THE LIVING OF THE SAINTS IN UNION WITH CHRIST:
RULED BY THE PEACE OF CHRIST AND INHABITED BY THE WORD OF CHRIST
After giving an introductory word in 1:1- 8, the book of Colossians unveils Christ as the preeminent and all-inclusive One, as the centrality and universality of God (1:9—3:11). In this section of Colossians, Christ is revealed in a full way. Here Paul does not say that Christ is the Lamb of God, the manna, or the living water. Rather, he tells us that Christ is the portion of the saints, the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, the firstborn from among the dead, the mystery of God’s economy, the indwelling hope of glory, the mystery of God, and the One in whom all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. As we consider all these aspects of Christ, we shall realize that the revelation of Christ conveyed in Colossians is extraordinary, abso- lutely different from what is revealed elsewhere in the Scriptures.
In 3:12—4:6 Paul turns to the matter of the living of the saints in union with Christ. In 3:12-15 he speaks of the necessity of being ruled by the peace of Christ, and in verses 16 and 17, of the word of Christ dwelling in us richly. To live in union with Christ means that in our living we are not apart from Christ. In John 15 the Lord tells us to abide in Him, for apart from Him we can do nothing. In the eyes of God, whatever we do apart from Christ has no value. Therefore, if we are separated from the all-inclusive Christ revealed in Colossians, we cannot do anything. The living of the saints must be in union with Christ. This means that in our living we need to be one with Him.
In 3:10 and 11 we see that in the new man Christ is all and in all. Christ is all the mem- bers and in all the members. In the new man there is no room for any natural person. Rather, Christ is everyone and is in everyone. To say that Christ is all and in all in the new man indicates that we are one with Christ and that Christ is one with us. We may even say that Christ is we and that we are He. This points to our union with Christ. Therefore, the living of the saints must be a living that is in union with Christ, a living that is identified with Him. If we live in such a way, we and Christ, Christ and we, are one. We live, and Christ lives in our living.
We need to be one with the Lord Jesus just as He is one with the Father. In John 14:10 the Lord said, “The words which I speak to you, I do not speak from Myself; but the Fa- ther who abides in Me, He does His works.” This indicates that the Father works in the Son’s speaking. Although the Father and the Son are two Persons, They have just one life and one living. The life of the Father is the life of the Son, and the living of the Son is the liv- ing of the Father. On the one hand, the Father’s life is the Son’s life. On the other hand, the Son’s living is the Father’s living. In this way the Father and the Son have one life and one living. The principle is the same with Christ and us. Today we and Christ have one life and one living. The Son’s life becomes our life, and our living becomes His living. This is what it means to live in union with Christ.
In such a union we and Christ, Christ and we, are one. In a very practical sense, Christ is we and we are Christ, for we live as one. His life is our life, and our living is His living. Therefore, Christ lives in our living. This is the normal Christian living, the living that is up to God’s standard and that fulfills the require- ments of His economy.
Concerning our living in union with Christ, Paul tells us to let the peace of Christ arbitrate in our hearts and to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. Paul does not speak of these things elsewhere in his Epistles. Notice Paul’s use of the word “let” in verses 15 and 16. This word indicates that both the peace of Christ and the word of Christ are already pre- sent. However, we need to allow them to oper- ate within us. We need to let the peace of Christ arbitrate in us, and we must let the word of Christ dwell in us. There is no prob- lem with either the peace of Christ or with the word of Christ. The problem is with us, in particular with our allowing these things to work in us.
—Life-Study of Colossians, Message 29