I am saying this so that no one will deceive you with persuasive arguments. Colossians 2:4
Paul’s warnings and admonishment in Colossians 1 has a single purpose: to guard the believers at Colossae against deceit by teaching them the truth about Christ. Knowing about Christ and the promises in the Word of God holds no value if this knowledge does not transform us and protect us from the attacks on our souls. The enemy’s attacks aren’t always in the form that we anticipate. He does not wear a cape and a red suit (at least not usually).
What the Bible paints is a more sophisticated devil than we like to think. He presents itself in the form of ideas and philosophies. He is a philosopher and an eloquent speaker. He comes as a friend, a well-known figure, a concerned professor or an unparalleled inventor. He is persuasive and his arguments change with the time and with the audience, yet one thing remains: he seeks to deceive and persuade against the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. At times it seems that while we are busy looking in one direction, anticipating one kind of adversary, we encounter another one in the form of a different theory or philosophy. The only real precaution against deceit is the knowledge and application of the Word of God.
Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6
It is not enough to recognize the schemes of the devil, we must remain steadfast in Christ. Since we have received Christ, we are to walk in Him as well.
I’m not the best artist, in fact I draw like a five year old who’s never taken an art class. Yet, this image played in my head for days and I doodled my tree in my prayer journal. I’ll spare you the image itself and try my best to describe what this verse said to me.
Our foundation in in Christ, in receiving Him as Lord and Savior. And, just like any tree who is planted on a strong foundation, our growth will be evident. We will take up roots and grow strong in our unwavering faith. We will be kept against any wind, storm or other attempts to shatter our faith.
Deceptive philosophies will come, and they at times will seem plausible. Our strong guard is not in our ability to out-argue, out-think or out-reason those who present an argument. Our strength is in remaining connected to the root and foundation of our faith. I don’t say this in a “Do not use your mind” kind of way, because our faith isn’t illogical and some might want for us to believe. It is simply nonsense to those who are perishing. Since we know Christ, we have to stand firm in Him, not our own abilities. There may be those who can think better than us? But we know the truth, and this knowledge of the truth about God is what will sustain us.
Made New in Christ, Colossians 2:9-19
You were also circumcised in Him with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh, in the circumcision of the Messiah.” Colossians 2:11”
The danger of false teaching is made even more deceptive because at times it comes from within. It is as though the apostle Paul began his warning with a general statement about false philosophies. Then, he brings it a little closer to us. When we become alert to the false theories that are rampant around us, we grow in our faith and our steadfastness. And even then, we can miss the theories that are afloat in our midst.
We overemphasize the differences among us, rather than focus our attention on what we have in common: Christ Jesus. We add to the gospel in some ways, or present alternatives. In Colossae, one of the ways this was done was by distinguishing those who were circumcised or uncircumcised. Paul speaks to this in these verses, reiterating that in Christ our circumcision isn’t in the physical body. Christ erased the debt that we owed for our sins on the cross. We are no longer in need of a physical circumcision.
Was circumcision prescribed for believers? It was. God told Abraham that every male from his household needed to be circumcised. Circumcision was not false teaching or doctrine. However, is circumcision still needed for those who believe? No, the blood of Christ is sufficient to set us apart.
Paul, in Colossians 2:16-17, tells us that these things are a shadow of what was to come. They were a prelude to the coming of the Messiah, but the substance is Christ. He is the New Covenant. He has established the new covenant with us.
Having been buried with Him in baptism, you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12
In our day, there are some who claim to have a message that encompasses more than the gospel and the books of the Bible. There are those who claim to have a message that goes beyond Christ Jesus buried and resurrected. And those who offer a non-Trinitarian message, or the belief in angels or visions. We know that angels are real, but we also know that the worship of angels is a form of idolatry. We are called to worship God alone. Any and every other form of worship whether it is in the form of visions, angel worship and the upholding of customs above the good news of Christ opposes the gospel.
How Then Should We Live? Colossians 2:20-23
With freedom!!! Freedom from customary practices. Freedom from cultural underpinnings. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from sacrificial offerings. Freedom from obligations. We ought to live as though Christ’s blood was sufficient to redeem us, and as believers in the truth that He is the Only way to the Father.
No angels, tradition or customs can save us. Only Jesus can. And only Jesus did.
There is tremendous freedom in accepting the sufficiency of Jesus Christ as Lord. Dear friends, let us hold unswervingly to the good news of the gospel and worship only Christ the Lord.
Our idols can take different forms, but they all serve two purposes: 1) to say that Jesus was not enough and 2) to mar our full identity in Him. But let us remain rooted and built up in Him for He is sufficient and we are restored in Him, nothing else is needed. Nothing else would do.
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank You for this message of truth. Thank You for Jesus and His sufficiency. When we look at our lives Lord, help us to accept Him as Lord over us, wholly and fully. Help us to submit our ways to Him, and not to turn to anything else or anyone else as a mediator between us and God. Our traditions, our treatments of our body, our guilt, our extras no matter what they are cannot save us. They only serve to disconnect us from You dear Lord.
We repent and walk away from anything else that we have added to the gospel. We repent of the times when we have failed to trust Christ fully for our salvation and justification.
Please forgive us, and help us to fully rely on Him for all things.
In His Name we pray,