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Theme: Christ, is the answer to philosophy; Christ, is the answer to rites and rituals
Philosophy: WHAT is it? Philosophy is the study of general problems, such as those connected with reality, existence, values, reason, mind, etc. In more down to earth speech, philosophy can refer to the basic beliefs, concepts and attitudes of an individual or group.
To me, it is some quack messing with your mind. BEWARE!!!
I have included some web sites that may help.
In the first fifteen verses of this chapter we will see that Christ is the answer to philosophy. The remainder of the chapter will show that He is the answer to ritual. The answer to philosophy is for the head; the answer to ritual is for the heart.
Christianity has always been in the danger of sailing on the turbulent seas of heresy. False teachers are of the devil, and have him to guide them, just as TRUE believers have the Holy Spirit to guide them.
One of the many, extreme Christian dangers is that of philosophy. It can evaporate into steam or it can freeze over! Neither steam nor ice can sustain life! Dear one, the Lord Jesus Christ is the Water of Life (Jn.4:14; 7:37-39; Rev.21:6; 22:17). He is neither steam nor ice . . . and He absolutely and completely CAN and DOES sustain life! That is why we all need to be on guard against following the demonic doctrines of philosophy or following any of those NON-essential rites, rituals and formalities of demonic cults. Dear friend . . . Christianity is Christ! See our article: Religion or Christ? http://www.hisservants.org/religion_or_christ_h_s.htm
There were five errors that endangered the Colossian church which Paul will deal with in this chapter. They were:
- Enticing words (verses 4-7)
- Philosophy (verses 8-13)
- Legality, formality, NON-essential rules (verses 14-17)
- Mysticism, messing with the occult (verses 18-19)
- Asceticism, extreme self-denial and severity (verses 20-23)
These ALL are still very active and very dangerous today. It would be wise as we seriously consider this chapter, to make an inventory of our spiritual lives. It would show us the direction in which we are going. Many so-called Bible believers have slipped into one or more of these errors.
Christ, the Answer to Philosophy (Colossians 2:1-15)
This chapter was intended to guard the Colossians against the seductive effect of the false philosophy which tended to draw them away from the Truth of the Gospel. It is very clear that there were those at Colossae, or in that vicinity, who were supposed instructors in religion, who taught a crafty and believable way of life, adjusting themselves to the prejudices of the people, and teaching opinions that tended to lead them away from the Truths which they had embraced. These teachers were most likely Jews, and had adopted many of the skills of believable public speaking.
Colossians 2:1 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; (KJV)
For . . . this word refers us back to what Paul had said before in chapter 1.
I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea . . . conflict here is agony. Some call this a prayer of agony. Paul saw that there was a serious danger in Colossae and in Laodicea, and it caused great conflict (tormenting battle) in his heart. They were in danger of going off in one of two directions. There is still danger of this today. This could explain why we find the church at Laodicea in that lukewarm condition in the Book of Revelation (Rev.3:16). They had lost sight of the Person of Christ. Christ is the answer to man's head; He is also the answer to man's heart.
For as many as have not seen my face in the flesh . . . Colossae is located about 100 miles inland from ancient Ephesus. Paul went through that area twice, but he did not go down to Colossae and Laodicea. Even when he attempted to go down into Asia on his second missionary journey, the Spirit of God forbade him (Acts 16:6); so he turned and took the northern route. Then when he came on his third missionary journey, walking over the land, again he took the northern route, maybe because he was familiar with it. I do not think that Paul had ever been there.
Colossians 2:2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; (KJV)
That their hearts might be comforted . . . heart here means the entire inner man. Paul is praying that their hearts, their humanity, their whole persons might be comforted.
Being knit together in love . . . means drawn together in love. The bond that unites believers is love.
And unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding . . . full assurance is a thought-provoking expression; it means to be under full sail. It means that believers should be moving along spiritually . . . they should be moving along for God.
