A Study of Colossians 2:4–7
And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 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. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him: Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:4-7)
Now we come back to the thought that Paul began in 1:23: “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel”. In the last several studies we looked at the second part of that verse and how Paul expanded the second thought of “whereof I Paul am made a minister”. Now we look into this “beholding your order”, which really does sound like a military inspector, something like when the platoon is visited by a general, or another high ranking officer. And this is what Paul longed to see: a well disciplined troop standing firm against the enemies of the gospel: those who would move them away from the hope of the gospel, and their completeness in the finished work of redemption and reconciliation found in Christ, and only in Christ.
And those who would move us away from the hope of Christ do not come to us trying to lure us into moral sin, as often as they will move us from the liberty we have in Christ into a religious system. This is exactly what the Colossians were being warned against as we see this epistle unfold. But first we have this “call to order” from the Apostle to see that they are walking in correct doctrine. He first wants to remind them of what they have, and then tell them of where they are not to go. He speaks of them being “stablished in the faith”. Now, this idea of establishment in the faith seems to have the connotation of holding up to scrutiny and being proven officially. The Greek term translated “stablished” here is βεβαιόω—bebaioō. It is used in Mark 16:20, translated “confirming”, speaking of the signs following the 12 Apostles as they ministered as witnesses to the Nation of Israel to prove the veracity of the Kingdom proclaimation and the validity of the claim that the Lord Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. It is used by Paul in Romans 15:8 about the ministry of our Lord to “the circumcision”, confirming the promised made unto the fathers. It is used elsewhere as well. Paul uses it in writing to the Hebrews, saying that “it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats” (Hebrews 13:9), speaking as to moving away from the ordinances of Judaism to the grace that is in Christ Jesus. See the following entry from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:
“to make firm, establish, make secure” (the connected adjective bebaios signifies “stable, fast, firm”), is used of “confirming” a word, Mar 16:20; promises, Rom 15:8; the testimony of Christ, 1Cr 1:6; the saints by the Lord Jesus Christ, 1Cr 1:8; the saints by God, 2Cr 1:21(“stablisheth”); in faith, Col 2:7; the salvation spoken through the Lord and “confirmed” by the Apostles, Hbr 2:3; the heart by grace, Hbr 13:9 (“stablished”).
Another word is also translated “stablished”, which book-ends Paul’s epistle to the Romans. I have often spoken of this epistle to the Romans as the first place that all who name the Name of Christ need to get a firm understanding of first:
For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established…(Romans 1:11)
Now to Him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began… (Romans 16:25)
If we get the teachings in the epistle to the Romans wrong, or do not get them and become established in them, we CANNOT move on, for we cannot be stedfast on shaky ground. Paul tells us that God is of power to stablish (make stedfast, stabilize, plant firmly), according to the Gospel that Paul imparted in the epistle to the Romans, and we would be wise to be established in what the word of God says is of power to stablish us.
Now as we get back to Colossians, Paul gives the “orders” pertaining to the proper walk: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him”. We received Christ by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). This is how we walk as well. There will always be those that wish to move us from the grace of Christ to another “gospel”. This is nothing new:
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:3-4)
There are still those that preach “another Jesus”, who is not Christ Jesus the Lord, but some other person made in their image imitating the Lord Jesus revealed in the scriptures. He is certainly nothing like the Blessed person that Paul set forth “Who is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn of every creature…” and who is “the Head of the body, the church: Who is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:15-18). It is not surprising that those who do not believe do not yet see this. We read in the scripture that “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4), but we who are believers have no excuse not to keep our eyes fixed on Christ Jesus the Lord as Paul proclaimed him, and to “Set [our] affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).
In Galatians, the false doctrine brought in was a reverting back to Jewish things which the Gentiles Galatians were never under. The Gentiles as such were given up and given over (Romans 1:24-32) and would now be received as reconciled by the blood of the cross (Colossians 1:22). The saints, the called out ones, or the Church which is His Body is not called to a new religion, as Paul warns against here, but called to walk in the way that they received Christ—by grace through faith. It is IN HIM!
So walk ye…IN HIM!
Rooted and built up…IN HIM!
Do not not let any “smooth talking snake-oil salesman” religious leader try to take away the freedom in which we walk in Christ. We will never be more complete than we are in the One Who is the Head of all principalities and powers.