2 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
Alive in Christ
Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Let No One Disqualify You
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 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, 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.
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—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
Colossians 2 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Paul is struggling. His struggle not personal but for the people of Colossae as well as those in Laodicea. His concern goes far deeper than just wanting to see these congregations flourish in their faith. His struggle is they’ve been taken captive by hollow and deceptive philosophies. It’s affecting everything about their lives but more importantly their eternity.
Although Gnosticism really gained ground in the second century, this was the birthing of it. The ideas of such false teaching was attractive to most. It became fashionable within the church. Creating an overly spiritual demeanor, their faith was gone. Spirituality does not mean someone is connected to Jesus. Consequently, these false teachings seduced the church. The people were blind.
When we base our relationship with Jesus on thoughts and philosophy of man there is a problem. Of all people, Paul could speak into this. He was a gifted philosopher, but he came against these thoughts taking the place about Jesus and who He was.
It is shocking how much of the New Age thought process has made its way into the church. It is horrific to consider how false prophets and teachers today speak of health and wealth. It is atrocious to think of all the teachings which deal with secret knowledge and “words of the Lord” given that do not correspond with the ways of Jesus. And yet, these things have come in like a flood to the church and people are drowning.
Good people are lost or spiritually dead. No wonder Paul was struggling and truly so should we be struggling over the deception.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.”Colossians 2:7-7 NIV
Sounds so simple. Yet this is the way to stay grounded in the ever changing tides of thought and corruption of the enemy. Our beginning of this new life came through simply receiving Jesus as Lord. But that is not enough. We must have safe guards and this requires our following His leadership and teachings. For many, this is the breaking point of what they experienced.
Because they’re not invested personally in seeking Jesus through His Word, they are easily swayed and led off track. Our living in Jesus is more than just a statement – it is being rooted and built up in Him; strengthened in Him and Him alone. This is done through the power of the Holy Spirit, pursuing His presence in our lives and living in obedience to whatever He is pressing in on us about.
False teachings tickle the ear. The ever present New Age movement sounds spiritual. The two cannot be married with the Gospel. The two lead to death.
Colossians 2 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Think of it in these terms. Any philosopher, theologian, scientist, professor or quantum physicist, whether Christian or not, has borrowed their wisdom and knowledge from God. Without God, there is no logic or reason. Outside of His creation, we have no ability to think or apply judgment to any situation. Therefore, when you take what God has given you and use it to dethrone Him, you end up looking like a fool. Paul knew this and he wanted the Colossians to know it as well.
He sets up a huge contrast between empty philosophy (Gnostic teaching) and God’s infinite wisdom which dwelt in the physical body of Christ.
“Paul does not condemn philosophy as such, but a philosophy of this kind—one which seduces believers from the simplicity of their faith in Christ. For all its attractiveness, this philosophy was an empty illusion. If the Colossians embraced it, they would be the losers and not the gainers thereby. Those who knew what they were about when they “received Christ Jesus the Lord” could not find it acceptable; it was a human tradition which overthrew the essential truths of Christian faith and life.”New International Commentary New Testament
It’s a simple but applicable truth. We must test everything against Christ and His Word. We have the black and white text of Scripture but we also have the Word made into flesh – the physical incarnation of Jesus Christ. In Him, we find all the hidden treasures of God’s kingdom that we will ever need.
So, why are so many today pulled away by New Age philosophy that tickles the ear? According to Paul, as believers, they have not understood all that they have in Christ. The Colossians, just like those today, were in grave danger of replacing what they had learned and known with something false and empty. At this point in the chapter, Paul dismantles the false teaching with complete authority. He destroys these unsound worldviews with his rapid fire truth bombs as he practically explores how to combat them.
We can’t test false teaching if we don’t know Christ. We can’t examine it’s true meaning if we’re not in the Word. Maybe that sounds too traditional or boring to you? If so, then ask yourself if your latest cutting edge philosophies came down from heaven in a physical body to willingly die for your sin.
As Christians, we will always live on the fringe of society as outcasts and so-called ignorant sheep following a fairy-tale story from an ancient book. Jesus said we would suffer. He told us they would hate us. He said many would be led astray.
I am coming quickly. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown. 12 The victor: I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My new name. 13 “Anyone who has an ear should listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.Revelation 3:11-13 HCSB