1. Of understanding (Col.2:2)
2. Of the gospel (1 Thes.1:5)
3. Of hope (Heb.6:11)
4. Of faith (Heb.10:22)
To the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ . . . what is the mystery of God? It is the church, for it had not been revealed in the Old Testament. God was going to save Gentiles . . . that He had made clear in the Old Testament (Gen.12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14; Ps.2:8; 22:27; Isa.42:6; Jer.3:17; Dan.7:13-14), and He did save them. But on the Day of Pentecost, God started something new. He began to call out a group of people into the body of believers (church, body of Christ), baptized by the Spirit of God into this body. This is what Paul is explaining in 1 Cor.12:12-13. Christ had a physical Body while He was here on this Earth, and He has a spiritual body down here today. That body is the body of believers that have trusted Him. That is why the Lord said to Saul of Tarsus. "Why are you persecuting me?" (Acts 9:4). Saul was persecuting Jesus personally. The church is Christ . . . it belongs to Him. "The mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ" is the church!
Six things Paul wanted for the Colossians:
1. That their hearts may be comforted.
2. That they be knit together in love.
3. That they have full assurance and knowledge.
4. That they acknowledge the mystery of God.
5. That they acknowledge the mystery of the Father.
6. That they acknowledge the mystery of Christ (Col.1:26-27; 1 Tim.3:16; Eph.3:1-8).
Colossians 2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (KJV)
In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge . . . all that we will ever need is in Christ. If only we could learn that! And He is our storage tank of all we ever need to know!
I do not know everything, BUT . . . I do know where to find all that is necessary for my walk with Christ. Christ has been made unto us wisdom (1 Cor.1:30). We need learn to rest in this Truth. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Him. What a blessing that is!
Colossians 2:4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. (KJV)
And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words . . . there is great danger in the error of enticing words. Entice means to attract, bribe, invite, lure, tempt, seduce. False teachers today are enticing their congregations with many damnable heresies. They entice by preaching only what the people want to hear! Very few preach on sin. People do NOT want to hear they are sinners, which they are (Rom.3:10,23). Very few preach on the wrath of God. People just want to hear that God is a God of love, NOT a God of wrath. Very few preach on Hell. People do NOT want to hear about eternal destruction; and they certainly do NOT want to be told that unless they repent of their sin, that Hell is where they shall go.
Philosophy and psychology (man’s thoughts) have always been substituted for the Bible (God’s thoughts. It seems that this was the danger in Colossae and also in Laodicea. I think that is what actually killed the church in Colossae, and it made the church in Laodicea the weakest of the seven churches in Asia Minor. Laodicea was in the worst spiritual condition, and yet the people thought that they were well off (Rev.3:17-18). These cities were wealthy. They boasted of their wealth and affluence and also of their knowledge, BUT they were totally blind to their true spiritual condition. Lest any man beguile you with enticing words . . . beguile means to victimize. Enticing words are a just lot of dangerous, worthless sweet-talk. Paul warns the Colossians (and us), to be very careful that they not be beguiled with enticing words, which will victimize them, and us. The words of false teachers cause many people to follow a certain individual instead of someone who is bringing the Truth of the Word of God. These heretics are like the Pied Piper . . . he starts playing, and the gullible ones start following.
Colossians 2:5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. (KJV)
For though I be absent in in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit . . . to prevent any to think that Paul’s distance at Rome might take his mind off them at Colossae, he shows that the great affection he had for them forced him to be interested in all their concerns, the care of all the churches being unavoidable on him (2 Cor.11:28). Just because Paul was in prison in Rome, did not hinder his presence with them in spirit.
Joying and beholding your order . . . beholding your order is a military term, meaning to stand shoulder to shoulder. That is what believers should do, stand shoulder to shoulder. BUT instead, far many today are trying to weaken or take advantage of another believer.
And the stedfastness of your faith in Christ . . . stedfastness means to be immovable. Paul writes this same thought to the Corinthians: 1 Cor. 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (KJV) . . . The Colossian church had a reputation for stedfastness, and Paul wanted them to continue and not be led away by enticing words that would lead them away from God.
It seems at this time the word that was coming back to Paul was that this church was standing.
