The apostle now builds up his admonition on this tactful premise:
v. 6. As ye have, therefore, received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him;
v. 7. rooted and built up in Him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding there in with thanksgiving.
v. 8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
This admonition tended to be all the more effective, since the apostle had so cheerfully acknowledged the attitude taken by the Colossians. The fact of his appreciation could not fail to arouse in them the most eager determination to prove themselves worthy of the apostle's trust. Paul, moreover, always places the most important fact first: As, then, you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, it is in Him that you must walk. The Phrygian Christians had through faith accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, Him who had been promised of old and had been revealed in His incarnation in the fullness of time. They stood in the most intimate fellowship of faith with this Savior. In Him, therefore, they should lead their lives, in His fellowship they should continue, Joh_15:1-6; 1Jn_2:4-6; 1Jn_3:24. in the daily realization of our sinfulness and unworthiness, in the daily acceptance of the grace which His atonement has brought to us, in the daily endeavor to walk before Him to all His good pleasure, the Christian life consists according to His will.
This blessed condition of the Christians is further characterized by the apostle: Rooted and built up in Him and being firmly established in the faith as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. As the tree sends down its roots into the richest soil, in order to draw the purest and strongest nourishment from the bosom of the earth; as every wind and every storm causes the tree to cling with greater tenacity to its hold in the earth, so shall we be rooted in Christ, drawing all our spiritual power from Him and clinging all the more tenaciously to Him as the storms of tribulation sweep over us. As the stability if any building depends upon the firmness of its foundation, so our faith, having Christ Jesus as its basis and His Word as its stay, is safe against all the storms of adversity, because it rests in the heart, in the mounds of Jesus. The true Christians are not looking for some new doctrine that may tickle their fancy, for some new leader to show them a new way to heaven; they abide by the old doctrine of sin and grace, as they have been taught. The revelation of the gracious will of God as we have it in the Bible is sufficient for all our needs. "New revelations," "new light," "keys to the Scriptures," all these have no right to exist; our faith rests upon Jesus, and that is sufficient for us. In Him we can and shall abound in the faith with thanksgiving, Php_1:9; Rom_15:13. We should excel in gratitude and thankfulness; these should fill our whole hearts. Lost and condemned sinners as we are in ourselves, the pure and boundless mercy of God in Christ Jesus has brought us salvation, has made us partakers of salvation through faith. So a Christian has reasons always to be happy, always to be thankful.
But this thankfulness demands also a continual watchfulness: Take heed lest there be any one that makes you his spoil through the philosophy and vain fraud according to the tradition of men, according to the precepts of the world and not according to Christ. Christians must be vigilant always, they must always have their eyes open, they must always be on their guard. For there are men that are determined to seduce them, to lead them away as a prey, as a spoil. This they attempt to do through philosophy, through a system of doctrine that wants to explain the reason and object of being on the basis of reason only. Other deceivers attempt to gain their end through empty fraud after the traditions of men, by offering explanations of divine things according to the ideas generally held by men and almost invariably opposed to the divine revelation. Or, in other words, they attempt to deceive according to the precepts and rules as laid down by the children of this world in general. See Gal_4:3. Every person by nature expects to find some ways and means of becoming righteous before God by his own wisdom and ability, and thousands of false teachers make use of this tendency by proclaiming a way of salvation through works, by following certain precepts of behavior which are supposed to set a standard for the whole world. But these precepts and rules, this doctrine concerning man's own ability to be justified before God, is a vain deceit and not according to Christ and His doctrine of salvation. In these last days of the world no other error is working such fierce havoc in the Church as this precept after the tradition of men.