Colossians 2:6-7, “As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.”
For far too long the importance of Christ Jesus the Lord has been underscored and minimized within the confines of many Christian congregations. Rather than preach Christ, and Him crucified we insist on preaching anything else except Him. I don’t think I need to go into detail as to what is being preached in most churches today, because most if not all of you already have a sense of what I am alluding to.
Today I would like to explore the contrast between receiving the person of Christ, and receiving the teachings of Christ. I know that it is debatable whether or not most churches are even relaying the teachings of Christ, but this is a topic for another time.
I often hear men pontificating and extolling the virtues of their chosen denominations, implying if ever so subtly that their denomination, their set of teachings, is the only way to get to heaven, all the while omitting the person of Christ from the equation. To receive Christ is not to receive a set of teachings, no matter how true and noble those teachings might be, but rather to receive the person of Christ into our lives, that He may restore, heal and bring to life that which was dead in sin.
As controversial as the following sounds, it must be said, the teachings of the gospel can save no man if the sinful soul has not received Christ Jesus the Lord into their hearts as a living person, allowing Him to transform them. Good people go to hell. Moral people go to hell. Why? Because they have not received the Christ into their hearts, they have not made Him Lord over all, and as the Bible so aptly puts it, no amount of good works, or charitable deeds, can sway God’s righteous judgment if His Son is not found in the individual heart. Jesus did not come to bring a set of moral codes; He did not come to be just another teacher; He did not come to be just another prophet; He came to give life!
It is true that faith comes by the hearing of the Word, but if once having heard the Word the soul does not move toward Christ, if salvation is not sought, all the soul is left with is the hearing, and the hearing without the intended result, is in vain. When Jesus is received, He saves. The teaching comes after that one crucial juncture in the life of every man.
Too often those who have come to know the person of Christ, who receive Him as Lord and Savior of their lives, begin to distance themselves from Him, and endeavor to fill their hearts with teaching. As believers, we must, at all cost, retain the intimacy with Christ throughout our lives. Ask most believers if their intimacy level with Jesus is as great as when they first knew Him, and if they are honest they will say it is less. We may have grown in knowledge, we may have grown in wisdom, but it cannot be at the cost of sacrificing intimacy with our Lord.
Our primary objective as children of God cannot be the study of prophecy or end time events; it cannot be the ceaseless participation in new movements and outpourings, but rather to walk in Him, to be rooted in Him, built up in Him, and established in the faith.
Movements fade, prophecy comes to pass, but intimacy with Christ is a constant experience, one that can be built upon, one that gives us strength and boldness, peace and joy.
If we have received Christ, and are rooted in Him, though the storms of this life might tear off a few branches, they will not uproot us altogether. The deeper our roots in Christ, the stronger we are as individuals, the more able to stand against the onslaught of the enemy. We can have knowledge of future events, we can have knowledge of the newest teaching and the most recent dogma, but if we are not rooted in Christ, we will be swept away with the first storm, and all the knowledge was for naught.
Christ nourishes us, and if we are rooted in Him, we are also continually built up in Him. When a soul is rooted in Christ, it cannot help but grow, for that which he is rooted in gives life, and life more abundantly, constantly building up the inner man, making him stronger with each passing day.
In the end we must all ask ourselves what it is we have truly received. Was it Christ, or was it the teachings of Christ? Do we have a true and intimate relationship with Him, or are we simply following a set of moral laws like so many others in the world who have never known His love or His grace?
If it is not the person of Christ that we have received, there is still time to bend our knees, gaze toward the heavens, and ask Him into our hearts. Only then will we know the depth of His love, and the reality of His presence.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.