Through Philosophy and Vain Deceit

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. 

‘Spoil’ [Greek: sulagogeo] to carry off as booty or plunder; to rob and despoil. Why such a warning if there is no possibility of their goods being taken from them? This clearly shows the possibility of man robbing others of Christ and His blessings. This does not contradict John 10:28-29 and Romans 8:35-39 or any other passage. One must follow Christ and be fully persuaded as in these passages or any man can be robbed and spoiled.

Seven ways that people can spoil Christians: Through philosophy (2:8). Through vain deceit (2:4, 8, 18-19). Through human traditions (2:8). Through human religion and world principles contrary to the gospel (2:8, 14-23; Gal. 4:3). Through circumcision (2:11-13; Acts 15:1; Rom. 4:9-16; Gal. 5:1-11). Through the Law of Moses which demanded observance of the laws on meats, drinks, holy days, new moons, feasts, and sabbaths (2:14-17). Through false cults that puff up and imitate the gospel (2:18-23). By all these means, unsuspecting souls are being carried off as plunder and booty by false teachers. The founders of false religions and human philosophies which pamper the flesh and give their victims elated feelings of importance appeal to them.

‘Philosophy’ [Greek: philosophia] refers to the Mosaic institutions, human traditions of the Jews, and their vain reasonings against the gospel, as well as the various heathen reasonings in religion that are so popular today where people make their own opinion about the Word their gospel. Both Josephus and Philo used the word of all the Mosaic institutions – the philosophy of Moses, and in particular, the hundreds of human interpretations and traditions that even nullified the law of Moses (2:8; Matt. 15:2-13; Gal. 1:14). Today there are so many philosophies that deny even God’s existence and Him as Creator.

‘Rudiments of the world.’ World principles and ways contrary to the gospel (Gal. 4:3).

‘Not after Christ’ – That is, the Jewish and heathen philosophies and the rudiments of the world are not according to the simple gospel of Christ who died to save us (1:20-25).

So Walk You In Him

Colossians 2:6- 7 As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 

‘As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord …’ Colossians 2:6-7 express the secret of victorious living in Christ. One becomes a new creature in Christ, and if he walks, he will always be safe from falling. One must not only walk in Christ, but he must abound in and continue being rooted, grounded, and established in the faith of the gospel (1Pet. 2:21-23; 1Jn. 2:6).

‘Walk you in him’ – Thirty-two things noted in Colossians, that Christians must do: Walk as when you received Christ (2:6). Be rooted in Christ (2:7) and be built up in Christ. Be established in the faith. Abound in the faith. Be joyful in the faith. Beware of deception (2:4, 8, 18-19). Let no man judge your eating (2:16). Let none judge you in drinking [not allowing alcohol] or your holy days, new moons, festivals, sabbaths. Live dead to the world and all its sinful ways (2:20-23; 1Jn. 2:15-17; Rom. 12:1-2; Jas. 4:4). Seek things above (3:1). Set affections above (3:2). Mortify members on earth (3:5): fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, covetousness which is idolatry. Put off the old man (3:8): anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another (3:9). Put on the new man (3:10-12). Forbear one another (3:13). Forgive each other. Put on divine love (3:14). Let God’s peace rule (3:15) and be thankful. Let God’s Word dwell in you (3:16). Teach, admonish one another. Sing with grace. Do all things in Jesus’ name (3:17). Give thanks to God. Continue in prayer (4:2). Watch with thanksgiving. Walk in wisdom (4:5). Redeem the time. Speak with seasoned grace (4:6).

All the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge

Colossians 2:3-5 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 

‘In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ Not “in whom,” but “in which,” referring to the mysteries of Colossians 2:2. In these mysteries of the gospel are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. We read in Romans 11:33: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

‘Beguile’ [Greek: paralogizomai] deceive. Deceive by subtle reasoning, in which conclusions drawn and evidence assumed may seem conclusive in themselves but are false and contrary to the gospel.

‘I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.’ This verse does not read like Paul was a total stranger to Colosse. It shows that the congregation was in good shape as to order of discipline, sound doctrine, and faith in Christ.