Colossians 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: (KJV)
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him . . . having warned them about sophistical seducers, and praised them for the sound faith he understood to be among them, he here urges them to continue. The sophists were itinerant professional teachers and intellectuals who frequented Athens and other Greek cities and Rome, who specialized in using the skills of philosophy. As ye have received Christ (Jn.1:12-13; 1 Jn.5:10-13), in whom alone is all treasured up for salvation. Paul adds not only Jesus, (who came to save His people from their sins), but the Lord, warning they should not backslide from their faith, or to fall for any falsehood whatsoever, but to abide in him, whom they had embraced, and live their lifestyle according to His Mind (1 Thes.4:1), knowing that He alone is the way, the truth, and the life (Jn.14:6), being led by His Spirit, and attaining strength to go on in this orderly walk and persevere in the faith.
What does it mean to be saved? What does it mean to be a Christian?
You are NOT saved by being perfect. You are NOT saved by keeping the Ten Commandments. You are NOT saved by any rite or ritual. You are NOT saved by water baptism. You are NOT saved if your good deeds out-do your bad deeds.
My friend, to be saved, you must receive a Person, and that Person is Jesus Christ! As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord . . . So walk ye in him! Walking in Him, is walking in the Spirit (Rom.8:1,4; Gal.5:16,25; Eph.2:2).
Colossians 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. (KJV)
Rooted and built up in him . . . rooted means fixed or imbedded like a tree. Having received Christ, we are to walk in Him. HOW? Being rooted in Him, we draw our life from Him as a tree (Jn.15:1-5), and built up in Him, our faith rests on Him. We rest on Him, just as a building upon its foundation (Isa. 28:16; 1 Cor. 3:11; Eph. 2:22).
And stablished in the faith . . . and being firm and settled in the faith (1 Pet. 5:10), Paul adds this to show that they should be growing stronger day by day (Ps. 92:13-14). He repeats this for a greater caution to them, who might be apt to have itching ears (2 Tim.4:3), that they should NOT be listening to any different doctrines, but remain firm in the faith of Christ.
Abounding therein with thanksgiving . . . faith is the way, the only way, by which you and I lay hold of Christ. No limit is ever set to the operations of God on the soul, or to the growth of the soul in the knowledge, love and image of God. Those who are brought into the awesome state of salvation should abound in gratitude and loving obedience, as they grow in grace (2 Pet.3:18).
What TRUE Christians Must Do:
1. Walk as when you received Christ (Col.2:6).
2. Be rooted in Christ (Col.2:7).
3. Be built up in Christ (Col.2:7).
4. Be established in the faith (Col.2:7).
5. Abound in the faith (Col.2:7).
6. Be joyful in the faith (Col.2:7).
7. Beware of deception (Col.2:4,8,18-19).
8. Let no man judge your eating or drinking (Col.2:16).
9. Let no man judge your holy days, new moons, festivals, Sabbaths (Col.2:16).
10. Live dead to the world and all its evil ways (Col.2:20-23; 1 Jn.2:15-17; Rom.12:1-2; Jam.4:4).
11. Seek things above (Col.3:1).
12. Set your affections above (Col.3:2).
13. Cast off fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness which is idolatry (Col.3:5).
14. Put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth (Col.3:8).
15. Do not lie (Col.3:9).
16. Live like the new man you are (Col.3:10-12).
17. Be patient with one another (Col.3:13).
18. Forgive one another (Col.3:13).
19. Pray for Godly love (Col.3:14).
20. Let God's peace rule you (Col.3:15).
21. Be thankful, say it and show it (Col.3:15).
22. Invite God's Word to dwell in you, study daily (Col.3:16).
23. Teach and caution one another (Col.3:16).
24. Do all things in Jesus' Name (Col.3:17).
25. Give thanks to God daily (Col.3:17).
26. Continue in prayer (Col.4:2; 1 Thes.5:17-18).
27. Watch with thanksgiving (Col.4:2).
28. Walk in wisdom (Col.4:5).
29. Redeem the time (Col.4:5).
30. Speak with grace (Col.4:6).
Colossians 2:8 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. (KJV)
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy . . . beware . . . Stop, look, and listen! The word spoil commonly means, to corrupt, to cause to decay and perish, as fruit is spoiled by keeping it too long, or paper by wetting, or hay by a long rain, or crops by mildew . . . but here it means to spoil in the sense of plunder, rob, as when loot is taken in war. I think the meaning is, "Take heed lest anyone rob you of your faith and hope by worthless philosophy." These false teachers would strip them of their faith and hope, as an invading army would rob a country of all that was valuable.
"Lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit" . . . If you were to follow the history of philosophy beginning with Plato, including many of the church fathers, and coming down to more recent times, you would find that NONE of them have a high opinion of the Word of God. They are looking for answers to the problems of life, but those answers will NOT be found in philosophy.
And vain deceit . . . mere delusion, misbelief. Paul warns that the disgusting doctrines which were being spread were not maintained by solid Biblical arguments; but were tailored to lead people astray.
After the tradition of men . . . there seems to have been two sources of danger to which the Christians at Colossae were exposed, and to which the apostle in these cautions refers, although he does not make a distinction. The one arose from the Grecian philosophy; the other from Jewish opinions. The latter is that to which Paul seems to refer here. The Jews depended much on tradition (Mat.15:2), and many of those traditions could have corrupted the Gospel of Christ.
Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (KJV)
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily . . . this is a crystal clear statement of the deity of Christ. It could not be stated any stronger than it is here. In Him (JESUS) dwells all the fullness of the Godhead . . . not just 99.44 percent but 100 percent.
Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (KJV)
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power . . . the word for complete is a seafaring term, which could mean: My friend, Christ is the answer to what you need today or any day! Do NOT be led astray by ridiculous human philosophy! Turn to Christ You are ready for the voyage of life in Christ, and whatever you need for the voyage of life you will find in Him.! Do NOT be carried away by enticing words. Turn to Christ! Do NOT be carried away by the systems and traditions of men! Turn to Christ! Only In Christ Jesus can you ever be complete!
Colossians 2:11 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: (KJV)
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 . . . Paul is telling them to get rid of that which is outward. True circumcision is the New Birth. Paul explained this to the Galatians: Gal. 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. (KJV) . . . You and I become new creatures when we come to Christ and trust Him as our Saviour. We rest in Him; and we are identified with Him.
Colossians 2:12 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. (KJV)
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 . . . this refers to water baptism by immersion, where the person appeared to be buried under the water, as Christ was buried in the heart of the Earth. His rising again the third any, and their emerging from the water, was a symbol of the resurrection of the body; and, in them, of a total change of life.
The faith of the operation of God . . . they were quickened, changed and saved by means of faith in Christ Jesus; which faith comes from the power of God. Believing is the act of the soul; but the grace or power to believe comes from God himself.
It is so important to remember that NO outward ceremony brings us to Christ. The question is, whether or not we are born again, whether we really know Christ as Saviour. If we do know Him, we are identified with Him. Identification with Christ is "putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ," which is a spiritual circumcision.
When you put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit baptizes you into the body of Christ. It is by THIS baptism that we are identified with Christ, and we are also "risen with him" . . . joined to the living Christ. 1 Cor. 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (KJV) . . . Salvation is accomplished by the resurrection power of God.
Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (KJV)
And you, being dead in your sins . . . Paul further shows they had no need of circumcision in the flesh (Eph.2:11), having all that is needed in Christ for justification as well as sanctification (1 Cor.1:30). They, as well as the Ephesians (Eph.2:1.5), were by nature spiritually dead in sins, destitute of the life of grace, and separated from the life of glory.
And the uncircumcision of your flesh . . . only Jesus can perform a spiritual circumcision, which is the cutting away of your sinful nature. Paul explains the internal corruption of our nature, the uncircumcised heart, which is the major problem in the unregenerate (unbelievers). These are spiritually dead as to the life of grace (Mat.8:22; Jn.5:25; Rom.8:7; 1 Cor.2:14; 1 Tim.5:6). Before Christ, you are spiritually dead because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. God makes you alive with Christ, for He forgave all our sins. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . http://www.hisservants.org/death_then_what_1.1.htm
Hath he quickened together with him . . . you who were strangers from any life of God (Eph.4:18), hath he now quickened or revived to a spiritual life with him here, and after to eternal life (1 Cor.15:22). Spiritual Circumcision: (Deut.10:16; 30:6; Jer.4:4; 9:26; Eze.44:9; Acts 7:51; Rom.7:51; Col.2:11).
