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The Christian Walk

We, as members in the Body of Christ, should desire to have Gods will exhibited in the details of our daily lives. Although numerous theologians try to make this a very complicated matter, it really is very simple. If you want to do the will of God in your life, find out what God is doing and do that! If you are doing what God is doing, you are doing the will of God.

Although often disregarded, the dispensational approach to the Bible provides much needed instruction about the different agendas God has had in operation at different stages of revelation. The advantage of this approach is a clear recognition of what God is not doing today; the ability to identify things that were once part of His program but which are not a part of the current dispensation of grace. Hence, there is a disposition among some dispensationalists to emphasise the negatives. Therefore, the focus is on what God is not doing today to eliminate the demand for confusing and unworthy practices. However, we must accentuate the positive just as vigorously. We must give adequate attention to what it is that God is doing today so that we can understand what imbues the current program and purpose of God. One passage that does this is the following:

Col. 2:6-7

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: [7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Habitually, the Apostle Paul will refer to the Christian life as a "walk." This is a very educational word used by Paul. We understand that a "walk" is to make steady progress, one step at a time through life. The scriptures use the word to describe that steady progress through life of a believer day by day as he serves his Saviour. Hence, we are to make steady, constant progression through our daily lives. How is this to be done? What makes it possible? Paul answers this with a comparison.

Col. 2:6

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

The "as... so" conjunctions of Scripture are meaningful aids for our understanding. Hence, Paul uses something we understand to clarify something he wants us to understand.

"As ye have therefore received Christ:" How did we receive Him? The previous verse leaves little doubt as to the answer:

Col. 2:5

For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.

We were saved by grace through faith. We received through faith the gift God offered by His grace. Hence, God did us a marvellous "unmerited (grace) favour." We did not deserve it, nor did we earn it, nor could we work for it, and He did not owe it to us. God was under no compulsion to act on our behalf. Instead, by acting in love He did us a favour and provided the gift of life through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Because it is a gift, it is completely free. It is given "freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus." Therefore, Gods grace will forever be tied to Calvary. It is by means of the redemption that is in Christ that salvation is possible. The cross is Gods mechanism: Christ crucified, bearing our sins and our guilt, taking our punishment as He dies in our place in order to pay our sin debt. This is Gods grace, His unmerited favour to us. We can only receive this gift by faith:

Ephes. 2:8-9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Faith is the only thing we can do without doing anything, for faith trusts what someone else has done:

Romans 4:5

But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

The only response that grace can accept is faith. This is the fundamental fact of our Christian lives.

Romans 11:6

And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

How does our Christian life begin? "By grace through faith." We take in Gods incredible free gift of special favour by relying on His work on the cross for us.

"So walk ye in Him:" The way we began the Christian life is the way we go on living the Christian life. We began by grace through faith. Hence, we are not saved by grace to then walk by our own efforts. We are to continue as we began:

Romans 5:2

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

We can only make true progress through life only as we move forward by faith in His provisions for us in Christ. Therefore, our walk is ever in Him. Hence, our lives are lived in union with Christ Jesus our Lord. He lives His life through us as by faith we walk in accord with what He is doing in the present dispensation of grace. Therefore, this is why we must be prudent to "rightly dividing the word of truth" so as to know just where we do stand in the purpose of God, and just what He does have in operation today. It is not enough to be scriptural; we must be dispensational which creates soundness in all we do.

Col. 2:7

Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Paul provides a four-fold delineation of our "walk in Him". This will describe for us what consists of the Christian life. The first thing we need to note is that we have been "rooted in Him". Hence, it is something God has done for us, not something we must or can do for ourselves. Moreover, a permanent condition, something was completely accomplished for us in the past and lasts throughout eternity! Being "rooted in Him" is an enlightening way of stating that we have been placed into a living union with Jesus Christ. It is done in the same way a tree sinks its roots deep down into the soil for its life and sustenance. God has taken each believer and rooted us deeply down into His beloved Son so that we are partakers of His life. Hence, our life comes from Him!

Col. 3:4

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

God has so placed us into an oneness with Jesus that He is our life. How does this get accomplished in our lives?

