For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness 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.
Paul is exhorting us that as we have received Christ so we are to walk in Him, and not allow ourselves to be enticed away from Christ. Instead of following the course of this world we are now to follow Christ. If we do allow ourselves to be enticed then we will end up back in the world following worldly ways.
Paul says something similar to the Thessalonians.
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
B6.1 By Faith
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked [LXX: pleased, or was pleasing to] with God: and he was not; for God took him.
It is interesting to see that the Septuagint version translates walked as ‘pleasing to’. It would seem that the writer to the Hebrews had this in mind when inspired to pen his words. We can only please God by faith, and it is said of Enoch that he pleased God, and that was because he walked with God.
The whole eleventh chapter of Hebrews is devoted to OT Saints who pleased God by faith and not sight. One particular example we are given has some relevance to our themes in Colossians.
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
Moses was brought up in Pharaoh’s court. He enjoyed the privileges of the best upbringing of his day, by worldly standards. The best life style, best education and so on. No doubt he was also well informed of their magic and pagan idolatry.
Some commentators go as far as to say that Moses could have been the next Pharaoh if he had so desired. Be that as it may, what we see is that Moses had everything the world of his day could have offered.
Yet there came a time when he made a conscious choice:. Moses chose that the reproaches of Christ were far greater riches that those treasures of Egypt, and he forsook it all to walk with God. He was not enticed by what he saw, heard or experienced in Egypt.
What do we esteem the greater? The world with its enticements, or do we esteem Christ far greater and are willing to forsake all for Him?
This is a choice we all have to make, no one can make it for us: it is our individual decision and ours alone.
B6.2 Things of the Spirit
There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the Law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh , God sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us who walk not in the flesh but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
A full discussion of the above passage is not possible here but we can take the points that are relevant for our purposes from it.
The word condemnation in the book of Romans is the antonym to Justification. In the Roman court of Law if an accused was acquitted he would be said to be justified. If, on the other hand, he was found guilty he would be said to be condemned, and the sentence of the court would then be carried out. This passage is a conclusion to Paul’s argument in the previous chapter. Here in Chapter eight the Apostle talks about walking in the Spirit and the flesh.
Those who are in Christ Jesus are not condemned (found guilty) this is because Jesus was sentenced in our place. Consequently we are justified. The transaction that brings about justification is done by faith, by trusting Christ in what He accomplished at Calvary for us. All this is explained clearly in the previous chapters of Romans.
On new birth we receive Christ and have His Spirit, otherwise we are not His. This means we are to walk in the Spirit and not after the flesh. To be spiritually minded and not carnally minded. It is this aspect that we want to highlight.
To walk as the world does puts us in the category of being Carnal Christians, as we saw in the previous article. And to be carnally minded is death. The ways of the flesh cannot bring life, they only bring death. This is because carnality of mind is enmity with God. Further, being in the flesh means that we can not possibly please God. This implies that being Carnal is not walking by faith. It is a clear cut thing..
B6.3 Faith or enticing words?
The eleventh chapter of Hebrews makes it clear that faith is the substance of things hoped for, or the conviction of Divinely revealed facts. Further Rom.10:17 reveals that faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
When we first believed we heard the gospel. These facts we have no way of proving. Yet we believed these Divinely revealed facts and received Christ. This is how we are to continue. Believe what God has revealed and live in them, walking day by day in the Spirit.
The world and its system rejects God’s all sufficient Word to our hearts and wishes to amend, add or subtract from that revelation. It does it with some form of enticing words, designed to take us off track. Often luring the unwary from the path by use of the senses, as the devil did with Eve. We have a choice do we believe God and His Word or the enticing words of the world?
In the context of the message of the Colossians that means we are to avoid going after Vain Philosophies, Legalism and Mysticism. For these are things of the world (pride of life, lust of the flesh & lust of the eyes) and not God revealed at all. To follow such a path is to be minding Carnal things.
It’s our decision and our responsibility alone as to which path we follow. Christ or the enticing words? Which is it for you reader?