“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,” – Colossians 2:6.

Up to this time Paul had never visited the Church in Colossae, as well as several other places where Christians were coming together at that time.

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face, that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:1-3.

He wrote here as you can see above that he wished the best for them. He desired,

  • That they would encourage each other in the faith with love,
  • That they would also assist each other to understand the truth regarding Christ,

This was important based on what we read in the next verse,

So that no one will delude you with persuasive argument.” Colossians 2:4.

Pau had been addressing the problems of the Colossians indirectly, but here he faces them directly. Defection and distortion of the truth were his pastoral concerns, as well as for his co-workers. In fact, much of Paul’s letters engaged in encouraging  believers, which reminds us that the heart of apostolic work was spiritual, that being in prayer, listening, learning, and discussions with others about issues arising when the gospel helps them take root in a new community. Paul was concerned about Christians either falling away or falling into false doctrine. I came across this interesting quote from Plato to philosophers regarding cogent/factual proof.

But you do not advance any cogent proof whatsoever; you base your statements on probability. If Theodorus, or any other geometrician, should base his geometry on probability, he would be of no account at all. So, you and Theodorus had better consider whether you will accept arguments founded on plausibility.

Paul did not want believers in Colossae or any other place to leave the faith or fall into false doctrine. He says in verse five that even though he is not there physically, he was with them in Spirit.

For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5.

The strong warning in verse 4 is followed in verse 5 with a pastoral affirmation to the Colossians by announcing that Paul believes they will not believe false teachers who preach heresy. Even though he tells them he may not be with them physically, but he would be with them in spirit.” We see this also in his first letter to the Church in Corinth.

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present.” 1 Corinthians 5:1-3.

Now we come to our focus verse along with the following verse.

“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.” – Colossians 2:6-7.

 The main point in this letter is the philosophy/heresy that was being taught in Colossae. The Colossian philosophers and forms of Old Testament idolatry are spiritually empty and thus worthless. They were both human-made and inherently deceitful. Neither the Colossian philosophy nor Old Testament idolatry were positive and/or beneficial. Both involve false promises of glory to the people. Viewed in light of these comparisons, both biblical idolatry and false philosophies represent competing and heretical alternatives to being “rooted and built up” in Christ.

I want to close out this writing with a look at verses 8-12.

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:8-12.

This word found in Colossians 2 is not speaking only to the Church in Colossae, but to the Church in this present time. We must be careful that we are not deceived into believing and accepting false beliefs that lead us away from the true God. We must watch that we are not ‘taken captive’ by them and ultimately turn away from Christ. Paul’s words do not simply declare God and Christ as one being but does deny there is deity to be found or known in a form other than Christ. While some philosophers reject this, claiming the Christian faith is exclusivist, others have called it “particularist.” That is, the primary claim of the Christian faith is a positive one, that God has become manifest in the particular person, Jesus of Nazareth, and is therefore known in the particular narrative of this man’s life, death, and resurrection. Therefore, a Christian understanding of the identity and character of God is inseparably linked to Jesus and his story. We must remain true to Christ and spread this truth to all we can. We must go out and help unbelievers and those trapped in any false religion to understand Christ is the only way. This is our calling, which is God’s calling to us.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

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