Academic dissertations often have the most incomprehensible titles. In an effort to help, one website encouraged scholars to sum up their work in one easily understood sentence. The results were quite comic. For example, one complex dissertation titled “Using Zinc Finger Nucleases to Characterize the Regulation of c-MYC Transcription” was summed up in this way: “If you delete pieces of DNA, bad things happen.”
In today’s reading, the message of Colossians is summarized in two verses. In verse 6, Paul urges the church, “Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him.” Both halves of this verse are vital. Paul presents Jesus as the Jewish Messiah and the Lord of all. This is the truth that the Colossians “received.” The word receive as used here means to accept and commit to the apostolic teaching about Jesus. This is what they had received from Epaphras (1:7–8): that Jesus is fully God and fully human, that He died for our sin, rose on the third day, and is coming again.
The second half of the verse is the natural response. Having received Jesus, they should continue to live in Him. Later in the book, Paul will give some practical ideas on what this life will look like. One commentator summarizes Paul’s message in this way, “Let Christ—and no other! for He is Lord—establish your values, guide your thinking, direct your conduct.”
Committing every part of your life to Christ will lead to a life that is not only well-grounded but also one that exhibits a deep thankfulness for what Christ has done (v. 7). When we fully grasp the wonder of God’s love, mercy, and grace, gratitude is the most natural response.
Today’s reading is such a great summary of the book of Colossians that it would be a good idea to write these verses on a card and place it where you can see it regularly. Memorize the verses and reflect on them during your prayer time. As the Psalmist declared, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Ps. 119:11).