This week we will study Colossians 2. There are five errors that endanger the Colossian church. The five errors are enticing words (4-7), philosophy (8-13), Legality (14-17), mysticism (18-19), and asceticism (20-23). Today we will look at philosophy. This is a powerful group of verses and should be a tremendous encouragement to each of us.
3. Philosophy (8-13)
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. 9 For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 In Whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Beware means to lookout. Spoil you means to carry away from the truth with false teaching. Philosophy and vain deceit means it is empty and void of real truth. It is empty of vital power, for the dynamic of the gospel is absent. It is empty of hope, for it leads away from the light of God’s presence into the midst of man’s speculation. It is deceitful because of its attractive presentation which seduces the minds of those who are drawn away by it, and which conceals its utter barrenness. Some false philosophies include tongues, laying of hands to receive the Holy Spirit, worshipping anything but Christ, child baptism, and lack of separation.
If in Christ all the fullness of the Godhead dwells, then HE is the source of all truth, and any teaching which does not accord with Him is at once to be declared false. This refutes the Colossian heresy denying the Son’s full deity and that He possessed a body that could die and make atonement for sin. The Bible then is the truth that we must stand on.
Believers have been filled by Jesus with all the spiritual blessings they need; hence, they are “complete” and lacking nothing. This, too, refutes the heresy that denied the sufficiency of Christ and encouraged Christians to look to other spiritual beings for help.
The real circumcision for today is the new birth.
Identification with Christ is the meaning of being “buried with Him in baptism”. We identify with the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul gives the Colossians a personal application. God gave them a new spiritual life. It is NOT the improvement of the OLD nature, but the impartation of a NEW nature.
To sum up this lesson, avoid ANYTHING that does not agree with God’s word.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001