Read Colossians 2
2 I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.
Spiritual Fullness in Christ
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Freedom From Human Rules
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
The church in Colossae was under siege with a mix of cultural false doctrines threatening their Christian faith. This is the main emphasis we read about today in Colossians 2. In verse 4, Paul warns against being deceived by “fine-sounding arguments,” verse 8 warns about being taken captive by “hollow and deceptive philosophy,” and verse 16 warns against adopting the false doctrines of humans. These false doctrines and philosophies were subtle turns from the truth, using aspects of Christianity and twisting them into intelligent arguments. Christians today face similar attacks to their faith. What is the best way to recognize false teaching?
In chapter 1, Paul establishes the supremacy of Christ. As a continuation, verse 2:6 begins a section on the fullness of Christ. We see the phrases “in Christ” and “in Him” repeated often. In Christ we have everything we need. Our flesh no longer rules us (v. 11), our old life is gone, we have been raised to new life (v. 12), our sins have been forgiven, our debt has been paid (v. 13- 14), and He has triumphed over the enemy on the cross (v. 15)! We see these same truths throughout Paul’s other letters. Romans 8:1 asserts, “There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” In 2 Corinthians 5:17, Paul states that in Christ we are a “new creation.” In Philippians 4:19, Paul says God will meet all our needs in Christ. Jesus tells us repeatedly in John 15 to remain in Him. Having a death-grip on who Jesus is paramount to recognizing false doctrine in our culture.
Today, we put our trust in science and higher knowledge, in prosperity gospels, in man-made rules, ideas and legalism. Many people call themselves Christians, yet they haven’t spent time studying the person and teachings of Jesus. Paul is teaching the Colossians (and us) that our lives should be rooted and strengthened in Christ and overflowing with thankfulness (verses 6-7). When we have questions or disagreements, we should hold them up to Christ. He is the one we follow. He is our standard. He is the foundation of our faith in whom we find all the “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (vs. 3).
May we follow Paul’s example here by fighting for our fellow believers to be encouraged and united in Jesus. He is supreme, complete, and all that we could ever hope for.
- What did you learn about Jesus from this passage?
- What heresy or false doctrine do you see around you today?
- Are you contending and fighting for others to know the truth of Christ? What would it look like for you to do that?
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