Having forgiven you all trespasses . . . forgiven is pardoned (Ps.103:3; 2 Cor.2:10; Eph.4:32); all your sins, after as well as before baptism are forgiven! The Spirit of Christ (Rom.8:9; Phil.1:19; 1 Pet.1:11), not only infuses a principle of grace within us, and implants a living and abiding desire to work out spiteful habits, but God the Father, because of Christ's full sacrifice, freely removes all the guilt that binds us over to eternal death, and does not charge to believers any of their sins in whole or in part, but treats them as if they had committed NONE at all (Mat.26:28; Acts 10:43; Eph.1:7; Heb.9:15). He will remember our sins no more (Ps.103:12; Isa.43:25; Jer.31:34; 50:20; Mic.7:18-19; Heb.8:12; 10:17). 1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (KJV) . . . Salvation is NOT the improvement of the old nature; it is the rebirth of a whole new nature, a new creature, a new man (Eze.11:19; 18:31; 36:26; Jn.3:3,5; Gal.6:15; 2 Cor.5:17; Eph.2:10; 4:24; Col.3:10-11).
We must remember that Paul was dealing with two systems of Greek philosophy which were very popular in his day. They were completely opposite to each other, but they both were extremely dangerous: #1. One philosophy was Stoicism, and #2. The other was Epicureanism.
Stoics taught that man was to live nobly and that death could not matter. The idea was to keep appetites in check and become indifferent to changing conditions. Basically they said, "Be not uplifted by good fortune nor cast down by adversity." They believed that man is more than circumstances and that the soul is greater than the universe. It was like the people today who say that they are living by the Sermon on the Mount when actually they are far from it.
Epicureans taught that all is uncertain. "We do not know where we came from, and we do not know where we are going. They taught that after a brief life, they disappear from this scene, and it was vain to deny themselves any present joy. Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.
Both these systems tried to deal with the flesh . . . meaning the old nature that you and I have (Rom.6:6; Eph.4:22; Col.3:9) . . . NOT the meat on our bones. The old nature works through our old habits, old desires and old testings and temptations. HOW can anyone bring that under control? We need to recognize this one important thing that Paul is saying here: we are joined to the living Christ. IF you are joined to Him, then you are going to live as if you are. How close are you to Jesus? Do you walk with Him? Do you turn to Him in all the emergencies of this life? Is He the One who is the very center of your life? Do you love Him more than anyone or anything? (Mat.10:37). You must have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (KJV)
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us . . . by the hand-writing of ordinances, Paul most likely means the ceremonial law. This was against them, for they were determined to fulfill it, which was impossible.
Which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross . . . when Jesus was nailed to that cross, our obligation, our duty to fulfill these ordinances was gone!
This old flesh of ours has been condemned. When Christ died, He died for you and me! He paid the full penalty for our sin. He died for the sins of the world (Jn.1:29). IF you believe He paid the penalty for your sin, you have everlasting life (Jn.3:16; 5:24)! IF you refuse to believe this, you are doomed and condemned to Hell (Jn.3:18,36; 8:24). THAT is what God's Word tells us!
Colossians 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (KJV)
And having spoiled principalities and powers . . . this refers to the treatment of enemies when conquered: they are spoiled (removed) of their armor, and they are exhibited with abuse and contempt to the populace, especially when the victor has the honor of a triumph. It is likely that by the principalities and powers, over whom Christ triumphed, the apostle means the rulers and chiefs in the Sanhedrin and synagogues, and who had great authority among the people, both in making laws and explaining traditions. The spread of Christianity in Judea destroyed much of their spiritual power and authority; just as the spread of Protestantism, which was Christianity revived, destroyed the false doctrine and power of the pope of Rome.
He made a show of them openly, triumphing over them . . . this Christ did, as an absolute conqueror, riding as it were in His triumphal chariot, publicly showing that He had vanquished Satan and all the powers of darkness (Lk.22:53), in the view of Heaven and Earth (Lk.10:17-18).
In His own way, Jesus disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
The spiritual victory that Christ won for the believer is of tremendous value.
