Keepng the Truth May 3

I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.

Keeping the Truth
Col. 2:8-23 Col. 2:8-23 May 8 2011

The apostle expresses concern for the Colossians . He repeats it again . He cautions them against false teachers among the Jews , and against the Gentile philosophy . He represents the privileges of Christians . And, Concludes with a caution against the judaizing teachers, and those who would introduce the worship of angels .

1. He cautions against the errors of heathen philosophy; also against Jewish traditions, and rites which had been fulfilled in Christ. (Col. 2:8-17)

Col. 2:8 See that no one shall be carrying you away as spoil through the philosophy and vain deceit, according to the deliverance of men, according to the rudiments of the world, and not according to Christ, 9 because in him doth tabernacle all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, 10 and ye are in him made full, who is the head of all principality and authority, 11 in whom also ye were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh in the circumcision of the Christ, 12 being buried with him in the baptism, in which also ye rose with him through the faith of the working of God, who did raise him out of the dead.13 And you—being dead in the trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh—He made alive together with him, having forgiven you all the trespasses, 14 having blotted out the handwriting in the ordinances that is against us, that was contrary to us, and he hath taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross; 15 having stripped the principalities and the authorities, he made a shew of them openly—having triumphed over them in it.16 Let no one, then, judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of the coming things, and the body is of the Christ;

There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men’s fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God. To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word “complete,” is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. “In him,” not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law. Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ’s death was the death of our sins; Christ’s resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities. The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord’s day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.

2. Against worshipping angels; and against legal ordinances. (Col. 2:18-23)

Col. 2:18 let no one beguile you of your prize, delighting in humble-mindedness and in worship of the messengers, intruding into the things he hath not seen, being vainly puffed up by the mind of his flesh, 19 and not holding the head, from which all the body—through the joints and bands gathering supply, and being knit together—may increase with the increase of God. 20 If, then, ye did die with the Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances? 21—thou mayest not touch, nor taste, nor handle— 22 which are all for destruction with the using, after the commands and teachings of men, 23 which are, indeed, having a matter of wisdom in will-worship, and humble-mindedness, and neglecting of body—not in any honour, unto a satisfying of the flesh.

It looked like humility to apply to angels, as if men were conscious of their unworthiness to speak directly to God. But it is not warrantable; it is taking that honour which is due to Christ only, and giving it to a creature. There really was pride in this seeming humility. Those who worship angels, disclaim Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man. It is an insult to Christ, who is the Head of the church, to use any intercessors but him. When men let go their hold of Christ, they catch at what will stand them in no stead. The body of Christ is a growing body. And true believers cannot live in the fashions of the world. True wisdom is, to keep close to the appointments of the gospel; in entire subjection to Christ, who is the only Head of his church. Self-imposed sufferings and fastings, might have a show of uncommon spirituality and willingness for suffering, but this was not “in any honour” to God. The whole tended, in a wrong manner, to satisfy the carnal mind, by gratifying self-will, self-wisdom, self-righteousness, and contempt of others. The things being such as carry not with them so much as the show of wisdom; or so faint a show that they do the soul no good, and provide not for the satisfying of the flesh. What the Lord has left indifferent, let us regard as such, and leave others to the like freedom; and remembering the passing nature of earthly things, let us seek to glorify God in the use of them.

“Philosophy” . Hollow and deceptive philosophy depends on human tradition. The whole system presented by the false teachers in Colossians was mere “basic principles of this world”—an ignorant child’s play with ABC’s—not the advanced truth they claimed.
“Fullness” . Earlier too Paul spoke of Christ possessing the fullness (pleroma) of God. In this chapter Paul means simply that all God can be and is for us is summed up in Jesus. We don’t need a “better way” because relationship with Jesus provides us with all of God.
Real circumcision . Jewish elements in the “deceptive philosophy” of the false teachers emphasized circumcision—an external rite. But faith unites us with Jesus, and this baptism accomplishes a circumcision which “puts off” the sinful nature. This is the “fullness” we have been given in Christ and find only in Him.
“The Cross” . The phrase is frequently used in the N.T. as a term for the Gospel.
“Canceled the written code” . Because we could not meet the Law’s demands it was “against us.” But it is no longer. The Gk. word means to “wipe out’’ or “wipe away.” The blood of Jesus washed all that was written against us off the bill of indictment, and we are free.
“Powers and authorities” . The reference is to hostile angelic or supernatural powers.
“Worship of angels” . Developed Gnosticism supposed that a long row of angels stood between the material universe and the immaterial God. The most powerful angels were the furthest from the material. Many worshiped and sought to contact these angels.
Asceticism . Paul says do’s and don’ts are of no “value in restraining sensual indulgence.” People who “don’t” get proud, and condemn folks who “do.” And these sins are as much an expression of the flesh, or sin nature, as the action the person is proud of refusing!