As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.

Colossians 2:6

I think it is a completely wrong concept in Christian circles to look upon Jesus as a kind of divine nurse to whom we can go when sin has made us sick, and after He has helped us, to say, “Good-bye, Jesus”—and go on our own way.

Suppose I go into a hospital in need of a blood transfusion. After the staff has ministered to me and given their services, do I just slip out with a cheery “good-bye”—as though I owe them nothing and it was kind of them to help me in my time of need?

That may sound far-out to you, but it draws a picture of attitudes among us today.

But the Bible never in any way gives us such a concept of salvation. Nowhere are we ever led to believe that we can use Jesus as a Savior and not own Him as our Lord. He is the Lord and as the Lord He saves us, because He has all of the offices of Savior, Christ, High Priest, and Wisdom and Righteousness and Sanctification and Redemption!

He is all of these—and all of these are embodied in Him as Christ, the Lord!

Father, You are my Savior and my Lord. My debt to You is huge! I owe You my life.[1]

Therefore builds the concluding exhortation on what Paul has said in verses 2–5. The Colossians have received Christ Jesus the Lord, they have settled convictions about His deity and sufficiency, and are standing firm against the attacks of false teachers, so they must continue to walk in Him. The familiar term walk refers to daily conduct. In this context it means primarily to continue believing the truth about Christ, not allowing their Christology to waver.

In broader terms, however, walking in Christ means living in union with Him. It means to maintain a lifestyle patterned after His. “The one who says he abides in Him,” the apostle John writes, “ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (1 John 2:6). When faced with the dilemmas that confront Christians in their daily lives, the guideline should be, “What would Jesus do in this situation?” The hymn “O to Be Like Thee” expresses what should be the desire of every Christian:

O to be like Thee!

Blessed Redeemer, this is my constant longing and prayer;

Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,

Jesus Thy perfect likeness to wear.

O to be like Thee!

O to be like Thee, Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art!

Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;

Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.[2]

6 The hōs oun (NIV, “so then”; NASB, “therefore as”) with which v. 6 begins marks a transition in Colossians. At this point, Paul moves from applauding the assembly to admonishing them in the(ir) faith. The apostle offers the fellowship warning and teaching, lest they be shifted from the gospel and stunted in their spiritual growth (cf. 1:23, 28). Paul’s instruction is predicated on the congregation’s reception of “Christ Jesus as Lord.” At a point in the past (the verb is a second aorist), the Colossians received Christ. Paul employs the verb paralambanō (“take” or “receive,” GK 4161) both here and elsewhere to refer to the oral transmission and subsequent reception of the gospel tradition, replete with both doctrinal and ethical instruction (see, e.g., 1 Co 11:23; 1 Co 15:1, 3; Gal 1:9; Php 4:9; 1 Th 2:13; 4:1; 2 Th 3:6). In contradistinction to the “philosophy,” Paul propounds that the traditions they had received were divine, not human, in origin or orientation (2:8; cf. Mk 7:4, 8; 1 Co 11:2; 2 Th 2:15; 3:6). The instruction that had been passed on to them and was subsequently received by them centered on the person Jesus, who is further depicted here as both “Christ” and “Lord.” The Colossians’ life in faith began with their reception and confession of Jesus Christ as Lord (cf. Ro 10:9; 1 Co 12:3; Php 2:11) and their baptism in him (Col 2:12; cf. Ro 6:3–5; Gal 3:27). It is “in him” (the Greek sentence structure emphasizes this prepositional phrase), the one in whom the gospel is grounded and on whom their faith is founded, that the Colossians are commanded to walk (NIV, “live”; cf. 1:10). They are not to live in him periodically in fits and starts but continuously, as indicated by the present active imperative verb peripateō (“walk” or “live,” GK 4344). Because the Colossians have received Christ as Lord and presently dwell in him (the so-called “Pauline indicative”), Paul calls the congregation to walk in him (the so-called “Pauline imperative”). (On the indicative/imperative pattern in Paul, see Michael Parsons, “Being Precedes Act: Indicative and Imperative in Paul’s Writing,” EvQ 88 [1988]: 99–127.) Their standing in and service of Christ are meant to be congruent and complementary.[3]

2:6 Now he encourages them to go on in the same way in which they had originally begun, that is, by faith. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. The emphasis here seems to be on the word Lord. In other words, they had acknowledged that in Him there was complete sufficiency. He was enough, not only for salvation, but for the whole of their Christian life. Now Paul urges the saints to go on acknowledging the lordship of Christ. They should not stray from Him by accepting the teachings of men, however convincing they may sound. The word walk is one that is often used of the Christian life. It speaks of action and progress. You cannot walk and remain in the same place. So it is in the Christian life; we are either going forward or backward.[4]

[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1992). Colossians (p. 91). Chicago: Moody Press.

[3] Still, T. D. (2006). Colossians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, p. 309). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2001). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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