Christ’s Two Take-overs:
#1. Abolished and cancelled the law by:
(a) Blotting it out (Col.2:14)
(b) Taking it out of the way (Col.2:14)
(c) Nailing it to the cross (Col.2:14)
#2. Defeated the executors of the law by:
(a) Spoiling or conquering them (Col.2:15)
(b) Making a show of them openly (Col.2:15)
(c) Prevailing over them in the very cross that they thought would ruin Him (Col.1:20-22; 2:15; Acts 2:23-36; 3:13-18; 1 Cor.1:18-24; Eph.2:16)
Christ, the Answer to Ritual (Colossians 2:16-23)
Colossians 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (KJV)
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink . . . Paul concludes that no one should be condemned for exercising Christian liberty; that no one has power to judge and censure another in what they should or should not eat and drink (Col.2:8; Rom.14:3-4; 2 Cor.11:2-3; Gal.5:1; Jam.1:25; 1 Cor.6:12; 7:23). We are NOT to be dominated by anyone in meat, or in drink. Christ had nailed those decrees to His cross, the superstitious ones from the obsolete rites of the Jews and Pythagorean philosophers; and placed holiness in, and added them to the Christian church.
Or in respect of an holy-day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days . . . or the difference of festivals and sabbaths, whether annual, or monthly, or weekly, from the Levitical institutions.
Gal. 4:9-11 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? 10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. 11 I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain. (KJV)
Five Things NOT to Judge Others About:
1. What to eat (Col.2:16; 1 Tim.4; Rom.4)
2. What to drink (Col.2:16; 1 Cor.10;31)
3. What holy days to keep (Col.2:16; Gal.4)
4. What new moon festivals to keep (Col.2:16)
5. What Sabbaths to observe (Col.2:16; Rom.14:5-6; Gal.4:9-10)
Colossians 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. (KJV)
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ . . . a TRUE believer is NOT to observe ordinances that are only ritual and have no present value. God did give certain rituals for the people in the Old Testament. So what has changed? Paul tells us that they were just "a shadow of things to come." All the rituals of the Law in the Old Testament were like a shadow of what was to come. They were just future pictures of Christ. Now that Christ has come, we have the reality.
Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, (KJV)
Let no man beguile you of your reward . . . to beguile is to charm, entice, woo. Paul speaks elsewhere of judging and condemning (Rom.2:1). We should let no man deceive you with any subtle arguments, we should let no man master or rule over you. Paul labors to strengthen the TRUE followers of Christ against such superstitious subtle ones, who by their deception assume an overbearing authority, to impose their traditional and invented services (Mat.15:9) upon them, and control their state, as the cults do in our day.
In a voluntary humility, and worshipping of angels . . . they had a dominant spirit by being pretended volunteers in humility, claiming it would be wrong for them to speak directly to God, therefore they would pay religious reverence to angels, as a middle-man between God and them, believing the angels would intercede for them. We must not, under any excuse of humility, presume to know what belongs to our duty and God's service better than Christ does, showing us that He alone is the true and living Way (Jn.14:6), and we may come boldly by Him (Rom.5:1-2; Mat.11:28; Jn.14:1,6; Eph.3:12; Heb.4:16; 10:19-20). Therefore the adoring and praying to angels as heavenly bootlickers, no matter what the Catholics, out of a show of humility do argue, is NOT after Christ, but totally AGAINST Him. It has been clear to me down through the years, that most of these people are very ignorant of the Bible.
Intruding into those things which he hath not seen . . . those things is a deception, a pretense, a putting on, acting like you have something that you really do NOT have.
Vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind . . . the first increase of such foolish beliefs, was being rashly puffed up, a deluded mind moved by some sinful principle, saying things with words of vanity, where in truth they have no experience (1 Tim.1:7). BEWARE! People get off the track SO quickly! Paul condemns the Gnostics who made a pretense of wisdom. And it is rampant today in our churches, where many assume a pious superiority. BEWARE of spiritual snobs.
Five Facts about Cults (false churches)
#1. They make self-imposed fastings and self-denials of many things to seem to be religious, that are NOT forbidden in Scripture (Col.2:8,18,20-23).
