- Locate the Passage
2:6-7 commences the hortatory section of the letter. The command to “walk in Him” and the subsequent imperatives are given on the basis of the grounds of Christ’s supremacy and Paul’s faithful ministry given in 1:15-2:5.
- Identify the Genre
The macro level is epistolary. The micro level is hortatory. Notice the shift to the imperative command in vs. 6, “so walk in Him.”
- Determine the Structure of the Passage
The structure of the paragraph is straightforward. There is a main indicative verb (“you have received Him”) in vs. 6, followed by the prominent imperative verb (“so walk in Him”). This verb is modified by a group of four participles. The first three participles describe the means by which the Colossians are able to walk in Christ (“being rooted…being built up…being established”). The fourth participle describes a result of walking with Him (“overflowing with thanksgiving”).
- Exegete the Passage
2:6a states the presupposition to the command given in vs. 6b, that the Colossian believers have indeed received Jesus Christ as Lord. Notice the two confessional statements combined in this phrase: Jesus is the Christ and Jesus is the Lord. This indicative precedes the imperative purposefully. Paul uses a present active imperative to exhort the Colossian believers to walk with the Lord in a manner consistent with the way they received Him: “In the same way you received Jesus, acknowledging Him as both your Messiah and your Lord, continue to walk in Him.” The term “walk” is a Hebraism that refers to the entirety of a person’s life. Paul here urges the Colossians not to veer off the path of following Jesus, to remain steady in their pursuit of and union with Christ.
2:7 contains four participles that modify the imperative “walk.” The first three are in the passive tense, indicating that the Colossians are being acted upon. The fourth is in the active tense, indicating what the Colossians are to do themselves. The three passive participles explain God’s work in the believers: He will root them, build them up, and establish them in the faith, just as they were taught. Understood in light of Paul’s exhortation for the Colossians not to be deceived by false teaching, this verse gives great hope for those in danger of apostasy. The Lord Himself will put the roots of their faith deep; He will build their faith; He will confirm it. This speaks of the initiative of God in bringing believers into union with Himself. He both will save and sustain.
The participle in the active voice in vs. 7 explains the appropriate response God’s activity ought to engender in the Colossians. The result of God’s rooting them, building them up, and establishing them is that they will overflow with thankfulness. Gratitude is the proper response to and result of God’s grace at work in the believer’s life.
- Let the Structure of the Text Drive the Structure of the Sermon
- The Indication of the Christian Life (2:6a) “as you have received Him…”
- The Imperative of the Christian Life (2:6b) “so walk in Him”
- The Implications of the Christian Life (2:7)
- What God Does
- Foundation – “rooted”
- Construction – “built up”
- Confirmation/Certification – “established”
- How We Respond
- Gratitude – “overflowing with thanksgiving”
- What God Does