Colossians – No more high-sounding nonsense
Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. Colossians 2:8
The young Colossians church was being infiltrated by false teachers that seemed to be adding the simplicity of the Gospel. Nothing wound the clock of the Apostle Paul more than people who felt compelled to customize or complicate the Good News of Jesus.
The teaching was called Gnosticism which had the general idea that Jesus had revealed some inside scoop to a few men, some behind-the-scenes spiritual hokus pokus that would elevate a person’s Christian experience. The root of gnostic is ‘gnosis’, meaning knowledge. They flaunted deeper insight and knowledge. This ‘knowledgeism’ appeals to our basic desire both to be right and to know something others don’t. But it is false, wrong-headed knowledge. Having a lot of spiritual sounding wrong information is still wrong, no matter how much of it you have.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is as deep as any knowledge a person could ever attain, but it is, at the same time, so simple and easy to understand that it is accessible to all. And Paul fought to keep it that way. “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking…”
So he reminds the brothers and sisters of Colosse of the basics of their faith, the absolutes, the truth of Christ Jesus that wasn’t up for debate as it was the revelation and word of God.
He used an old song they may have sang at their baptism or in fellowship with other believers. Rich with the doctrine of Christ, His incarnation, His deity, and His Lordship and redemption on the cross, Paul writes;
“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
for through him God created everything
in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
Everything was created through him and for him.
He existed before anything else,
and he holds all creation together.
Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything.
For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” Colossians 1:15-20
Jesus Christ is God incarnate, Emmanuel. He is the mystery of God, the secret plan, Christ Himself. In Him lay all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (see 2:2-3), and, on top of all this, He lives in you (1:27). Paul encourages the Colossians to live in the simplicity and freedom of this truth, cultivating their life with Jesus. “… continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught…” (2:6-7).
Through our baptism we died to our old life and were raised to new life with Christ (3:1). In turn, “put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you” (3:5), “… now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.” (3:8-9) “Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” (3:10)
This is what it’s all about, the simplicity of Christ. The beautiful truth that by His unfeigned grace He changes us into the best version of ourselves and fills us with unspeakable joy through life.
“Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives…” (3:16) And, “Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (3:14)
Keep life simple. No more high-sounding nonsense.