#2. Worshipping (Col.2:18) and religion (Acts 26:5; Jam.1:26-27). Here it is a cult or religion of angels and demons (Col.2:18,23; 1 Tim.4:1-8).
#3. Religion based upon visions that are supposed to come from God and angels (Col.2:18). This is very common today. Beware!!!
#4. Religion based upon superior knowledge, new discoveries, occult secrets, piety, and sensuous feelings (Col.2:8,18; Rom.1:21-23; 1 Tim.6:20). Also very common today!
#5. Religion that is not Christ-centered and true to the Gospel (Col.2:19; Eph.4:14; 5:11-12; 2 Cor.11:14-15; Mat.7:15).
Colossians 2:19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (KJV)
And not holding the Head . . . Paul suggests that those things he had before spoken did proceed from Christ, and that they had let go of the Lord Christ Himself (Col.2:8-9), from whom all Truths are to come, and therefore Christ is Truth itself (Jn.14:6). Anyone who does not adhere to Him (stick to and follow), is the source of all apostasy.
From which all the body . . . all Truth is communicated and distributed to the body, the church, as is necessary to all the feelings and gestures within (Eph.4:15-16).
By joints and bands having nourishment ministered . . . all its members are fitly framed together by the Spirit (Eph.2:21-22), and united by faith (Eph.3:17), and has a continual support of life and vigor.
And knit together . . . and joined together in a spiritual union, which joins all TRUE believers to their Head, and each of them to the other in Him (1 Cor.10:17; 12:12,20,25,27).
Increaseth with the increase of God . . . as a result, mutual improvement in love grows with a Divine growth and spiritual increase, arising from the effectiveness of God, and the leaning towards His glory; being filled with the effects of His grace (1 Cor.3:6), it is built up and strengthened little and little, in light and purity and all graces, until it reaches the measure of its perfect standing in Christ Jesus our Lord . . . while an increase in the traditions of men (Col.2:8; Mk.7:8), and the inventions of flesh (Ps.99:8; 106:29,39), not only blow up with deceptions, they disfigure, deform and destroy it.
Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (KJV)
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world . . . Paul further argues against all burdens of superstitious observances, being forced as parts of Divine worship. There was to be no reviving any of those repealed, or setting up any new ones, because their belief of their union with Christ their Head, and their being dead in Him as to all beggarly elements (Gal.4:9), from which Christ had freed them by His death (Col.2:9; Rom.6:3; 7:4; Gal.4:9-11). There was to be NO more false worship, after Christ (Col.2:8), in whom they were complete (Col.2:10), being buried with him in baptism (Col.2:12), having nailed those ritual ordinances to his cross, as being outdated (Col.2:14).
Why, as though living in the world, are ye are subject to ordinances . . . why should they, who held the Head (Col.2:19), live as if they lived in the old world with those children in bondage (Gal.4:3), before Christ came, be subject to ceremonial observances? It is very harmful that they should impose this yoke upon you (Acts 15:10). They, and we, would be most foolish if we submit ourselves to ANY ceremonial worship which GOD Himself had repealed, and fall for a new invention by men. If Christ, the Head of the church would not revive that worship He had laid aside, you can be absolutely sure He will NOT approve of any new one which He never appointed.
Colossians 2:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; (KJV)
Touch not; taste not; handle not . . . these forms of expression are often used among the Jews. Paul elsewhere expresses himself in like manner (Rom.14:17, 1 Cor.8:8; 1 Tim.4:3), gaining that which they proceeded to forbid the not tasting, and then the not handling, or touching of them with the hand, as if that would defile.
Expressing the cleverness of such superstitious imposers, they heap up one thing on top of another to burden the conscience of the naïve ones, not knowing where to make an end in their newly invented external devotions and observances, which were as snares, which at first bind fast, and soon strangle. Paul speaks of these as different from those in verse 16, they being for obsolete rites which had been of God's appointment, and these for cleverness of man's invention, as is apparent from the last verse.
