Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 2:7 Paul speaks of having been rooted in Christ. To be rooted in Him is for the growth in life. In this verse Paul views the believers as plants who have been rooted in Christ as the soil. However, many Christians have not been rooted in Christ adequately.
If we have been rooted in Christ properly, there will be no need to talk much about the ground of the church. The ground of the church is oneness. But the base of this oneness is the one Spirit, the one Lord, and the one God and Father, as mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 4. If we have been truly rooted in Christ, in our experience He will be the base of our oneness. Some Seventh-Day Adventists consider the keeping of the Sabbath another testimony on earth in addition to the local churches. Such a statement indicates a lack of being rooted in Christ. If we have been rooted in Him deeply and properly, we would never say that God has set up another testimony. God’s unique testimony is Jesus Christ. If we have been rooted in Him, nothing will be able to distract us from Him. We all should be able to say, “Lord Jesus, I thank You that I have been rooted in You. I have no standing apart from You.” In the Lord’s recovery we can testify that our ground is Christ and Christ alone.
If we consider the situation of today’s Christianity, we shall see that the various denominations and independent groups have something other than Christ as their ground. The Seventh-Day Adventists have as their ground the keeping of the seventh day, whereas the ground of the Baptist denomination is baptism by immersion. Some denominations, such as the Church of Christ, go so far as to insist that only in their water can a believer be baptized properly. Although some groups insist on baptism by immersion, others oppose it; they claim that baptism is strictly spiritual and in the Spirit.
In 1964 I met a man who argued strongly against baptism in water. He insisted that the baptism spoken of in Romans 6 refers to baptism in the Spirit. He interpreted every New Testament reference to baptism after John the Baptist as baptism in the Spirit. He even became quite angry when his position was challenged according to certain verses. A few days later as I was ministering in a certain place, I was challenged by a woman from the Church of Christ concerning water baptism. Just a few days prior, a man argued with me about baptism in the Spirit. Now a woman boldly asked about water baptism. Neither this man nor this woman had been adequately rooted in Christ. This illustrates the shameful fact that Christians are divided because they take as their ground something other than Christ.
Paul realized the importance of being rooted in Christ. He knew that it was a serious matter to be transplanted from Christ and to be rooted in something else, such as heathen philosophy or Jewish ordinances. He wanted the Colossians to see that philosophy was not the soil in which they had been rooted. They had been rooted in Christ. He is our unique soil.
Having been rooted in Christ, we now are “being built up in Him” (2:7). To be built up is for the building of the Body. Although we have been rooted, we are still in the process of being built up. This is a corporate matter as well as a personal matter. A building is not composed merely of one item, but of many items that have been fitted together. We need to be rooted in Christ and also built up in the church.
Paul was concerned lest the Colossians be distracted from Christ and the church. They had been rooted in Christ, but they still had to go on to be built up in the church. In order to be built up corporately, the Colossians had to forsake the Judaistic observances and the heathen ordinances and philosophies. Otherwise, they would have been transplanted from Christ and rooted in something else. Furthermore, they would have been led astray from the church life. Whenever we take in some kind of philosophy, ordinance, observance, or practice in place of Christ, the church life is annulled. We are divided from those believers who have different opinions concerning these matters. Those who are preoccupied with such things will eventually cease to care about the church life.
In principle, this is what happened to some saints among us who were influenced by certain concepts. As a result of this influence, they lost their heart for the church life. It was no longer possible for them to be built up in a corporate way. How crucial it is to be rooted in Christ and to be built up in Christ and in the church! In this way we experience Christ as the mystery of God.
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