By Adam Pursel
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him…”
I hope that you have received Christ Jesus the Lord. I really do. For those of you who have, I would like you to reflect on a question: How did you do that?
Did you attend a certain minimum number of religious services?
Did you give away the magical-minimum-monetary amount needed to earn God’s love?
Did you achieve the moral improvement necessary to gain salvation?
No. No you didn’t. There is no God-given minimum number of religious services to attend. There is no “magical-minimum-monetary amount” to earn God’s love. There is no threshold of moral improvement that we can leverage to impress God and so earn salvation. We receive Christ Jesus the Lord by grace through faith*. In other words, it’s a free gift from God to us. We receive this free gift by trusting God…by trusting His declaration that Jesus’ death and resurrection comprise the only way for our salvation. That’s the message of the Gospel.
This is so important for us because of what Paul says in Colossians 2:6. In effect, Paul invites us to consider how we received Christ Jesus the Lord. Then, he tells us that we walk in Christ in the same manner as we received Christ. So, how did we receive Christ? By trusting the Gospel. And how do we walk in Christ? By trusting the Gospel. We don’t ever graduate or outgrow our need to trust the Gospel. The Gospel is how we receive Christ. The Gospel is how we walk in Christ. This directly contradicts an all-too-common mentality among Christians…we think: “I get in by trusting; I stay in by obeying.” This is a lie from the depths of Hell. The Scriptures repeatedly declare that we get in and we stay in by trusting Jesus. Period. Full stop. Nothing more to add. Not religious attendance. Not generosity. Not moral improvement. Not anything else you might add to the list. Just the beautiful news of Jesus – the Gospel**.
Please take a moment and read Colossians 2:6-12. Afterwards, I would encourage you to think through the following questions:
- Have you received Christ Jesus the Lord? If so, how did you do that? If not, what’s holding you back?***
- Do you find your heart agreeing with the statement, “I get in by trusting; I stay in by obeying.”? In what ways does this contradict Colossians 2:6-7?
- What can you begin to do to more faithfully walk in Christ?
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Col 2:6–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
*Check out Ephesians 2:8-10
**It is true that trusting Jesus includes listening to Jesus (and, thus, doing things like attending church, giving away our time and money, and improving morally). But those things result from our salvation. They don’t contribute to our salvation.
***Have questions? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.