“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him” (Colossians 2:6).
Prayer and the Word of God go together; we cannot dispense with either if we are to grow in the truth. As we read the Word prayerfully, the Spirit of God will unfold to us the meaning of the words, and we cannot understand them by any other means (1 Cor. 2:1-14). Now the Word of God calls all Christians on earth SAINTS, we should shrink from that name if God had not given it to us, but since Ha has called us by it, let us rejoice in it. It means that He has separated us to Himself, and we are not of the world, and further it means for this present time that we are “not of the earth,” but ours is a heavenly calling. Our Head, Christ, is in heaven, He is the heavenly Man, the Spirit that indwells us is from heaven. Our hopes are heavenly and not earthly, and OUR WALK in the world most be consistent with our calling and destiny. To benefit by the reading of such papers as the following, we need prayerfully to consider what the Word of God means by the words “saints” and “walk” and “faith”—Editor (J.T.M.)
The present normal walk of the heavenly saints is given to us in the Colossian epistle, while the character of this walk is stated in 1 John 2:6, to “walk even as He walked.” The standard for the walk of all God’s children is as Christ walked here, and such a Father as God is could not have given to His family any less a standard. But our subject is the highway in which we are to walk rather than the standard. “An highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness … the redeemed shall walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads” (Isa. 35). In such beautiful language the prophet describes the highway in which Israel will yet walk when they see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of their God. It will be sight with them, but in our case, who have not yet seen the Lord whom we love, it is by faith, for we walk not by sight but by faith, and without faith we cannot take one step on the saints’ highway, without faith we cannot “walk in Him.”
We would call attention first to Malachi 4:2, where our Lord Jesus Christ is designated “the Sun of righteousness,” in regard to His shining forth in His glory, healing and blessing by His beneficent rays the remnant of Israel—the earthly people of God. His rule will secure for them all the abundant blessings promised in the Old Testament; meanwhile we are brought into the faith of Christ, while He is rejected on earth and exalted to God’s right hand in the heavens. To walk in Him, therefore, at the present time calls for the constant exercise of faith.
Let us keep in our minds the divinely given illustration of the sun: for, as in the natural sphere, the better the many benefits of the supreme light-bearer are known, the more gladly are they appropriated; so likewise in the spiritual sphere, in regard to the Christ our Lord, the more we apprehend the richness of the blessings which beam forth from Him—the rays of righteousness, love and grace which pour out their unsearchable bounties—the more intelligently and happily shall we be encouraged to steadily and unwaveringly walk in Him, and we shall become also increasingly edified by the true knowledge of God revealed in Him.
Referring again to Israel, it is foretold in Isaiah 60:1, that it shall yet be said to them, “Arise, shine, for thy Light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” The Lord will be their Light then. The glory of the Sun of righteousness will be seen shining upon them; and the kings, the nations and the peoples of the earth will welcome their rising, saying, “Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us His ways and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” Then He will give them rule and guidance, and their instruments of cruelty and strife shall yield to implements of health and peace, for Israel shall then “walk in the light of the Lord.” That day has not yet come for this sin-stricken world; it awaits the coming of the Lord; but before it dawns the word of Isaiah 60 is spiritually applied to those who belong to Christ (during this period of His rejection from earth and His exaltation in the heavens), so we read in Ephesians 5:14, N.Tr., “Wherefore He says, Wake up, thou that sleepest, and arise up from among the dead, and the Christ shall shine upon thee.” In this sense, therefore, we can WALK IN HIM NOW, for living and conscious faith knows the rays of Christ’s shining even before He publicly takes up the government of the world through Israel. The sleepy believer needs to be awakened in regard to Christ’s glory, as we are told; and the worldly believer needs to be freed from fellowship with those who are still dead in trespasses and sins; for often true saints of God are overtaken by slumber and slothfulness as to our Lord Jesus Christ and His interests, and they may be ensnared by the friendship of a world that can only dull every spiritual sense that they have. To walk in the highway of God spiritual energy must take the place of sleep—HE MUST WAKE UP!—HE MUST ARISE!