Being Knit Together In Love

Colossians 2:1-2 For I would that you 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; 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 

‘Laodicea’ – A city of Phrygia near Colosse.

‘As many as have not seen my face in the flesh.’ This is no proof that he had never been to Colosse or Laodicea. Many new converts could have come into the congregations after his departure who had not seen him while there.

‘That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love …’ Six things Paul desired for them: That their hearts may be comforted. That they are knit together in love. That they have full assurance and knowledge. That they acknowledge the mystery of God. That they acknowledge the mystery of the Father. That they acknowledge the mystery of Christ (1:26-27; 1Tim. 3:16; Eph. 3:1-8).

‘Full assurance’ [Greek: plerophoria] used four times of full or complete assurance: of understanding (2:2); of the gospel (1Thess. 1:5); of hope (Heb. 6:11); of faith (Heb. 10:22).

‘Mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.’ This refers to the mysteries [things not known previously under the law but are now revealed] of the gospel that are now revealed by God and Christ (1:26-27; 4:3; Matt. 13:11; Rom. 16:25; 1Cor. 2:7; 4:1; Eph. 1:9; 3:1-9; 5:32; 6:19; 1Tim. 3:9, 16).

Perfect in Christ Jesus

Colossians 1:26-29 Even the mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which works in me mightily. 

‘The mystery which has been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints.’ This mystery is that the Gentiles should be partakers with the Jews in the gospel and be in the same Christian congregations (Eph. 2:14-22; 3:1-7; 1Cor. 12:13), and be partakers of Christ (1:27). Nothing is hidden in the Word of God for all was given to us in writing as revealed by God through the prophets and apostles (Heb. 1:1-2). This was just something not previously explained or understood. God is not a mysterious God as most people believe, He revealed Himself to us through His divine library of 66 that He revealed over 1,800 years to more than 40 authors.

‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ Fourteen facts about Christ: Head of the kingdom (1:13; Rev. 20:1-15). Redeemer (1:14; Matt. 26:28; Gal. 4:5). Image of the invisible God (1:15). Firstborn of every creature (1:16). Creator of all things. An eternal Being (1:17; Mic. 5:2). Upholder of all things (Heb. 1:3). Head of His body of believers (1:18, 24; Eph. 5:1-33). The originator of all things. Firstborn from the dead. The pre-eminent One (1:18-19; 2:9). The fullness of God (1:19; 2:9) and the Mediator between God and man (1:20-22; 2Cor. 5:14-21; 1Tim. 2:4-6). The indweller of saints (1:27; Luke 22:3).

‘Perfect in Christ Jesus’ – Perfect [Greek: teleios] mature; complete. It is used for full growth, as men, and not children, in Christian knowledge – thoroughly instructed and deeply experienced (2Cor. 2:6; 14:20; Eph. 4:13; Jas. 1:4; 3:2; Heb. 5:14; 1Jn. 4:18). This kind of perfection refers to the complete and glorified state we will reach in Christ in the hereafter. We are warned many times in Scripture to be perfect now in this life already which means utter simplicity, sincerity, being free from guile and evil intention toward anyone; having no part lacking in outward life, conduct, and religion. It does not mean sinless perfection or being without any tendencies to evil, for we can still choose to act selfishly or sin.

‘I also labour, striving according to his working.’ To be able to present every man perfect in Christ (1:28), Paul laboured with all his might by the mighty power God has given to him.

The Dispensation of God

Colossians 1:24-25 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God 

‘Fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake.’ To complete, not the sufferings of Christ for our sins, but that which all believers are called to suffer for Christ’s body and truth (Rom. 8:18; 2Tim. 3:12).

‘Dispensation of God which is given to me for you.’ There are five dispensations named in Scripture: The dispensation or administration of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-9). Dispensation of the gospel (1Cor. 9:17), which is Paul’s administration of the gospel of grace. The dispensation of the grace of God (Eph. 3:2); is the same as the dispensation of the gospel. The dispensation of God (Col. 1:25 – God’s own administration of grace given to Paul; the same as pt. 2). The dispensation of the fullness of times, in which God gathers together all things in heaven and the earth in Christ ridding the earth of all rebellion (Eph. 1:10; 1Cor. 15:24-28; Rev. 20:1-15).

