TEXT: Colossians 2:1-22
Paul the apostle expressed his affection for the Colossian brethren with whom he had no previous contact before writing this epistle. Having discussed the subject of redemption in Christ and commitment to perfection in the preceding chapter, he proceeded to comfort as well as exhort them to unity, love and assurance of the truth concerning Christ. He proactively presented this truth, so they would not fall prey to the deception of erroneous teachers of their day who upheld the ceremonial laws and
traditions of men above the doctrines of Christ. The reason is, believers who have spiritual understanding of the personality, power and doctrines of Christ will not embrace falsehood but abide steadfast in the faith. Like the Apostle, Christian ministers have a duty to continually feed the flock of Christ with the unchanging, full-orbed truth of Scripture to shield them from straying into error that damn the soul.
REVELATION OF CHRIST’ S DIVINITY AND BELIEVERS’ EXPECTED RESPONSE
(Colossians 2:1-7,9,10; 1 Corinthians 1:24,30; John 15:4,5; Romans 11: 33-36; 1 Thessalonians 2:5)
Though Paul the apostle had not seen the Colossian brethren physically, he desired to make them come to “full assurance of understanding of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2,3). Obviously, he had a spiritual goal in mind before writing this epistle. Without full assurance and proper understanding of complete redemption in Christ, they would remain spiritual babes capable of being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). Aware that the Judaizers claimed superior wisdom and knowledge outside Christ that makes redemption complete and worship acceptable to God, the Apostle aptly declared the divinity of Christ, who is the embodiment of wisdom and knowledge. All the knowledge and wisdom required to be saved, righteous, serve God acceptably and enter heaven at last, can be found only in Christ who is the express image of the Father. Every other knowledge and wisdom that contradict Christ as the incarnate Son of God, Saviour, Sanctifier, Sustainer, Healer, Baptizer in the Holy Ghost, Teacher and coming King is therefore false and capable of misleading babes in Christ.
The Apostle clarifies that the purpose of this revelation is “…lest any man should beguile you with enticing words” (Colossians 2:4). It is unflinching commitment to preaching and emphasizing the truth that nullifies falsehood attractively wrapped and communicated with a heavy dose of flattery and fair speech. The truth is, whoever is born of God is indwelt by Christ and thus possesses the wisdom and knowledge of God. Christ declares that “…I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you” (John 14:20; 15:4). As possessors of God’s wisdom, believers have no reason to accept teachings that discountenance the pre-eminence of
Christ and redemption through Him. God does not want any of His children to be swayed from the way of righteousness. Though the Apostle was physically absent, he declared that he abode in fellowship with them in the spirit and attested to their steadfast faith in Christ. He therefore exhorted that “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6,7). To benefit from the fountain of wisdom and knowledge of the full provisions and power of God which Christ embodies, it is important that believers continue to walk with Him. Consistent walk with Christ will make the believer to be rooted, built up and
established. He also urged them to abide in the truth they had been “taught” with gratitude to God (Colossians 2:7).
Detachment from the Saviour makes a professing believer lose the supply of grace, power and wisdom to live righteous and resist falsehood.
WARNING AGAINST TEACHINGS THAT UNDERMINE CHRIST’S PRE-EMINENCE (Colossians 2:8-15; John 1:1-13; John 14:20; Matthew 7:15-20; 15:6-12)
Paul the apostle warns the Colossian brethren and believers of all ages against deception, tradition, human philosophy and convention. “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” (Colossians 2:8). To ‘spoil’ in the text means to corrupt, plunder or rob them of the faith and hope in Christ through philosophy. Greek philosophy thrives on speculations about the divine existence, subjective reasoning and imperfect deductions and conclusions. It thrives on mere fallacy and refers to truth as subjective. These philosophy and vain deceit are predicated on human precept and elementary knowledge of the physical, changing world.
Philosophy, human traditions, syncretism or conventions that are based on plausible variables are not compatible with God’s word. The Apostle who understood traditions and vain philosophies of these predators declared that they were not based on the teachings of Christ. Christian leaders must be abreast of prevailing philosophies and traditions of men around them that contradict the word of God and proactively warn their members of the danger of embracing them. The Apostle further emphasized the privileges a believer in Christ enjoys. He revealed that in Christ “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily”; that is, in Christ resides the boundless ocean of inexhaustible blessings anyone can ever dream of, pray for and receive in life and eternity. John the Baptist admitted that “of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace” (John 1:14,16). The fullness of the triune God can be found in Jesus. The believer is therefore “complete in him” since he dwells in Christ where the fullness of the Godhead resides.
By virtue of his position in Christ who is “the head of all principality and power”, he is above the forces of darkness. The Apostle further revealed that the blessing of spiritual circumcision is obtainable in Christ. And through the observance of water baptism, the believer identifies with His death and resurrection. Believers who have obtained forgiveness are “risen with him” after being “quickened together with him” by faith. They also enjoy freedom from the burden of ceremonial laws which Christ abolished, “took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross”. It is erroneous to uphold and carry out such “ordinances” which only pointed to the perfect sacrifice of Christ and have now been abolished. Above all, believers enjoy the victory of Christ who “spoiled principalities and powers” publicly on the Cross. These great blessings, it must be emphasized, can be lost by embracing philosophy, vain deceit, traditions of men and human reasoning based on observable facts in the physical world.
Present-day believers and leaders must expose false teachings and teachers and maintain their commitment to teaching the wholesome truth of Scripture. We must avoid people who “resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith” (2 Timothy 3:8; Romans 16:17). the law Christ abolished. He specifically mentioned such practices as meat or drink offering, holyday, new moon or Sabbath days which foreshadow the reality. All the ceremonies represent the shadow of the Person and
sacrifice of Christ. An acceptance and practice of such amounted to saying that Christ had not come. He also cautioned them against worship of angels describing such humble submission to an ungodly practice as only a voluntary humility and not a divinely commanded one. Therefore, it is vain and unacceptable as such practice is a result of a carnal reasoning. Underneath such evil practice is pride. Even though it has a show of humility, the motive behind it is usually to gratify self, projecting oneself as wiser than others. In their worldly wisdom, they intentionally reject and dishonour Christ “the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God” (Colossians 2:19).
The Apostle repeatedly used the phrase ‘let no man’ to show that no one irrespective of gender, social or economic status or ties should be allowed to deceive them to lose their spiritual benefits and rewards here or in eternity.
Anyone who believes and is dead with Christ is no longer subject to ordinances that were temporary and had been abolished. Believers today are cautioned never to accept any form of worship that is perverse and idolatrous. Any worship that demeans the Sonship of Christ but elevates an object or any personality above Him must be jettisoned. There are however two ordinances Christ instituted to be observed namely, water baptism and the Lord’s Supper. While water baptism by immersion is identification with the burial and resurrection of Christ, the Lord’s Supper is perpetually observed in remembrance of His sacrifice and anticipation of His imminent return.