When the sun shines in the heavens, no one needs to tell it to shine—it shines! And we may rejoice in the brightness, warmth and energy which flow forth upon us from it—we may walk in it! So also may the believer walk in Him—in Christ Jesus the Lord. The stars of the night do not compete when the glory of the sun shines forth, and when the glory of the Son of God is declared by the Spirit through JOHN so fully to the family of God, apostleship and gifts are not found in evidence; for it is “until we all arrive at the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God” these and other gifts are given (Eph. 4:11-13).
Many things may hinder the rays of the sun from reaching us. It is said that the glass of our windows prevents the ultra-violet rays, which are said to possess health-giving virtues, from entering our houses; the polluted and smoky atmosphere of our cities intrudes between us and the brightness of the sun, and clouds may obscure it from us. It is because of the dangers which threaten to rob the true believers of the full good of the assembled rays that shine in the Christ that the exhortations and warnings of Colossians 2 are given. Something of man’s manufacture, like the glass of a window—his ritual and ordinances and philosophy—may exclude from the believer much of His wondrous grace; or the city’s world-influences, like the murky atmosphere, may rob us of a great deal, and earth-born clouds may be allowed to dim our sight. But, on God’s side, there is neither cloud nor veil to hide the glory of Christ from us. He knew the deepest darkness when He suffered upon the cross to secure eternal redemption for us, but He is now exalted to God’s right hand, where there is nothing to hide Him from faith, and believers rejoicingly say, “We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour” (Heb. 2:9).
It is said, we repeat, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord,
SO WALK YE IN HIM!”
This word, like another often repeated in the inspired instruction given to us,
“ABIDE IN HIM!”
carries with it the divinely given authority so to do, and the sense that our true well-being is connected with it, and that it gives God pleasure to see us walking in His highway.
He shines as the Light of the world, and those who walk in Him “walk in wisdom toward them that are without.” “The love of God is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” and those who walk in Him “walk in love.” We know “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” and those who walk in Him take character from Him, and their speech is to be “always with grace.” Psalm 19 speaks significantly of the sun “as a bridegroom going forth from his chamber; he rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heavens, and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” The energies of the sun ale usually known as light, heat and actinic or healing rays; but the One, of whom the sun is but a symbol, shines for faith with beams of unmeasured wealth, by which we may be richly benefited and in which the saved of the Lord may walk. As we do this we walk in Him. HE IS THE WORD—the embodiment and also the expression of the mind of God. He became flesh and tabernacled among us, as the sun finds its tabernacle in the heavens (Ps. 19:4). HE IS THE IMAGE OF THE INVISIBLE GOD—the visible representation to us of the otherwise invisible. HE IS THE EFFULGENCE OF GOD’S GLORY and the exact expression of His substance. He sits now on the right hand of the throne of the greatness on high, having first put away sins by His sacrifice on the cross. How great He is Himself! How great the love which fills His heart for us!
When He uses His power to translate us to His glory in the twinkling of an eye, in glorified bodies like His own, we shall see Him actually as He is—not simply by faith as now.
“Then we shall behold all His glory and grace,
And heaven be found in the light of his face.”
The fact, however, remains for us to benefit by and rejoice in TODAY—Christ is shining! and we may do as we are instructed and strengthened by the Spirit to WALK IN HIM! Let us be free from what hinders. Let our souls accept without question His own Word given in John 14:6, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” for while He is the Highway for the saints of God, He is likewise the Life without whom risen life would be unknown to us; and He is the Truth, expressing all that is true, both as to God and man. To see Him is to see the Father (v. 9); and to behold Him in glory, and favour is to behold man as predestinated by God (Rom. 8:29); and did He not say in resurrection, “I ascend to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God”? When we are with Him, according to the purpose of eternal love, will not He Himself fill with worship the enraptured hearts of all His loved ones?
“For ever on His face they gaze,
And meet the full assembled rays,
While all His beauty He displays,
To the redeemed in glory!”
Yes, unhinderedly and eternally shall the saints worship and adore Him then! No cloud, no veil, no temple—nothing shall hide Him from our rejoicing eyes then! We shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy countenance for ever!