As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him:…
I. CHRISTIAN CONSCIOUSNESS IN ITS APPREHENSION OF CHRIST. "Ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord."
1. There are two opposing theories as to the Person of Christ — the rationalistic, which rules out His Godhead; the revealed, which is the basis of the catholic faith. The one holds to Him as the perfection of humanity, the other as the incarnation of Deity.
2. Two systems of theology widely distinct are dependent on these theories. The one puts man at the centre, and is wholly human; the other enthrones God, and is essentially Divine. Two of the widest extremes of religious life flow from these systems. The first is a religion of self-development, and depends on personal culture. In the second, regeneration is a supernatural birth superinduced by a power coming directly from God. The one has its type in education, the other in faith.
3. There is only one Christ. He is not a variable or divisible quantity. His personality is definite, His claims absolute, His work specific.
4. It is within the one or the other of these systems that we must posit our decisions. We cannot accept of both. If the one is true the other is false. We must be for Christ or against Him.
II. CHRISTIAN CONSCIOUSNESS IN ITS RECEPTION OF CHRIST. "Ye have received."
1. There is agreement with some shades of difference in the terms receiving, believing, trusting, Christ. He who intelligently believes the testimony, trusts in the promise and receives the gift. "To as many as received Him," etc. Here are two things implied.
(1) Faith receives the whole Christ. All that we see of the incarnate Word in His acts, teaching, death, etc., Christian faith accepts. And then a supernatural person necessitates a supernatural mission; and also the system being given, we should expect to find what we do find, a supernatural person its central figure. Christ and His system are co-ordinate and identical. Accept of Christ, and you must receive His truth. Receive the record, and you must accept His person. Faith thus makes all the truth a welcome guest to the Christian heart.
(2) On the side of faith Christ asks and gets the whole of man. The full integrity of the mental and moral life goes over in this act of faith to Christ. Thus there is a virtual exchange of two individual persons, a mutual transfer of relations and interests, out of which comes the sublime unity of a new and indivisible life. "I am crucified with Christ," etc.
2. The life of faith, as embodied in the moralities of Christian living, is thus provided for, and follows this consecrating act. "Rooted and built up and stablished."(1) Life has its genesis in a root — faith in Christ. All life is a feeding thing. From the flower in the wall up to the brain and soul all things live by what they feed upon. In all life there is that into which life strikes its root.
(2) Growth is a result of manifold processes. It is not a mechanical product. You can fabricate material structures: growth is an organic creation. To make an atom or a world or to destroy them may require no more than the instant volition of God. To grow a grain of wheat He employs the grandest forces in the universe; and these are yoked by a thousand subtle laws kept at work by His personal will. How much more grand are the agencies with which He originates, feeds, and glorifies life in the soul of man is seen in this, that in the one service He harnesses law, and in the other He incarnates Himself. "He is our life."(3) In the fervid enunciation of figures the apostle appears for a moment to get into a complication of incongruous similitudes — "walking" implying action, "rooted" demanding rest; and yet there is consistency. Progress upward in the corn, e.g., comes out of fixedness of root. Unroot it, and you kill its growth. So we "grow up in all things into Christ" only as we rest in the fixedness of faith.
III. CHRISTIAN CONSCIOUSNESS IN ITS SUBJECTION TO CHRIST,
1. The emphasis is on the word "Lord." What is this sovereign headship of Christ?
(1) In the Church mediatorially, "He is the head of the body"; administratively, "He is Lord of all"; virtually, and in fact, "He is our life."(2) Higher up in the ranges of spiritual life "in all things He has the pre-eminence." God has highly exalted Him. All the angels of God worship Him.
(3) In the material worlds "He is before all things, and by Him all things consist." They are what He makes them and where He places them. They get their use and glory as He employs them. All agencies, influences, events, ages, are tributary to Christ.
(4) So in the future of the world's history "He must reign." Man's proud intellect, his enterprise, wealth, art, science, etc., are coming, and must finally come, to serve Him.
2. But there is a more close and vital relation in the faith that gives to Christ the lordship over His people. What, then, is the dominion under which we voluntarily place ourselves in our surrender to Christ?
(1) Its sphere is specific. "The kingdom of God is within you" — where the personality of the man is.
(2) Its claim is absolute. "Ye are not your own." Christ claims to be monarch absolute over mind, body, etc., because all has been "bought with a price."(3) And the mind is free and unconstrained in its surrender. Man's will is free; and yet how man may exert that freedom, on what objects, for what ends, and with what results, is to be determined by the authority of the Lord Christ. "One is your Master."
Parallel VersesKJV: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: