Summary: All hope of man’s redemption is founded on Christ, in Whom alone are all complete fullness, perfections, and sufficiency. There is a completion or a filling up, in him, so as to leave nothing wanting.
Opening illustration: There was once a farmer who went to town to purchase seeds for his farm. As he was returning home one of the squash seeds he had purchased fell from his pocket onto the ground. It happened that within a few feet was another seed of a different type. The place where the two seeds lay was rather fertile, and miraculously they took root. After about a week the squash seed showed signs of growth. The second seed showed none. After two weeks the squash began to sprout leaves. The second seed showed none. After seven weeks the squash began to show fruit. The second seed still showed no progress. Four more weeks came and gone. The squash plant reached the end of its life bearing much fruit in that time, but the other seed finally began to slowly grow. Many years later the squash was all but forgotten, but the other tiny seed, an acorn, had grown into a mighty oak tree. Many people want their faith to be like the squash. They want to experience it all right now … rather than be rooted for life.
Let us turn to Colossians 2 and see what Paul proposes for us to be rooted in Jesus.
Introduction: The Gospel was first preached in the cities of the Lycus by Epaphras (Col_1:7; Col_4:12; Phm_1:23), who may also have founded the churches there. The church had never been personally visited by Paul. Col_2:1, appears to indicate that the Colossians were personally unknown to him.
The occasion of the letter was the visit of Epaphras to the apostle in prison, and Paul’s communication with Colossae in the matter of the restoration of Onesimus. Whether Epaphras shared his captivity or not (see on Phm_1:23), he did not return to Colossae with this letter, but remained in Paul’s company (Col_4:12); and his stay in Rome was long enough to put the apostle fully in possession of the dangers which menaced the Colossian church. Paul took the opportunity of Tychicus’ journey to Colossae with Onesimus, to send this letter.
This epistle was sent because of some difficulties which arose among the Colossians, probably from false teachers, in consequence of which they sent to the apostle. The scope of the epistle is to show, that all hope of man’s redemption is founded on Christ, in Whom alone are all complete fullness, perfections, and sufficiency. The Colossians are cautioned against the devices of Judaizing teachers, and also against the notions of carnal wisdom, and human inventions and traditions, as not consistent with full reliance on Christ. In the first two chapters the apostle tells them what they must believe, and in the two last what they must do; the doctrine of faith, and the precepts of life for salvation.
How are we rooted in Christ?
1. Steadfast in Faith (vs. 1 & 5): spiritual warfare
Greek, “the firm (or ‘solid’) foundation.” As “order” expresses the outward aspect of the Church; so “steadfastness” expresses the inner basis on which their Church rested. The Greek literally implies not an abstract quality, but the thing in the concrete; thus their “faith” here is the solid thing which constituted the basis of their Church.
In the grace of faith, and the exercise of it on Christ, in opposition to doubting’s and unbelief; whereby God is honored, and with which he is well pleased; souls are filled with peace and joy; Satan is resisted and overcome; and the hearts of others, particularly ministers of the Gospel, are comforted: or in the doctrine of faith respecting Christ, in which they stood fast; notwithstanding there was a majority against it, the wise and learned, the rich and mighty, did not receive it; and though it was opposed by false teachers, persecuted by profane men, and loaded with reproach and obloquy; and also in the profession of it, which they held without wavering: now to see a set of Christians, a church of Christ walking together in Gospel order, steady in their faith on Christ, abiding by the doctrine of faith, and maintaining an honorable profession, how beautiful and delightful is it!
2. Walk in Christ (vs. 2 & 6): in love
As the members of an human body are, by joints and bands; as love is the bond of union between God and his people, Christ and his members, so between saints and saints; it is the cement that joins and keeps them together, and which edifies and builds them up, and whereby they increase with the increase of God; it makes them to be of one heart and one soul; it renders their communion with one another comfortable and delightful, and strengthens them against the common enemy, who is for dividing, and so destroying; and is what is the joy of Gospel ministers, and what they labor at and strive for, and which is another reason of the apostle’s conflict: not only in imitation of him as he walked, in the exercise of grace, as love, patience, humility, and meekness, and in the discharge of duty; but by faith in him, going on in a way of believing in him, always looking to him, leaning on him, and deriving grace and strength from him: to walk in Christ, is to walk in and after the Spirit of Christ, under his influence, by his direction, and through his assistance; and to walk in the doctrine of Christ, abiding by it, and increasing in the knowledge of it; and to walk in the ordinances of Christ, which with ills presence and spirit, are ways of pleasantness and paths of peace: particularly here it may signify, to make use of Christ, and walk on in him, as the way, truth, and the life; as the only way of access to God, and acceptance with him; as the way of salvation, as the only true way to eternal life and happiness, in opposition to every creature, angels, or men; the worshipping of the one, or works done by the other.