Colossians 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (KJV)
Which all are to perish with the using . . . Paul gives his reasons why, under the Christian church, acceptable worship of God does NOT consist in ANY such observances, because meats, drinks and clothing, are designed for the benefit of man, for the preserving of his temporal life, and are consumed in their use. They CANNOT, in or by themselves, either make a man holy or render him unclean, (Mat.15:11; Mk.7:19; Rom.14:17; 1 Cor.6:13; 1 Tim.4:3). They all are consumed in doing us service, they cannot otherwise be of use; which may show that all the benefit we receive from them is only in this mortal life. It is in NO way possible that what perishes in our daily use in our earthly life, would have any power on the life of our soul, which is immortal and incorruptible.
This is why Paul states that the reviving of old-fashioned ordinances, or bringing in any such new ones, is to corrupt people without any spiritual advantage whatsoever. Any such burdens
were damaging; and because of Paul’s stronger argument, they are not after Christ, but after the precepts and decrees of men (Col.2:8), which is our Lord and Master's argument against the inventions of the Pharisees (Mat.15:9), agreeing with the prophet (Isa.29:13). To bring in any additional rites and rituals of worship, is forbidden of God (Deut.12:32; Jn.14:26; 1:13; Rev.22:18).
Many of the ordinances on which the Jews insisted were those which were handed down by tradition. They depended only on human tradition and authority, NOT on God’s Word.
Colossians 2:23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. (KJV)
Which things have indeed a show of wisdom . . . to the Colossians, the discipline demanded by the false teachers seemed good. Legalism still attracts millions today. Following a long list of religious rules requires strong self-discipline and can make a person seem moral, but religious rules cannot nor do not change a person's heart. Only the Holy Spirit can do that.
In will worship . . . #1. in illogical superstition, or human invention, or self-willed religion, rather than Divine worship. For although performing those acts of worship willingly, which God Himself had commanded, is necessary and commendable in His willing people (Ps.103:3), they cannot be acceptable otherwise . . . yet when the will of man, in opposition to the will of God, is considered as needed in worship which is offered to God, worship of a man's own brain and planning, without God's permission, then that will worship is hateful to God, and the more deliberate it is, the more abominable it is to God! It being most just, that not in what way we will and choose, but only in that way which HE wills and chooses, we should worship Him willingly as He sees fit. The worship of man's planning is distasteful to the all-wise God, who sees and knows all things, and although He loves a willing worshipper, my friend, He hates will worship.
And humility . . . with a pretended acceptance of mind, or a pretense of humility, as if more self-abasement were needed in such a random way of worship; like the hypocrites in their fasts, who put on mortified looks and shabby clothes, with masquerading faces (Mat.6:2,5,16), showing they were most submissive to the orders of their superiors in the way of man's planning.
And neglecting of the body. . . those who were more superstitiously devout, work to outdo others: in punishing, not sparing, neglecting or afflicting the body . . . as with some monks and nuns to this day do. http://worldlychaos.org/w_c_1_false_teachers_mother_threasea.1.htm
My dear friend, our precious Saviour and Lord does NOT demand any such things of His children!
Not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh . . . as to what pertains to the satisfying of the flesh. That honor of the body the apostle does elsewhere require, he does here oppose to the seducers' pretended mortifications. Their religious abstinence was not from that which caused luxury, only from abstaining from some certain sorts of meat, the use of which NO way defiles the body, nor violates in any manner the holiness and honor in which it should be kept.
We can guard against man-made religions by asking these questions about any religious group:
(1) Does it stress man-made rules and restrictions rather than God's grace?
(2) Does it foster a critical spirit toward others, or does it exercise discipline discreetly and lovingly?
(3) Does it stress formulas, secret knowledge, or special visions more than the Word of God? (4) Does it elevate self-righteousness, honoring those who keep the rules, rather than elevating Christ?
(5) Does it neglect Christ's universal church, claiming to be an elite group?
(6) Does it teach humiliation of the body as a means to spiritual growth rather than focus on the growth of the whole person?
(7) Does it disregard the family rather than hold it in high regard as the Bible does?
Paul warns the Colossians (and us), of dangers of listening to damnable heresies of false teachers (heretics):
1. Danger of enticing words (verse 4).
2. Danger of philosophy (verse 8).
3. Danger of legality (verse 14).
4. Danger of mysticism (verses 18-19).
5. Danger of asceticism (verses 20-23).
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