Bible · Christianity · encouragement · religion

Rooted, built up, and established in the faith

The Information Age we live in has sparked in many of us a desire to increase in knowledge to enhance our lives.  Whenever useful information is around to strengthen us in our walk with Christ, there is always harmful information thrown in our path to get us off track.  It is a constant struggle to discern the good from the bad because so often our flesh wants one thing while God’s Spirit in us wants another.  This is the concern Paul had for the church at Colossae as he shared what the Holy Ghost laid on his heart in Colossians 2.

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. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: [Colossians 2:8-10]

Paul warns us against allowing anyone to rob us of godly knowledge and wisdom after we are established in our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  If we are not careful, we can fall for worldly philosophies and worthless deceitful ideas that are established by human traditions and principles the world promotes.  One reason we fall for these lies is that we entertain the thought that there must be more purpose to our lives and spiritual truth in the world than what is supplied to us through Christ.

This opens the door for us to fall for a myriad of false beliefs such as thinking we can lose our salvation, or that all religions lead to God, or that gay marriage is okay, or that creation evolved over millions of years, or that experts in certain fields can be taken at their word, or that no one can really know the truth. 

Paul goes on to say that in Jesus Christ we find the Godhead fully represented in bodily form.  In other words, Jesus Christ is 100% God and possesses 100% of God’s power since he is God.  Since he is 100% God and we are in him, we are therefore spiritually complete in him and it is unnecessary for us to look anywhere else for our spiritual needs.  Christ is not lacking in anything we need, having the power to supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory whether they be physical, mental, or spiritual.

We can also trust that all of our needs are met through Christ because he is over all principalities and powers in the universe.  That includes angelic principalities and powers who have prompted the men of this world to conjure up their vain philosophies and ungodly ideas.  Since these beings are beneath Christ and his heavenly doctrines, why would we want to cling to them?  Their philosophies and ideas are serious downers and as Christians we should look upwards to where our lives are hid with Christ in God.

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 

And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [Colossians 2:11-14]

Believing in the Lord Jesus Christ brings about a spiritual circumcision and a spiritual baptism where our sinful nature is cut off and buried while a new godly nature springs forth and arises in us, even if we still struggle with the fleshly, sinful nature that still dwells in our bodies.  Our spiritual baptism shows that through our faith that came from God’s power, our old nature died and was buried, and we were raised to a new life spiritually at the time Christ experienced his death, burial, and resurrection.  It was at this moment God created a “savings” account filled with the blood of Jesus for those of us who would be saved at a future date when we could withdraw from that account by confessing Jesus as Lord.

It was at the cross that we were forgiven not just some of our trespasses, but all of our trespasses, past, present, and future.  If we were forgiven only some of them (e.g. only those we committed up to the point of our salvation), then it would be possible for us to lose our salvation and Jesus’ death on the cross would not have been enough to cover us.  But God took all of the charges that were against us (which he knew ahead of time) and blotted them out with Jesus’ blood and nailed them to the cross.  Our sins (past, present, and future) were taken completely (not partially) out of the way.

And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. [Colossians 2:15]

Not only was Christ’s death powerful enough to save sinners, it openly showed that even in death he was more powerful than Satan and his angels, robbing Satan of souls who were part of his kingdom.  Since Satan and his powers were defeated by a superior, more powerful Lord, why would we want to embrace his devilish doctrines promoted in this world?

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. [Colossians 2:16-17]

Christ has made us free completely from all religious rituals established under the Mosaic law or man-made traditions, so as a Christian no one has the right to mandate that I only eat meat or I should only be vegetarian.  They don’t have the right to mandate that I shouldn’t eat pork or that I have to celebrate Christmas or Easter.  They can’t mandate that I should only attend church on Saturday or Sunday.  Religious rituals are just symbols and glimpses of what God still has yet to do, but my body (God’s temple) and the church (body of believers) are the real tangible possessions of Christ and they trump religious rituals.

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. [Colossians 2:18-23]

People try to deceive believers into following their deceptive practices through asceticism (the use of stringent self-discipline to attain higher spirituality) and worshiping angels (contacting and fellowshiping with spirit guides), but all of this is based on the ungodly pride of man looking to exalt himself.  They disregard the Lord, who is the true Head of the church and the universe.  Christ is the one who nourishes his church and takes care of it so it can increase in blessings and strength so such rituals and doctrines are completely unnecessary.

Since we are dead with Christ to the world and its ways, it’s in our best interest to cast off worldly principles and all man-made doctrines that try to keep us from advancing in what pleases God.  We must obey God rather than men.  These principles are just an outward show of worshiping man’s will with a false humility even when they neglect their bodies through fasting or self-flagellation or forbidding themselves to marry, like Pharisees doing their good works only to be seen by men.  This in no way leads to godly honor, but is geared toward catering to fleshly desires, the desire to have men place them on pedestals.

If we are rooted, built up, and established in the faith, being tricked by these tactics will be less of a problem for us.

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–


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