What’s your definition of the Christian life? How do you define practical, Christian living? Is it primarily based on your commitment? Do you believe it’s really up to you? Or, is it solely centered in the person and work of Jesus Christ? Or, is it a combination of both? Here’s what Paul has to say …
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving
What does it mean to “walk in him”? That’s a very important question because it relates to real, practical Christianity. Before we’ll unpack this verse, let’s state the answer: genuine, practical Christian living is only realized in and through Jesus Christ.
Paul stated two main realities: receiving and walking. He restated those realities with “rooted” and “built.” The Christian life consists out of receiving Jesus and walking in Him. It’s about being rooted in Christ and growing up—built—“in him.” Our salvation is entirely centered in Jesus Christ. That’s not only a historical truth, but also an everyday reality.
The first clue is given in a two letter word: just “as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.” How did we receive Him? It was solely by faith, entirely based on grace. We didn’t have anything to offer Him, except our sins, corruptions, and condemnation. We received, as Charles Spurgeon used to say, a full Savior for an empty sinner.
The same is true for all practical Christian living since we still don’t bring anything to the table. We still live by faith in Jesus, receiving His fullness and experience only grace. Salvation, so to speak, is our initial encounter with Jesus as our Savior, while the Christian life is a continual encounter with Him. That’s why Peter stated that the Christian life is growing “in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Salvation is about being rooted in Christ and, consequently, “built up in him.”
Jesus is the root of our Christian life. There’s no true Christian living apart from receiving it from Him. That’s why Jesus said: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Isaiah stated that as follows: “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength” (Isa. 45:24). It’s only in Christ that we’re justified—declared righteous—and it’s only in Him that we receive all the resources for Christian living. That’s an obvious reason to abound in thanksgiving, not just in relation to ourselves, but also in relation to all Christians.
The Devotional Writer
P.S. do you know of anyone who can use encouragement? Why not consider emailing them an E-book about “An Unfathomable Gift!” or “A Glorious Sacrifice” or “Joy to the World”? Just click here.