The Church’s Walk


Colossians 2:6–7 (ESV): 6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.


In this letter, Paul emphasized that all of life, especially for the believer, is about Christ. Christ is the image of invisible God. Christ existed before all things. Christ created all things. In Christ, the universe operates; without him, it would disintegrate. Christ is the head of the Church. Through Christ, God reconciles sinners to Himself. The mystery of the gospel… is Christ.

In these two verses, Paul then applied what he had so far set up concerning the preeminence of Christ, saying: Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him.

The Christian walk, or life, is to be lived in Christ. As Jesus taught his disciples, He is the vine and we are the branches; our spiritual life is found in Christ (John 15:1-5). If we are severed from Christ, we will die spiritually (John 15:6). No, we cannot be accidentally or maliciously severed from Christ by some other actor. But sin does separate us from him. If we make a practice of willful sin, we demonstrate that we do not truly belong to God (1 John 3:4-10).

This letter, obviously, was written to the church in Colossae, not one or two individuals in that city. Therefore, it should not surprise us that the you of Colossians 2:6 is plural, indicating “you all” not any specific “you”.

Again, it is obvious that the Church of God is made up of individuals who must individually live faithfully for Christ. At the same time, it is worth considering the fact that Paul wrote this admonition to the church in general, not just to the individual.

The point simply is that while we individually are responsible to walk or live in Christ, we also walk in Christ in community.

Paul wrote this letter to address false teaching that sought to infiltrate the community of Christ. The church as a community needed to both reject this false doctrine and to embrace the life in Christ to which God has called us.

Paul gave three word pictures describing how we walk or live in Christ. Each of these word pictures have an individualistic element, but they also have a corporate application.

How does the Church then walk, or live, in Christ?

1. The Church grows deep in Christ

Colossians 2:6–7 (ESV): 6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted

The Greek word for rooted is errizomenoi, the root of which is rhizoo meaning “to cause to take root; to plant, fix firmly, establish; rooted” (A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament).

The reader’s mind is quickly taken to the root system of a well established tree that is often as large and expansive underground as the branches and limbs above.

The psalmist pictured such a person well in Psalm 1:3–4 (ESV): 3  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Not all trees are equal. Palm trees often have a very shallow and limited root system, and are easily knocked over by a storm. During our time in the Caribbean, I saw palm trees uprooted with a root system maybe 6-8 feet in diameter and 3-4 feet deep. Oak trees, on the other hand, have an extensive root system. In our backyard, we have an old tree with gnarly roots that extend some distance away from its trunk. What makes a good root system for a tree may not make for the best pathway in one’s yard!

Both the psalmist and Paul pictured the follower of God like a deeply rooted tree, flourishing with the nourishment provided in Christ, bursting with the fruit of the Spirit.

2. The Church grows up in Christ

Colossians 2:6–7 (ESV): 6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him

The Greek for built is epoikoodomeo and means “to build upon, to erect a superstructure” (The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament). Thus, the imagery here is of a building being constructed, bricks laid upon bricks to create a massive, secure house.

This imagery reminds us of the same word picture Peter employed in his first epistle:

1 Peter 2:4–6 (ESV): 4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

It is crucial that we remember who builds the Church. In Matthew 16 Jesus quizzed the Twelve on who they believed him to be. Peter answered with that great affirmation: Matthew 16:16 (ESV): “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In response, Jesus said, Matthew 16:17–18 (ESV):

“Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Christ will build His Church! Now in Colossians 2:7, Paul admonishes the believers to be built up in Christ. “Built”, as well as “rooted” and “established” are verb forms that denote action that happens rather than action that one must do. We do not build ourselves up in Christ; rather, we are built up as we walk in Christ.

Yet it is essential that we must walk or live in Christ – individually and corporately. When we review Jesus’ letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2-3, we find that his commendation or condemnation of the various churches all depended on this: the churches’ life in Christ.

Consider the first two churches as examples. The love of Ephesus Church for Christ had been abandoned, despite their good works, and so they were about to lose their status of “church”. Smyrna Church was suffering but Christ challenged them to be faithful unto death and he would give them the crown of life.

As we walk in Christ, he builds us as part of His great Church. It has been said that if you start a church, you may end up with a church, but if you make disciples who make disciples, you will always end up with a church.

Our job is to make disciples who make disciples – to help people walk in Christ. If we do so, the church will be built in Christ!

3. The Church grows strong in Christ.

Colossians 2:6–7 (ESV): 6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith,

The Greek word that is rendered established is bebaioo and means to “cause to believe, establish a belief”, “verify, cause something to be known as certain”, or “increase in inner strength, implying greater firmness of character.” (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament))

Paul pictured the Church walking in Christ as strong and settled in their faith, not easily moved by winds of various doctrines or the waves of changing times. Rather, the church that lives in Christ is anchored in its faith.

Another scripture that pictures the Church established in Christ is Ephesians 4:11–16 (ESV) which says:

11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

I think it is important to pair this scripture in Ephesians with Colossians 2:6-7 because, while these verses necessarily speak to the individual Christian’s need to be walk in Christ in order to be established in his or her faith, Paul was writing to the church as a group, urging them together to walk in Christ in order to be established in their faith..

Ephesians 4 thus illuminates the role of apostles/prophets/evangelists/pastors/teachers in equipping the believers to do the work of ministry which builds up the body of Christ, resulting in unity and a maturity that is characterized by an established, immovable faith.

As the Church walks in Christ, we all grow strong and become mature spiritually. The close community and fellowship strengthens each one of us. As Proverbs 27:17 (ESV) says: 17  Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.


Individualism is often championed by our faith today, whether intentionally or not.

I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus

I have decided to follow Jesus

No turning back, no turning back

Though none go with me still I will follow

Though none go with me still I will follow

Though none go with me still I will follow

No turning back, no turning back.”

The sentiment in this chorus is powerful and needed. We must love Jesus above all others and be willing to leave all to follow him. However, this individualist determination must not unnecessarily isolate us or exclude us from our family of faith who have chosen to follow Jesus also. While we must be determined to follow Jesus even if none go with us, the reality is that there are many who have chosen to go with us!

Thus, our scripture in Colossians is a powerful reminder of how the Church grows together. We should commit to grow in Christ with a local fellowship. Together, we can grow strong and faster.


Heavenly Father, thank you for the Church, as well as my local church. Thank you for working in us to make us grow. Help us to be faithful to walk in you. We pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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