Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Because we have been grafted into Christ, we have entered into Him. Our entrance into Christ is related to life and to the growth of life. We do not enter into Christ in the same way that we walk into a room. Walking into a room has nothing to do with either life or growth. However, entering into Christ involves the process of growth. In Romans 6:5 Paul says that “we have grown together with Him in the likeness of His death.” Now we are growing with Christ in the likeness of His resurrection.
In the foregoing message we pointed out that it is in baptism that we grow together with Christ in the likeness of His death. Baptism is not a lifeless ritual; it is an experience that is very much related to life and growth. Whenever we baptize believers, we should help them realize that in baptism they will grow together with Christ, because they have been grafted into the crucified and resurrected Christ. Christ’s crucifixion provided an opening in Him for us to be grafted into Him, and His resurrection ushers us into the process of growth. Now that we have been grafted into Christ, we should grow in Him day by day.
In 1 Corinthians 3 Paul also speaks of growth. In verse 9 he points out that the believers are God’s farm. In verse 6 he says, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the growth” (Gk.). This implies that the saints are plants in God’s farm. In the church, God’s farm, we are plants growing.
The concept of growing like plants is also found in Romans 11, where Paul uses the illustration of grafting a branch from a wild olive tree into a cultivated olive tree. In the eyes of God, we all are plants, or trees. In Romans 6:5 Paul uses a particular Greek word to indicate growth. It is very difficult to find an English equivalent for this word, which means to grow by being planted or grafted. Both planting and grafting are for growth. A tree is planted in the soil so that it may grow. Likewise, the purpose of grafting is growth. Recently, a brother pointed out a marvelous definition of this Greek word found in Commentary on Romans by Frederick Louis Godet. According to Godet (p. 243), the word denotes “the organic union in virtue of which one being shares the life, growth, and phases of existence belonging to another.” Through the organic union of two plants, accomplished by grafting, the one plant partakes of the life and characteristics of the other plant. What a wonderful way of growth! Applying this definition to our spiritual experience, we may say that we have been grafted into the “tree” of the all-inclusive, life-giving, processed Triune God, who is the all-inclusive Spirit. Having become one with Him through grafting, we now partake of the life and characteristics of this all-inclusive One, and in this way we grow.
In the book of Colossians there are implications that believers are to grow like plants rooted in the soil. In order to understand the Bible, we need to understand both the direct meaning of the words and also the implications. Sometimes the revelation expressed through the implications of a verse is deeper than that conveyed in the direct statements. This is true of Colossians 2:6 and 7. Verse 7 speaks of our “having been rooted” in Christ. This implies that, in God’s eyes, we are plants. Those who have been baptized into Christ are plants rooted in Christ.
The phrase “having been rooted and being built up in Him” is related to those who are walking in the preceding verse. We are to walk in Christ, having been rooted and being built up in Him. This means that we are to walk by having been rooted in Christ. If we have not been rooted in Him, we cannot walk in Him. As living plants, we are walking plants. We walk by being rooted in Christ. What wonderful, mysterious plants Christians are! We are plants who both walk and grow.
Some may think that it is not logical to say, on the one hand, that we can be rooted and, on the other hand, that we walk. How can one who has been rooted in Christ also walk in Him? The answer is that the land in which we are rooted is a living land. Since we have been rooted in a living, moving land, we live and move in Him. Hence, it is not actually that we do the walking, but it is the land which moves. Praise the Lord that we are rooted in Christ who is the living land! Because the land moves, we can move also. According to the implication of these verses, it is proper to speak in this way.
We should not think that we are the ones walking in the land. If we try to walk, we shall stumble and fall. Then we may be defeated by Satan and led astray. We should regard ourselves as plants rooted in Christ as our living land. As those who have been rooted in Him, we walk as He moves. This is to walk in Him.
Colossians 2:6 says to walk in Him. This adverbial phrase modifies the word walk. It indicates that we cannot walk in Christ unless we have been rooted in Him. Thus, we walk in the living land in which we have been rooted.
As we consider 2:6 and 7, we see that to grow in Christ is to walk in Him. We have pointed out that “having been rooted and being built up in Him” is related to the word walk. This phrase gives us the meaning of walking in Christ. Because we have been rooted in the moving Christ, we walk in Him.
The fact that walking in Christ is a matter of growing is indicated by the word rooted. Plants are rooted in the soil for the purpose of growth. If a tree is to grow, it must be properly rooted. Without roots, a tree will die, for it has no way to absorb moisture from the soil. A tree is able to grow, however, when it absorbs moisture through its roots.
Although the rooting is for the growing, 2:6 does not speak of growing, but of walking in Christ. However, the implied significance of these terms is that genuine growth consists of our walking in Christ. We do not grow by walking in ourselves; we grow by walking in Christ. We have seen that if we would walk in Him, we must first be rooted in Him as the living land. Then we walk as He moves and acts. Such a walk is genuine growth.
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