November 17, 2012

Colossians {Day 17}

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8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.  Colossians 2:8-12

You may remember that yesterday, when we looked at the previous verses, Paul was exhorting the Colossians to continue in the tradition they had received: Christ.  He continues on that theme in verse eight: See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depend on the basic principles of the world rather than Christ.

Naturally, to avoid being taken captive, one must know the "true truth" very well.  As Paul says here, the philosophies can be deceptive.  F.F. Bruce makes this interesting observation regarding hollow and deceptive philosophies (like the one that may have been a temptation to the Colossian church):
It sounded good, it appealed to natural religious instincts, but there was nothing in it for Christians.
The phrase, it appealed to natural religions instincts, really struck me.  There are many very nice teachings out there in the world, aren't there?  But just because they "feel" right, does not make them so.  The Christian must be thinking about the Word: the written Word of God and the Word who became flesh.  Paul quickly points the Colossians there in verse nine.

It's almost as if he's saying, Okay guys, here's the deal.  You gotta be on your guard against false teachings that depend on things of this world, not on Christ.  (v. 8 paraphrase) To do so, you need to remember these things (from verses 9-12)
  1. Jesus is God in all His fullness.
  2. In Him, you're filled up too!  (By the one who is over all, in all, and through all!!)
  3. You're baptized: you died with Christ and now you live with Him.  That's God's power at work in you, the very power that raised Christ from the dead.
Those are the true truths you must stick to, Colossian brothers and sisters.  And, oh yeah, before I finish up these thoughts, let's get one more Gospel reminder into this letter.  I mean, really, remembering that is critical to your not being led astray!
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took 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.  Colossians 2:13-15
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How about we cling to that same Gospel truth tonight and into Sunday worship and, well, the rest of our lives, too?  Blessings to you tomorrow morning as you worship the God who grabbed you when you were dead in your transgressions and made you alive.  Glory be to God for triumphing over the powers and authorities by the cross!

There's more here, but it can wait until Monday!

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