Lesson 17

Paul's Letter to the Colossians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

2:8 Be careful that you don't let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ. 2:9 For in him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, 2:10 and in him you are made full, who is the head of all principality and power;

Today's Lesson 

Today Paul continues to write to the believers who are in Christ at Colossae about their current situation. He made the transition between the introduction of his letter and this section with personal information about himself and his ministry. Then he began on a positive note by praising the teaching that had been delivered to them by Epaphras. He encouraged them to walk in the truth that they had been given, to be steadfast in their faith and to carry it to the point where they were abounding in thanksgiving to God. He called for them to be rooted in Christ and to be built up in Him.


He begins Today's Scripture with a warning. He writes, "…don't let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the traditions of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ." Having started their walk with God on the right footing, Paul wants to be sure that they continue on the path of truth. He wants to make sure that they do not become sidetracked. Christ himself said that the path of righteousness is narrow but that the way of evil was wide. Paul is encouraging these believers to follow the teachings that Epaphras had brought to them and to walk the narrow path.


It is easy to become sidetracked from one's original faith. Paul writes about two of the most common ways. We can follow after the traditions of men. We are creatures of habit. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. But, he is a new creation that is filled with a history of bad habits. It is easy to return to the habits and traditions of men instead of keeping our focus firmly on the Lord. Another way that we become sidetracked is by following the elements of the world. The culture and the world will always point us in the direction away from Christ. There are just too many distractions that would take our minds off of God.


There will also be men advocating each of these sidetracks as a way to continue our lives in Christ. There will always be false teachers who follow their own "philosophy and vain deceit." Paul's method of determining which teachers are false and which teachers are true is a simple one. The genuine teachers will teach Christ. True Christian instruction is centered on the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Risen One who rules over the church. False teachers will always be pointing in any other direction except Christ.


To drive this point home, Paul repeats a concept that he had used during the hymn of verses 1:15-20 and then he adds an important phrase. In Christ "all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily, and in him you are made full…" Christ is "full" of God, so when Christ is in you, you too are "full." Why does Paul emphasis the fullness of Christ in relationship to false teachers though?


Paul believed that the Living Christ lives in each believer. When Jesus was alive in Galilee and Jerusalem, He did not defer to other Rabbis and teachers because His relationship with God was a direct one. God was in Him and the Father told Him everything that He was to say or do. Jesus did not defer to the teachings of man because He had an intimate relationship with the Father.


In the same way, each believer has an intimate relationship with the Father through Christ who lives in us. We should not be led astray by the philosophies of men when they point away from Christ because Christ Himself is in us pointing to truth. All we have to do is learn to listen to Him. We must tune our ears to hear the voice of the Lord and allow the Christ that is within us to teach us in His way. God does use other believers to speak to us, but He will always confirm through our own spirits when truth is spoken. All spiritual truth is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ because in Him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily.


Where is your spiritual center? Whose philosophy do you follow in your daily life, those of man or that of Christ?


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