So Walk in Him

Colossians 2:1-3 ESV

“For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

Do you feel what Paul was feeling here? Do you struggle for other Christians in your spirit? Do you have deep concern for them in the depths of your heart for them to walk in holiness and in righteousness and to not be led astray by false teaching and false teachers? Does it grieve you to see so many people who profess faith in Jesus reject the truth of the gospel in order to follow after lies? It does me. All praise to God!

If so, what is God leading you to do about it? If you are reading this you probably have access to a computer and to the internet. And do you know that there are people from all over the world on the internet? People we have not seen face to face. And many of them are Christians. And many of them are not being taught the truth of the Scriptures. And so they need to hear people share with them the truth of the gospel of Christ.

For the gospel of Christ is not just a formula we give to people on how to “get saved” so that when they die that they can go to heaven. The gospel is the whole counsel of God. It is not only about what Jesus did for us on that cross and about how we can believe in him and have eternal life in him, but it is about how we can walk in fellowship with him day to day in humble obedience to his commands and in the forsaking of our sins.

And that is what Paul was expressing here, his desire to encourage the hearts of believers in Jesus who have not seen him face to face (in person). But the encouragement is not just a pat on the back, but it is a holy urging and an exhortation to be united with Christ in love for the Lord and for other Christians. And it is spurring one another on to love and to good deeds and to walk in holiness, and to walk in obedience to the Lord, and to grow to spiritual maturity in Christ. For this is what we are all to be doing.

[Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-32; Eph 5:17-27; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:23-25; 1 Pet. 2:9; 1 Pet. 2:21; Matt. 5:13-16; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom. 10:14-15; Jn. 4:31-38; Jn. 13:13-17; Jn. 14:12; 1 Jn 2:6; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Tit 2:11-14; Matt 7:21-23]

Colossians 2:4-5 ESV

“I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.”

Now, in context, this passage of Scripture is being directed to the issue of the Judaizers who are trying to convince Christians that they need to be more like Jews and that they need to follow some Jewish customs and ceremonies and some of the Old Covenant liturgical, ceremonial, and dietary laws and restrictions. And we have such people in our midst today who are doing this, so please know what Paul (and John) taught about that:

[Gal 3:16, 26-29; Rom 9:4-8; Gal 4:22-31; Eph 2:14-18; 1 Jn 2:22]

But the greater issue today is the charlatans who are posing as pastors of what are called churches who are teaching a diluted and altered gospel message, partly based in truth, but partly based in lies and in Scriptures taught outside their context and twisted to say what they do not say. And so they are teaching many people that they can believe (not defined) in Jesus, have their sins forgiven, be guaranteed heaven when they die, but that nothing else is required of them.

They like to use Ephesians 2:8-9 to prove that works have no part in our salvation, but they leave out verse 10 which says that, as God’s workmanship, we are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. So, works are not absent from our salvation. They are just the works of God which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them in his power and strength.

So, this is not us, in our flesh, trying to earn our salvation. This is us, operating in the Spirit of God in obedience to our Lord in doing what he says, because we now are his possession and he is the one ruling our lives.

It is true, we can do nothing in our flesh to be acceptable to God or to earn or to deserve our own salvation. But it is also true that the faith to believe in Jesus comes from God, it is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ, it is gifted to us by God, and we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness and as to our sinfulness and of our need to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus in obedience (Jn 6:44; Heb 12:1-2; Ac 3:19; 1 Jn 2:3-6).

So, we can’t decide what that faith should look like. God defines faith for us, and since it comes from him, it will align with his holiness and righteousness and with his will and purpose for our lives. So, faith which comes from God is going to submit to Christ as Lord, forsake lives of sin, and follow Jesus in obedience, because that is what the Scriptures teach that God requires for us to have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. But this is not of ourselves. It is of God. We just have to surrender our lives to the Lord and yield control over to him and then follow his lead.

So, please know that there are going to be people, including pastors, who are going to try to convince you that no works are required of you at all. Not true! And they are going to try to convince you that you can believe in Jesus and have heaven secured you but that if you continue in deliberate and habitual sin against God that it will not impact your eternal security. Also not true. And if you are teaching on repentance and obedience to the Lord they may accuse you of offending people. Well the cross if an offense to those who are perishing in their sins. So, don’t let them lead you astray.

[Matt 7:21-23; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; Eph 4:17-24; Titus 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Pet 2:24; Heb 12:1-2]

Colossians 2:6-7 ESV

“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

Now there are going to be many people professing faith in Jesus Christ who will not submit to Christ as Lord, and who will not cease with habitual and deliberate sin against the Lord, and who will refuse to humbly bow to the Lord in surrender of their lives to Christ to now walk in his ways and in his truth. They may or may not talk the Christian walk, but they don’t live what they profess. Many of them are just floundering in their sins, still living according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit while they still claim Christ as their Savior and Lord and heaven as their eternal destiny.

So, we need to be on our guard with regard to them that they do not influence us in the wrong direction and that they do not drag us down so that we end up losing sight of God’s calling on our lives and so we don’t get distracted by things that may be keeping us from doing the will of God. In other words, we need to stay focused on why God has us here on the earth and on the task before us to walk in obedience to our Lord and to share the gospel and to encourage other Christians in their walks of faith and in obedience to the Lord and in holiness and in righteousness.

And we need to warn all people of the consequences of deliberate and habitual sin and of not walking in obedience to our Lord.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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