Paul told the Colossians who they were: Christ’s. He told them who Christ was: all. He told them who he was: their advocate. Only afterward he begins to refute the falseness of what others were teaching them. He begins with a “therefore.”
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. ~Colossians 2:6-7
Therefore; because of this reason. What reason? Because of who they are, who Christ is, and who Paul is, do thus and so.
Paul’s fulcrum is not his obvious authority. It is not his pristine religious background, his knowledge, his rightness, or even his miraculous example of a changed life. Paul’s fulcrum – his starting and ending point upon which his case for Christ’s sufficiency in the life of his fellow believers is Christ’s sufficiency itself.
Now here’s an interesting concept. According to Paul’s example, refuting heresy in the church does not base itself upon insufficient things. It cannot. How could so many miss this? We do. This means that no matter who is refuting, correcting, or debunking Satan’s lies – whether they be apostle, pastor, teacher, or pope – the basis is the same. It is the position and authority of Christ to which a gospel instructor must point.
Man abuses authority. His position is insufficient. No matter how high and noble, man’s religion will never be religious enough. His religious piety is insufficient. Man’s knowledge gives way to pride. His knowledge is insufficient. Man’s right doing and right saying is always imperfect. Man’s righteousness is insufficient. Even a man who has a miraculous conversion and great example of God’s providential hand on his life has nowhere to go but back to Christ himself. Man’s experience is insufficient.
Nothing in man convinces man to repent and believe the truth. This – the power – is found in Christ alone. Paul knows. It keeps him humble. Paul rides his doctrinal amendments in on the shirt tails of the trustworthiness of Christ’s work in them, in the world, and in himself.
Therefore, he does not say, “As you received me, so walk like me.” He says, “As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.” Many a minister mistakes one for the other. While it is true enough that a minister must make the most of himself and walk worthy – his example ought to be worth following – yet, the cornerstone of correction is Christ.
Herein Paul begins. He has reassured them of their faith. He has pointed to Christ. He has personally opened his heart candidly to them. Now, he tells them to “walk” in Christ the very same way they received Christ.
And how was that?
In faith. He is telling his students that what they already know is all they need to know. Hey guys – what’s new is not true and what’s true is not new. Don’t fall for the emergent ideas. They are false. Stick with the program here, fellas. Christ. Christ is your tree of life. Christ is your foundation. He is the roots. He is the center. He is the Truth. He is the fulcrum for all else. Do not add to him, rather, draw from him.
Oh, yeah, and be thankful. Abundantly, excessively, unmistakably thankful. Abound with thanksgiving. He tells us why:
Christ is fully God come in the flesh; he is the head of every authority and you are full of him. Are you going to let earthly authorities override his Word? You are among the chosen because he has circumcised your hearts. You died with him when you were baptized. You were raised with him by his awesome power. He brought you back to life! You! Even you who sinned so severely! He forgave you. He cancelled your debt. He fulfilled the law for you. He won victoriously for you!
Remember? Be thankful. You are loved.
Genius. Paul wins on so many levels. He knows how to speak to people because he knows how not to. He’d been there and done that pre-conversion.
Do you want to be an effective corrector? Come as Paul, not Saul. One pointed to Christ, the other, man.