Ink and Truth
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Ink and Truth

Colossians 2 — Let “no one” deceive you!

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul talks about several ways in which one can be side-tracked and led away from the true Gospel. Let “no one… “, he warns four times! He’s reminding us again and again that no one should deceive us! What are the four warnings? Let us study:

Deceived by false arguments

Colossians 2:2–4 My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I say this so that no one will deceive you through arguments that sound reasonable. [NET2]

Paul first says that all treasures of wisdom are hidden in Christ. Knowing Christ truly is real treasure. However, if we are not led to the real Christ, it is a tyranny. False teachers claim to lead you to “Christ” but actually lead you to a false-god which they have built with their own minds by cherry-picking Scripture and taking verses out of context. They make you believe that you are in Christ when in reality you would be far from the God of the Bible.

False teachers are experts in dispensing convincing arguments with power and charisma. When they talk about "Christ" or "Lord Jesus", they are not talking about the real Jesus of the Bible. It is a jesus they have invented - a jesus constructed using false arguments; a jesus who puts up with a lifestyle of sin; a jesus who will give you all your selfish desires which are not according to God’s will; a jesus who is not going to judge or discipline you at all; a jesus constructed by taking passages of scripture out of context; a jesus built by taking only few verses while avoiding the difficult, hard-to-accept parts.

We must be acquainted with the Bible and have a personal relationship with the Lord through meditation and systematic study of God’s Word, continual repentance, consistent prayer and the fellowship of those who walk (not just talk) in the light. If not, we will fall prey to the deceiving arguments of false teachers.

Deceived by empty philosophy

Colossians 2:8–10 Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority. [NET2]

People of this world are never short of good advice. Worldly wisdom is appealing — it also produces results. Every culture across time with its traditional dos and donts has a lot to teach us about life. All such things are good to hear but they’re devoid of Christ — that’s why Paul calls them empty, deceitful philosophy. The power to transform man is found only in Christ Jesus and in no other. Positive thinking, self-help and worldly wisdom are of no use in our walk with the Lord.

They may sound Biblical because many such teachings borrow from the Bible, taking bits and pieces as per their need (greed?) and rejecting remaining verses. They isolate and use biblical concepts and ideas while rejecting the person of Christ. That’s why they are deceivingly attractive but empty. For example, they’ll readily borrow Christ’s teaching about love, peace and non-violence but reject His teaching about Eternal Judgement and the Resurrection. They only take what they want. Such abstraction has crept into the Church in various forms. The Word of Faith movement and positive-thinking are some examples.

Word of Faith, Positive-thinking and Manipulation

In the Gospels, people were healed when they recognized Jesus for who He is. That is what Jesus meant when He told them that their faith has healed them. And there are also instances wherein when people did not recognize Jesus, they could not receive healing. The sick were not healed because of positive thinking or by imagining they were healed or by confessing anything dramatic. This is so plain and clear that even a child can understand — healing has all to do with recognizing who Jesus is and asking Him. It has nothing to do with positive thinking or negative thinking or positive confession.

Weirdly these days, people are taught to think or imagine or confess that they’re already healed in order to receive healing (whereas Jesus actually healed the sick!)

Never once did Jesus tell hearers to think or imagine or confess that they’re healed before being healed!

His healing virtue flowed when people recognized Him as the Son of God. We are also to believe in Jesus and pray for healing; Not to manipulate ourselves to think that we’re already healed and quit doing what we ought to do.

What many popular preachers and so-called Bible-teachers really teach their listeners is actually positive-thinking masqueraded as faith. The Word of Faith movement is so popular today that many Christians cannot even tell the difference between true Biblical faith and the counterfeit worldly philosophy. The deception is deeply troubling. Such false teaching has life-damaging consequences: in the name of “faith” (actually positive-thinking) people manipulate themselves into denying reality and quit taking medicines or stop acting practically. And here’s the worst part — when someone is not actually healed or he does not think or confess that he’s healed, he or she is told that they do not have enough faith!

There are a lot of popular preachers today who are taken captive by worldly philosophies and they in turn go around the world influencing masses using their popularity. If we listen to them, we’ll falsely interpret scripture through these man-made lenses. We’ll be holding and reading the Bible in our hands but actually believing a worldly philosophy and holding on to human ideas masquerading as faith.

We must not pay too much attention to such philosophy outside the scripture lest our thinking will become captive to those philosophies. Our worldview will be affected and we will end up “seeing” the same philosophy in the Bible.

Disconnected from Christ by forgetting His finished work

Colossians 2:13–17 And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions. 14 He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 Disarming the rulers and authorities, he has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross. 16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days — 17 these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ! [NET2]

The Jews were given a lot of festivals, rituals and traditions to keep. Paul says that the rituals are shadows and that Christ is reality. The writer of the book of Hebrews says the same in detail in his letter. Why? Because these rituals cannot make anyone a better person or forgive his sins. Only Christ can. We are justified and sanctified by Christ’s finished work and are no longer required to keep those rituals and rites. Paul strongly warns in his letter to the Galatians,

Galatians 5:3–4 And I testify again to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace! [NET2]

We must be careful against doing anything that would demean the finished work of Christ. Circumcision was one such problem which plagued the early Church. Today, circumcision may not be a problem but there are a lot of man-made rules and regulations in every culture and denomination which demean Christ’s work. They may not claim to demean Christ’s work directly but they go on to say, “You must do this also”, “You must keep this as well”, “You must not wear jewellery”, etc. We must learn to trust Christ’s finished work and not became a slave to expressions of faith that demean or add to the work of Christ.

Disqualified from the race by false worship and asceticism

Colossians 2:18–20 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. 20 If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations — [ESV2011]

Worship of angels or offering prayers in the name of anyone other than Jesus Christ is clearly disapproved of in the Word of God. Anyone who holds on to such a form of worship is not holding on to Christ alone — who is the Head. You can have sincere devotion without right doctrine — it is utterly dangerous and is truly possible. Such devotion is useless and has no value because you’re not devoted to the real Christ. Prayer and worship must always be based on revealed scripture and not on extra biblical revelation — even if anyone claims to have seen visions or angels, we must not accept any revelation that contradicts revealed scripture.

Firm in faith, rooted in Christ

Colossians 2:6–7 Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. [NET2]

We must hold fast to true faith as revealed to us in the Scriptures and be on our guard so that we’re not led astray. A slight deviation is all it takes to derail you from true faith. Let us watch and warn fellow believers to be careful as well.



For the love of Christ and writing!

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Jim Moses

Follower of Christ and husband of Linda. Baby Isa is learning to call me ‘dadda’. I code for a living and love cycling, writing, driving, guitar & coffee! :D