Seven dispensations of man are noted beside the dispensation of angels (Gen. 1:1; Isa. 14:12-14; Ezek. 28:11-17) and the eternal dispensation of the redeemed and faithful angels (Rev. 21-22; Isa. 66:22-24; 2Pet. 3:13), there are seven dispensations of man between the restoration of the earth from chaos (Gen. 1:3 – 2:25) and the New Heavens and the New Earth: the dispensation of Innocence (Gen. 3:1-24); the dispensation of Conscience (Gen. 4-8); the dispensation of Human Government (Gen. 9-11); the dispensation of Promise (Gen. 12:1- Ex. 12:36); the dispensation of Law (Ex. 12:37 – Matt. 3); the dispensation of Grace (Matt.  3:1 – Rev. 19-21); the dispensation of Divine Government during the Millennium (Rev. 20:1-15).

‘To fulfil the word of God’ – To preach the gospel in all fullness (Rom. 15:29).

Continue in the Faith

Colossians 1:23 If you continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister 

‘If you continue …’ One of 1,522 IFs in Scripture and all of them express a condition if one of them does (Deut. 8:19; Ezek. 33:13, 18; John 8:31-36; 15:6, 10, 14; Rom. 8:12-13; 11:23; 1Cor. 3:17; 15:2; Gal. 6:1; 1Thess. 3:8; 2Tim. 2:11-13, 21; Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:4-9; 10:26-39; 2Pet. 1:4-10; 2:20-22; 1Jn. 1:7).

‘Continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.’ Four conditions for the blessings of Colossians 1:22: Continue in the faith. Continue grounded in the faith. Continue settled in the faith. Be not moved away from hope.

‘Hope of the gospel’ – The hope of eternal life (Acts 23:6; Rom. 8:21-25; Col. 1:27; Tit. 1:2; 2:13; 3:7; Heb. 3:6; 1Pet. 1:5-13).

‘Every creature which is under heaven.’ The gospel is offered to every creature under heaven without restrictions or limitations, but all have not heard of it as yet. The figure of speech, synecdoche: a whole is put for a part, as in Genesis 6:17; 2Samuel 6:5, 15; 1Kings 11:16-17; Daniel 2:37-38; 7:23; Matthew 3:5-6; Luke 2:1-3; Romans 1:8; Colossians 1:23 and Revelation 13:8, 16.

Reconciled

Colossians 1:21-22 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled. In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.

‘And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled.’ This refers in particular to Gentiles and is similar to Ephesians 2:11-18; 4:17-19. The sixfold former state of gentiles: Uncircumcised (Eph. 2:11); without Christ (Eph. 2:12); aliens to Israel’s blessings; strangers to the covenants; having no hope in God; without God in the world.

‘In the body of his flesh through death.’ No covenant was made without blood (Ex. 24:8; Heb. 9:20), and there can be no remission of sins without it (Heb. 9:22; Lev. 17:11). Christ’s own blood atoned for sin and it alone can redeem if accepted for personal atonement and proper terms are met (Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; John 6:53-56; 19:34; Acts 20:28; Rom. 3:24-25; 5:9; 1Cor. 10:16; 11:25; Eph. 1:7; 2:13-16; Col. 1:14-20; Heb. 9:12-15; 10:19-29; 12:24; 13:12, 20; 1Pet. 1:2, 18-23; 1Jn. 1:7; 5:6; Rev. 1:5-6; 5:9; 7:14; 12:11).

