“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” (Col. 2:6-7).
I have a friend who usually begins each conversation he has with his friends this way: “How is your walk?” Every one who calls this man friend does not for one moment pause and think, well, I did two laps around the neighborhood today, so I guess it is pretty good. No, my friend is asking the most probing question, one that should be chief among us as we “stir up one another to love and good works” (Heb. 10:24). How is your walk with Christ?
As one commentator put it: “Here is the very core of spiritual life. it is not a subjective state so much as a life in the heart.” Because we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, Christ is for us! As Paul so poignantly remind us, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:31-32).
Christ for us is the ground of our salvation and the source of our justification. We have peace with God. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21).
Christ in us is the source of our sanctification. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose, For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified” (Rom. 8:28-30). Salvation, from beginning to end, is of God in Christ. He will surely do it.
When this becomes real, we are dead. Our own condition, state and resources are no longer counted upon any more than a dead man’s. This is the good news of the gospel. We are unable to save ourselves. But Christ can, and does. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3).
Christ, who is our life, must himself maintain it. “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own” (Phil. 3:12). Therefore, the Christian life is not just coming to Christ to save us, and then going on to work out our own sanctification, but as we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, just as dependent and as simply trusting as for our pardon and salvation.
What does it mean to “walk in him?” Paul defines it as “rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught…” We need to attend to the means of grace God has given us. The Word, both read and preached, the sacraments, prayer, and the fellowship of the saints. We cannot be neglectful in these things and think that we will be okay. We will not.
But when we do these things, knowing that “it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13), we will respond appropriately to our God – “abounding in thanksgiving.” As I mentioned yesterday, when we come to the end of ourselves – truly died to ourselves – we cry out, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”