Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
October 22, 1959
NUMBER 24, PAGE 2-3b

An Apostolic Admonition To Christians

J. P. Lusby, Amarillo, Texas

Paul, writing to "the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse," exhorted:

"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power." (Col. 2:6-10.)

How They Received Christ

They received Christ through apostolic preaching, as do all who receive him, although some think it is highly probable that in their case it was indirectly; that is, through the instrumentality of one who was not an apostle, namely, Epaphras. Whether directly or indirectly, it was from the apostles they had learned "how ye ought to walk and to please God" (1 Thess. 4:1,2), and it is from the apostles we learn the same lesson. In this "walk" we should "abound more and more."

The preaching of the apostles was by divine authority. Paul preached what he "received of the Lord." (1 Cor. 11:23; 15:3.) It was a certified gospel which came not from man, but "by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:11, 12.) Peter claimed the apostles "preached the gospel ... with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." (1 Pet. 1:12.) The commandments they gave were "by the Lord Jesus. (1 Thess. 4:2; Matt. 20:28.) They preached the same gospel everywhere (Rom. 1:5; 16:26), and pronounced the anathema of heaven upon anyone, man or angel, who would alter it (Gal. 1:8,9).

The apostles preached "the word of faith." (Rom. 10:8-17.) Through apostolic preaching faith came and with the mouth that faith was confessed. From the heart it was obeyed and freedom from sin was the result. (Rom. 6:17,18.) The Colossians had believed and obeyed the gospel. (Col. 1:4-6; 2:11-13.) They therefore received Christ through "the obedience of faith." (Rom. 1:5; 16:26.) They accepted him as Prophet, Priest, and King. They confessed him as Lord and Master. This resulted from "the hearing of faith." (Gal. 3:2.) You received Christ after the same fashion.

The Apostolic Admonition

"So walk ye in him." How? "As ye have received Christ."

They had received him as "the propitiation for sins." (1 Jno. 2:2.) They had received him as Savior. (Lk. 2:11; Matt. 1:21) They had received him as "the Son of God." (Lk. 1:32,35; Matt. 3:17; Heb. 1:5.) They had received him as the "Lord (Ruler) and Master (Teacher)." (Jno. 13:13,14.) They had received him as Prophet, Priest, and King.

As Prophet he speaks the words of God to us. (Deut. 18:15,18; Acts 3:22, 23; Heb. 1:1,2; Matt. 17:5.) In their confession of him, they had pledged themselves to "hear his voice" and "not the voice of strangers." (Jno. 10:3-5.)

As "high priest forever" (Heb. 6:20) he is "over the house of God" (Heb. 10:21) and by him they could "offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God." (1 Pet. 2:5; Heb. 13:15.) Through him they came "boldly unto the throne of grace" and by him they drew "near with a true heart in full assurance of faith" that they might "obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:14-16; 10:21,22).

As King he commands the subjects of his kingdom. As citizens they were to bow to his mandates and submit to his edicts. They had acknowledged him as "King of kings and Lord of lords." (Rev. 17:14; 19:16.) Therefore, they were bound to his laws.

They had received him as "the head over all things to the church." (Eph. 1:22.) Therefore, there was nothing they could do as a church which he did not authorize. They so walked that "in all things he might have the preeminence." (Col. 1:18.)

They had received Christ by faith (Eph. 3:17), they must walk in him by faith (2 Cor. 5:7 cf. 10:17; Heb. 11:6). They must continue in habitual dependence on him and obedience to him. (Phil. 2:12.) They were to continue to believe in, love, honor, and obey Christ as when he was first preached to them.

Why Walk In Christ?

Why should they thus walk? Because: (1) Christ is the fulness of God. (Col. 2:9; 1:19.) (2) All God's promises are in him. (2 Cor. 1:20.) (3) All spiritual blessings are in Christ. (Eph. 1:3.) (4) He is the only sacrifice for sin. (Heb. 10:26; 7:27; 10:12.) (5) Salvation is in him. (2 Tim. 2:10.) (6) He is our hope. (1 Cor. 15:19; 1 Tim. 1:1; Col. 1:27.) (7) We are "complete in him." (Col. 2:10.

Complete means full, perfect, entire, lacking nothing. There is nothing needful or even to be desired, which Christ does not supply. He is made of God unto us "wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Cor. 1:30,31.) We need no additional instruction, wisdom, help, or encouragement from philosophy or tradition of men. To seek such is to declare dissatisfaction with the divine order and portray lack of faith in the appointments of God. It is to exalt the wisdom and tradition of men above the wisdom and revelation of God. Therefore —

The Warning

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

"Beware" is a word of warning. It means to take heed, look out, guard against. "Beware of dogs . . ." (Phil. 3:2.)

"Lest any man spoil you" is rendered "lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you" in the American Standard Version. A literal translation reads "makes a prey of." And Mr. Thayer comments upon it, "To lead away from the truth and subject to one's sway."

"Any man" — high or low, rich or poor, learned or unlearned, friend or stranger.

"Philosophy" — speculation and opinion — "his philosophy," A.S.V. This "philosophy" is vain and deceitful, human tradition as opposed to divine revelation. It is human wisdom exalted above divine wisdom. It is man's wisdom operating in "areas of silence" as relates to Inspiration.

New Testament churches were commanded to keep opinion and speculation out. (1 Cor. 1:10; 4:6; Phil. 3:16; 2:2.) It is not possible to do this when we speak our preferences and preach our judgments.

Jesus spoke only what the Father said (Jno.12:49, 50). The Holy Spirit did not speak from himself (Jno. 16:13). The apostles spoke what they received (1 Cor. 15:3; 2:12,13; 14:37). If any man or angel should speak anything more or less, the anathema of heaven rests upon him (Gal. 1:8,9). Yet men are fostering in the church of God things for which they freely admit they can find no Scripture. They attempt to justify unscriptural practices by appealing to "expediency," "principle eternal," and "liberty." When challenged for Scriptural authority, they shout: "It is only a matter of judgment!" Yes, human judgment (opinion) — which invades the sphere of divine revelation and brushes aside the authority of God himself! Thus, entertainment and recreation in the garb of "fellowship," centralization in the guise of "cooperation," missionary societies in the form of "sponsoring churches," and various human organizations — evangelistic, benevolent, and educational — have encroached upon the church and infringed upon divine revelation. Such renders service vain (Matt. 15:13). That is what is dividing the body of Christ.

The Antidote

I suppose some have such a rabid aversion to "anti" in any form that they will refuse to take the antidote. Nevertheless, it is prescribed by an inspired apostle. Paul enjoined us with reference to Christ:

"Walk ye in him" — be governed by what he says. "Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith" — the revealed word of God.

"As ye have been taught" — by Inspiration (Heb. 13:7; 2 Tim. 2:2; 3:14-17; 1:13,14; I Tim. 6:20,21).

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly" — keep tradition out.

"Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus" — by divine authority.


The Christian who heeds the apostolic word has the "exceeding great and precious promises" of the gospel.