Galatians 3:26-28

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. [27] For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. [28] There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

This passage gives the answer to our question. The moment each believer trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour, God the Holy Ghost places us into union with Christ, making us one with Him. God now sees us in Him "rooted in Him."

1 Cor. 12:13

For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

In the same way my foot is in living union with my leg, which in turn is in living union with our body, which in turn is in a living union with my head; so each member of the human body is one with all the body (more on this later in the chapter), and has the life of the body in it. Likewise, we are in a living union with Christ. Hence, we read the following:

Galatians 3:29

And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

We are Christs therefore we are His possessions. We belong to Him just as the members of our human body belong to us. This was all accomplished by our one baptism placing us into Christ. This baptism is the operation of God and not of any man is clear from 1 Corinthians 12:13. Notice the phrase "by One Spirit are we all baptized into one body." Therefore, our baptism is by "one Spirit". Therefore, this cannot be a water ceremony nor could it be the baptism of the Holy Ghost on Pentecost (a baptism performed by Christ). The baptism of 1 Corinthians 12:13 is the Holy Ghost taking believers and identifying them in the person of Jesus Christ in such a way that they are said to be one with Him. Hence, the Apostle Paul will go on to state the following:

Col. 2:10

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Everything He has done has become ours. A very simple illustration might help explain our oneness with Jesus Christ our Lord. If a person commits a crime, (murder for instance) using his right index finger to pull the trigger of a gun, his left index finger will go to jail too (along with the rest of his body)! The left index finger cannot stand before a judge and argue that it should not be put into jail that it did nothing wrong. Rather, that individuals whole being was involved in the crime and in the sentence handed down by the judge.

In exactly this same way, we are reckoned "crucified with Christ." How? This was all accomplished because we are "in Him", made one with Him by the working of the Holy Ghost. As if this was not wonderful enough, we also read that we have been buried with Him, rose with Him, and seated with Him. What all this means to us is explained in the following verse?

Ephes. 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

A careful, thoughtful reading of Ephesians 1:4-14 will tell us what some of these blessings are. You will see we are richly rewarded with the beginnings of a list of our riches: we are welcomed, and accepted, redeemed, forgiven, enlightened and so much more all in Him. To be "rooted in Him" is to see these astonishing truths in Gods word through the eye of faith.

Gods will today is not found in religious activities -- observing days, keeping the Ten Commandments, and maintaining ceremonial correctness or the like. Instead, it is based on being rooted in Christ, the Holy Spirit Himself placing believers into living union with Jesus Christ. Hence, we are made one with Christ and all He has accomplished through the cross of Calvary. Our walk is based upon our being planted into the good soil of Jesus Christ our Lord!

The second part of the four-fold equation in Colossians 2:7 is we are "built up in Him." Being "rooted in Him" is our permanent position in Christ; being "built up in Him" is its present impact. Our position in Christ is to have a practical effect in the details of our lives.

Galatians 2:20

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

We have been crucified with Christ, hence, we are to reckon ourselves dead to sin (Rom.6:11). Our Old man was crucified with Him, therefore let us cease our parleying and reckon it done. We do not obey the presence of the old nature, but we utterly refuse to acknowledge it. "Old things" are passed away and all things are become new in Him! Faith reckons him dead and we have no more dealings with a dead man. When Christians speak of a daily surrender of the Old Man, they are recognising him as being alive to be surrendered. When they speak of yielding or walking in him, they recognise him as "being alive", to "yield" to or "walk in." Romans 6:6 is a marvellous truth and reality.

Romans 6:6

Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

The very moment we are placed into the Body of Christ, the "Body of sin" is reckoned (ROM.6:11) destroyed. From that point on (Note the word henceforth), we are dead to sin! Praise God, we are now the righteousness of Christ (2 Cor.5:21). We were buried with Him - thus we are also raised with Him. Hence, we set our affection on things above (Col.3:2). We have been seated in heavenly places in Christ - we have free and unrestricted access to God with boldness and confidence (Eph.3:12). Being "rooted in Him" is our position; being "built up in Him" is our privilege and it is all in Him!