‘To present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.’ The purpose of redemption (Col. 1:22, 28; Eph. 1:4; 1Thess. 3:13; 5:23; Heb. 12:14). God appraises man as the highest of creation. Man is worth on an equal basis with Jesus Christ in redemption – as to righteousness (1Jn. 3:7), provision by promise (1Cor. 3:22-23; 2Cor. 1:20; Heb. 8:6), nature (2Pet. 1:4), works (John 14:12), inheritance (Rom. 8:17), sufferings and future glory (Matt. 10:24-25; Rom. 8:18; 2Tim. 2:12; 1Pet. 2:21; 4:1; Rev. 2:26-27; 5:10; 22:4-5).Only through redemption in Christ will the whole creation be restored to original perfection and goodness (Gen. 3:1-24; 6:5-22; Rom. 5:12-21; 8:17-24; 1Cor. 15:24-28; 2Pet. 3:7-13; Rev. 21:1-22:5). No single species has evolved from a lower to a higher plane of life. Redemption is the Greek word lutrosis meaning a ransoming. It is from Lutron, a ransom price of redemption; an atonement; a release on receipt of a ransom price and lutroo, to redeem (1Pet. 1:18; Luke 24:21; Tit. 2:14).

Having Made Peace

Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 

‘Having made peace through the blood of his cross.’ Justification is used for the final settlement between people (Job 11:2; 13:18; 27:5; 32:2; 33:32; Pro. 17:15; Luke 10:29; 16:15); of people clearing God of all wrong (Ps. 51:4; Luke 7:29; Rom. 3:26); and of people justifying themselves of all guilt (Jer. 3:11; Ezek. 16:51-52; Job 9:20; 13:18; 32:2; Luke 16:15). Thus, the meaning is clear – to declare not guilty. The justification of man by God simply means that God washes, sanctifies the believer, and declares him no longer guilty (1Cor. 6:9-11; 2Cor. 5:17-18; Acts 13:38-39). God cannot declare one not guilty before he is cleansed from all sin and made holy by the blood of Christ. Sanctification makes the sinner not guilty; justification declares him not guilty. This alone is the function of the blood of Christ: cleaning from sin which makes us holy. Pleading the blood of Christ over us for protection is unscriptural and wrong for protection from God comes from being reconciled with the Father who is the one we have to “dwell with” and “abide under” as commanded in Psalm 91.

‘To reconcile all things unto himself.’ [Greek: katallasso] change from enmity to friendship, reconcile (Rom. 5:10; 1Cor. 7:11; 2Cor. 5:18-20). God was in Christ, reconciling people to Himself. He does not impute sin to those who have confessed and are reconciled to Him (Rom. 4:7-8). God has committed to the reconciled [us] the word of reconciliation. God has made the reconciled ambassadors for Christ reconciling others by their example (2Cor. 5:20; Rom. 5:10). God made Christ a sin-offering, so that man might become righteous (2Cor. 5:21).

‘I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.’ This will be completed in the Millennium (1Cor. 15:24-28; Eph. 1:10; Rev. 20:1-15).

The Head of the Body – Part 1

Colossians 1:18-19 And he is the head of the body, the church [congregations]: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell

‘And he is the head of the body.’ Christ is the head [centre or middle point] of Christian congregations (Eph. 5:23). He is the Saviour of it. Christian congregations must be subject to Christ in all things (Eph. 5:24). Christ gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25) and Christ sanctifies Christians with the washing of the Word (Eph. 5:26). Christ cleanses us with the washing by the Word. Christ will receive Christians to Himself (Eph. 5:27; John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 4:16; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-58; Col. 3:4). Christ is making us glorious (1Cor. 6:11; 2Cor. 3:18). Christ is making it spotless, perfect, holy and faultless. Christ nourishes it (cares for, brings up, protects it; Eph. 5:29). Christ cherishes us (fosters, warms in His bosom). We are part of Christ (Eph. 5:30-32; 1Cor. 12:12-13, 27). We are one with Christ (1Cor. 6:17; Rom. 12:4-5).

Christ is the Head, Saviour, Sanctifier, Purifier, Glorifier, Builder, Nourisher, Cherisher, Unifier, Protector, and the Receiver of all Christians (Eph. 5:23-33).

‘The church’ [Greek: ekklēsia] a calling out, that is, (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): – assembly, congregation. Please note that the King James Version like most English versions changed the word assembly and congregation to church referring to the Catholic structure of serving God through paganism.

Hebrews 10:25 gives the only correct New Testament description: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

To be continued…