Living it out

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

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. 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. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.  – Colossians 2:6-15 [ESV]

Shrubby Whitevein-II | Hawaii | March 2022

Starting is one thing. Continuing to the end is even more important. If you’re going to take a trip, it’s one thing to get started. But unless you keep going you’ll not arrive at your destination. If you’re going to start a new career, you’d better do more than show up only the first day. 

All that may be true. But a trip or a career is one thing. A life of faith is of infinitely greater importance. So Paul here tells the believers in Colossae that they must keep on walking with Christ, now that they have received him as Lord. Coming to faith is one thing, living that out is the fullness of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord.

Some want to make a distinction between Calling Jesus Savior as opposed to calling him Lord. Savior is the beginning, but they say that we must submit to his Lordship. In other words, to be saved is one thing. To live under Jesus’ lordship is quite another. 

Martin Luther has a helpful insight into this question. He says that to Call Jesus Lord means that we recognize him as Redeemer. He expresses it this way:

I believe Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and true man, born of the virgin Mary, is my Lord who has redeemed me, purchased and won me from sin, death and the power of the devil. He connects Jesus’ Lordship with his redemptive work in our behalf. Then he adds that Jesus did this so that [we] may be his own and live under him in his kingdom and serve him… (from Martin Luther’s Small Catechism, Explanation to the 2nd Article of the Creed)

 This means being built up in the faith, having an attitude of gratefulness, and focusing on Jesus. The mystery of all this is that to be a slave of Jesus is truly freeing. Such is our calling. We have been redeemed. We live now under Christ and serve him. Subservience to any other is slavery of the worst kind. Whether we are given to fleshly desires, envy of others, desire for fame, yearning for wealth, these all enslave us in the worst possible way. They can even choke out our faith. 

Thank God he invites us always to repentance and faith. That’s at least part of what it means to live under Christ in his kingdom, and to walk in the faith to which we have been called.

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