Jesus) working through human history, and as the Sovereign (Lord) who created and sustains all things.[4] But that’s not how they had “received” Him, they received Jesus, and with Him salvation, by faith.

If being good and following the rules isn’t what being a Christian is about, what does it mean to be a Christian?[5] It is to claim Jesus as Lord.[6] It is to be in relationship with a person, the Person. This relationship is by faith. The Christian life continues in the very same way it started.[7] It is to receive a Person by faith. The very first thing that needs to be remembered is that they (and, as Christians, we) had already received Christ Jesus.[8] This Person is the One at the center of the mystery of Christianity.[9] And, again, just as we receive Him by faith, now we are called upon to walk in Him, that is, to live in Him, by faith.[10]

This word “faith” is (πίστις). It means to believe to the extent that it produces complete trust and reliance in the object of our faith; for the Christian, this is Jesus Christ.[11] In the Apostle John’s writings it is often expressed as “to believe into” in the sense of putting one’s trust into another.[12] In a Christian context, true faith is essentially grounded on belief in Jesus’s redemptive work[13] through His sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection.[14]

Now this word “you have received” (παρελάβετε)[15] as used in the New Testament is more than simply receiving something in the sense that you received a package in the mail. In the New Testament this word conveys the idea of “adopting a tradition.” By the way, one of the cool things about Greek verbs is that a single word can tell you so much. This one word (παρελάβετε)[16] is a second person plural verb in the aorist tense, passive voice. That means that “you-all,” with no reference to how or when it happened, you-all received something.

That something is a Person. This is the only place in Paul’s writings where the verb “received” (παρελάβετε)[17] has a personal object.[18] In every other instance the word occurs with “teaching,” with “the gospel,” and with “the word,” all non-personal expressions.[19] Here we’re told we received “Christ Jesus the Lord.”

They received “Christ Jesus the Lord” (τον Χριστον Ἰησουν τον Κυριον). [20] This peculiar phrase occurs nowhere else in Paul’s writings.[21] The emphasis is on the identity of the Christ (in Greek), or the Messiah (in Hebrew), the real, literal, historical Person of Jesus. This One is identified as the Lord (κύριον).[22] This unique expression speaks of His threefold office: ‘Christ’, the anointed Messiah; ‘Jesus’ the Savior and Priest; ‘Lord’, the sole head of the church[23] sovereign over all creation.

The reason it matters is that, as used here, the strong implication is that they actually embraced the Person of Jesus and not simply the message.[24] In Christ, which we looked at two weeks ago, they had received, once and for all, the Spirit of Christ.[25] That reception must now be carried into practice in all of life.[26] By faith we received Jesus, with the expectation that our lives will be changed because of it. So to receive, and therefore to accept, the doctrine of Jesus Christ they would receive not just information, but Jesus Himself.[27]

The expression “walk in Him,…” in verse 6 reminds us that this is not simply the reception of information, or as used in our passage, the reception of Christian traditions in contrast to heretical traditions, this is a living relationship with Christ as Lord.[28] This life requires the rejection of all competing loyalties.[29] This “walk” includes a life that is expressed through consistency, external and internal, in honoring the Lord.[30]

If you’ve come to faith in Jesus Christ, you have all the knowledge that you need, and everything else that you may learn is just icing on the cake. Never let the details of the Scriptures obscure the simple fact that Jesus is the Savior. Everything should be evaluated in the light of that single fact.

For Paul, this faith, this tradition passed down from Jesus to himself, and then through Paul to the Gentile church, is the heart of their ongoing lives as Christians.[31] As the life of Christ is formed in them, the natural outflow of this reality will be a heart filled with thankfulness.[32]

The recipients of this letter in Colossi (and by extension, us) are invited to meditate on their initial response of faith through which they entered into the Body of Christ.[33] But… this faith isn’t a matter of the head. This faith is founded on the Person of Jesus Christ and all that He is, and all that He has done, and all that He has promised. That must produce change.

Rightly understood, this becomes a clear call to an unchanging decision to live for Christ.[34]

[1]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:6. [2] Curtis Vaughn, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapides MI.: 1978), 196. [3] Eduard Lohse, Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary on the Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, ed., Helmut Koester, trans., by William Poehlmann and Robert Karris, (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA.: 1971), 92. [4] Curtis Vaughn, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapides MI.: 1978), 196. [5] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 349. [6] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44, gen. eds., David Hubbard and Glenn Barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, Word Books Waco TX.: 1982), 105. [7] Norman L. Geisler, “Colossians,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 676. [8] Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 246. [9] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44, gen. eds., David Hubbard and Glenn Barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, Word Books Waco TX.: 1982), 105. [10] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 349. [11] Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1996), 375. [12] Robert W. Lyon, “Faith,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 763. [13] Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 375. [14] Robert W. Lyon, “Faith,” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 763. [15]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:6. [16]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:6. [17]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:6. [18] Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 247. [19] Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 247. [20] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Col 2:6. [21] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Col 2:6. [22]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:6. [23] Ian S McNaughton, Opening up Colossians and Philemon, Opening Up Commentary (Leominster: Day One Publications, 2006), 41. [24] Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 247. [25] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 376. [26] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 2 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 376. [27] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44, gen. eds., David Hubbard and Glenn Barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, Word Books Waco TX.: 1982), 106. [28] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 140. [29] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44, gen. eds., David Hubbard and Glenn Barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, Word Books Waco TX.: 1982), 106. [30] John Peter Lange et al., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Colossians (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 43. [31] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagner, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 142. [32] Earle Wilson, Alex Deasley, and Barry Callen, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians: A Commentary for Bible Students, Wesleyan Bible Commentary Series, gen publisher, Donald Cady, exec. Ed., David Holdren, managing ed., Lawrence Wilson, theological ed., Stephen Lennox, snr. ed., Darlene Teague, (Wesleyan Publishing House, Indianapolis, IN.: 2007), 318. [33] Ralph Martin, Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed., James Luther, NT ed., Paul Achtemeier, (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.: 1991), 113. [34] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary, Volume 44, gen. eds., David Hubbard and Glenn Barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, Word Books Waco TX.: 1982), 103.

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