The Expository Files.

Let No One Do These Things To You

Colossians 2

There are times when we ought to "turn the other cheek", but then there are also times when that would be a mistake. There are some things that God's people are told to never allow happen to them. In act, four of these things are mentioned in the second chapter of Colossians. Here we are strongly urged to be uncompromising in these areas and not to allow ourselves to be pushed around. We are to dig in our heels and refuse to yield
in these matters.

Consider what the Scriptures teach with regard to these areas of godly "obstinacy" and notice that none of them refer to protecting ourselves from ridicule or persecution, Neither do they have to do with protection from material loss. They all have one thing in common; we are to never allow anyone to do to us that which would hurt our relationship with Christ, because "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." (Colossians 2:9,10).

Let No One Delude You
"I say this that no one may delude you with persuasive argument." (Colossians 2:4).

Christ is the source of truth. He is "the way, the truth, and the life" and no one comes "to the Father" but by Him (John 14:6). His words are the words of truth. In answer to Pilate, Jesus said, "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice" to which Pilate lamely asked, "What is truth?" (John 18:37,38).

The world has quite an argument with Jesus on this point. It offers all kinds of "alternative truths" to Jesus. Paul had encouraged disciples to attain "to all 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 2:2,3). Now, it may not be very politically correct, but it is true; that Jesus is the only way to God and the source of truth; and those doctrines and philosophies and schemes contrary to Him are false delusions no matter how persuasive their adherents' claims to the contrary. The matter is simple; Jesus determines what is right and what is wrong. That is the end of the matter. Let no one
delude you otherwise.

Let No One Take You Captive
"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." (Colossians 2:8).

The world offers a confusing mesh of speculation and philosophies. It is almost like a smorgasbord and you can select whatever appeals to your appetite. The Scriptures warn that these philosophies make those who receive them as prisoners, or as captives of war.

There are many such philosophies making inroads in our culture today. Many people are captivated by astrology and the occult; by cults and New Age; by humanism and secularism. These all have at least one thing in common; they remove Christ from His pre-eminence and that simply will not do.

As those who have received Christ, we counter these influences by equipping ourselves spiritually. In the previous two verses, Paul urged, "As therefore you have received Christ, 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).

To "so walk in Him" means to apply His teachings to the activities of our lives. The best defense is a good offense, they say. It is not enough to sit and do nothing. By our learning and doing, we become firmly rooted, built up in Him, and established in our faith as our hearts are filled with gratitude at being rescued from our worthless and hopeless estate and raised to share the blessings of God (James 1:22-25; Ephesians 1:3). Let no one take you captive!

Let No One Act As Your Judge
"Therefore, let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink, or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-" (Colossians 2:16).

Specifically Paul is here discussing the binding of certain tenets from the Old Law. Those things were only a shadow of the substance to come. Paul explains, "...things which are a mere shadow of what is to come, but the substance belongs to Christ." (Colossians 2:17). Some think that Paul may also be referring to an early form of Gnosticism, which was a philosophy that sought to mix pagan beliefs with Judaism and Christianity. In any case, it was a philosophy contrary to the purpose and will of Christ.

Many philosophies of men hold some good. There are shadows of truth in most religious systems. Most value honesty and integrity. Unselfishness is an attribute that many world religions and belief systems hold as important. Many talk of brotherhood and peace in similar ways. But apart from the Prince of Peace and the Source of truth, it is all shadow-play. Without Jesus, there can be no substance, for "the substance belongs to Christ".

One reason this is so is because only Jesus can do for us what we really need done. Only Jesus can save us from our sins. Paul explained, "...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. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions." (Colossians 2:12,13). This is what none other than Christ can do. So, if someone questions why we try to do things His way and forgo worldly religious tradition and ritual, this is why. It is God who justifies, so who is able to "bring a charge against God's elect?" (Romans 8:33,34). Let no one act as your judge because of your unwillingness to walk in the shadows.

Let No One Keep Defrauding You
"Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind..." (Colossians 2:18).

Though this is a continuation of the thoughts presented earlier, we do find here the ultimate consequence for not paying heed to the warnings. After urging disciples to allow no one to "delude" them, to take them "captive", to act as their "judge", Paul here says to allow no one to "keep defrauding you of your prize." Many passages refer to the reward, or prize, that the Lord will award to the faithful on the last day (1 Corinthians 9:24; Philippians 3:10-14; 2 Timothy 4:8; Colossians 1:5). We are not to allow anyone to keep defrauding us because in doing so we would be allowing ourselves
to be placed in jeopardy of losing that reward.

Whether it be the worship of angels or visions; to forsake the Lord in favor of basing our lives on other belief systems is vain. In the final verse of the chapter, Paul says that "self-made religion" is of no value (Colossians 1:23). It is a fatal error not to "hold fast to the head (Christ - J.Q.), from whom the entire body (disciples; the church - J.Q.) being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God." (Colossians 2:19). So, we are urged to let no one keep defrauding us of our prize. In life, "the substance belongs to Christ."

By Jon W. Quinn  
From Expository Files 4.3; March 1997