What Christ did, we did as part of Him. Faith is trusting Gods Word rather than our own reasoning or intellect. God says all believers are in Christ. Therefore, they are "dead to sin, but alive unto God". When we actually believe and trust this and make decisions based on the truth of it, we allow the Holy Ghost the freedom to take this truth and liberate us from what we once were. Evil actions and attitudes are replaced with righteousness, and true holiness all in Christ.

When by faith we build into our lives what the scriptures tell us Christ has done for us today, we are filling our lives with the wherewithal that enables us to reflect who we are in Christ. Only as we do what He is doing, and recognising what He has made us, do we build up our daily lives? Anything other than this is tearing down, destroying, rather than edifying. This is why a correct, sound understanding of the rightly divided Word is vital to our spiritual life and health. This is the only means of gaining a viewpoint of life that conforms to Gods viewpoint.

Grace is what builds and motivates the Christian life.

Acts 20:32

And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them, which are sanctified.

Titus 2:11-12

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Gods grace is teaching us how God has blessed us in Christ. This is the Holy Spirits way to get us to respond in love and obedience to Gods love for us. As we build into our lives the things that Christ has provided us by grace, we are "built up in Him." The more fully we come to understand and believe to be true all that God has freely provided for us in Christ, the more the Holy Ghost can take those truths and set them free in our daily lives to have their desired impact.

This is what Paul is referring to when he urges "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom" (Col.3:16). "To dwell" is to settle down and feel at home. When Gods grace to us in Christ becomes so real and familiar that it is at home in our lives, a supernatural transformation takes place: our position becomes our practice. We call this issue of being "built up in Him" edification of the believer. This only comes as we build an edifice or structure of sound doctrine in our souls. Hence, this internal edifice gives us the stability, protection and motivation to function as members of the Body of Christ should function. Therefore, we must be "stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught." This then is Pauls third part of our walk "in Him." Only as the truth of Gods Grace is understood increasingly are we assured that we grow and are balanced in our spiritual lives.

There is no way to get past the word "faith." Here Paul is referring to the doctrine taught to him by Jesus Christ. As we build a reservoir of the "word of His grace" in our soul, it will build stability in our lives and it will give us the ability to stand against the pressures and trials of life and to experience our adult sonship status as members of the Body of Christ. Therefore, the issue today becomes one of sound doctrine.

2 Tim. 1:13-14

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love, which is in Christ Jesus. [14] That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

In the same way, that Satan directly opposed Israels kingdom program while Christ was on earth, so he has his policy of opposition to Gods present program of grace. Hence, Paul warns:

Col. 2:8

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Clearly, there are other programs in the world besides Gods program. There is a satanic program of evil in operation against us. The goal is to spoil the believer. Spoil is a military term, which means to "take captive." Hence, Satan wants to make us prisoners of war, and thus neutralise us in our battle against him. Some of these other programs are listed for us in Col.2:16-19.

Col. 2:16

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:

Col. 2:18-19

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, [19] And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

The root problem of all these other programs is that they are "not holding the Head." Therefore, these systems hinder Christians from realising and remembering our identity in Christ -- that we are in Him and that our spiritual nourishment flows from Him. The result is a failure to be properly stablished in the faith. The following text is an excellent verse on how to "hold the Head":

Col. 3:1-2

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. [2] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

When we put our thoughts and desires on Him, as all we have in Him and all that God is doing in Him become the focus that rules and dominates our lives, we find that this has a transforming effect and we are soon "abounding therein with thanksgiving." This, Pauls fourth point, is the only true response of an intelligent understanding of Gods Grace! It is what makes us spiritually vital and vigorous. When we become firmly established in the faith, when these truths take root in our lives, we begin to abound in thanksgiving and true gratitude to God.

The true stimulus for faithful service is a heart filled to overflowing with gratitude to God for all He has given us as a free gift of His grace. Paul writes the following:

2 Cor. 5:14

For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

Hence, the above summarises what the true grace motivation is. When His great love for us begins to abound in our understanding, we can do nothing else but ---

Philip. 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.

Used by permission and Written by Richard Jordan    
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