On Tuesday nights several people have been gathering together to study Colossians. We’re in Chapter 2 now and we rotate the teaching betwixt three of us. Tomorrow night is my turn to teach. I’ve turned to Ligon Duncan several times to get his insights from the text from when he and his people of First Presbyterian Church, Jackson went through Colossians. Ligon comments on what Paul is trying to do in 2:1-7
There are people in Colossae who are teaching the Christians there that what they believe about Christ is fine, but if they really want to grow in the Christian faith, they need to move beyond Christ. They need to supplement Christ. They need to add something to Christ. The Apostle Paul combats that teaching by showing us who Christ is and what He has done and then asking if Christ is who I say He is and if Christ has done what I say He has done, why would you possibly look anywhere else for Him if you truly want to grow in the Christian life.
I’m with Duncan, who is with Paul on the issue of discipleship. The Christian life is about Christ. It is about being conformed to his image and dying to self. Christ is not a stepping stone unto further religious enlightenment beyond him. Nor is Christ a stepping stone to move on to a better life in this world. Jesus is not a means unto an end so that you and I can make gods of ourselves or anyone else for that matter. Jesus as the Apostle would later say in the epistle, “is your life.”
Many look at Christ and make him a spring board or a step stool to further religious affections. He’s just one teacher in a line of teachers. Jesus+something is always going to fail. Its only the person and work of Christ that you and I can find hope in. Jesus + nothing = everything.
As I know many may not use Christ as a metaphysical step stool to ‘further enlightenment’ but we do use Christ as a stepping stool unto other things. We might look to him just to give us some piety. We might look to Christ as the initiation in our search for salvation and then we try to earn it by imposing law upon ourselves. We may be inclined to believe the prosperity gospel and see Christ only as a means unto an end of blessing. But Jesus did not die so that you can have a big house that you worship instead of him through a lens of falsehood that says its a life of ‘Blessing.’ Jesus didn’t die to bring you idols, he died to set you free from them and betroth his church in an everlasting covenant sealed by his blood so that we could get the greatest gift of all, himself.
Where else can we look but to the person and work of Christ if we desire to be like him? Why would we look else where? Let us look to Christ for true discipleship, true hope, true salvation and true wisdom.