ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Religion and Philosophy»
  • Christianity, the Bible & Jesus

Bible: What Does Colossians 2 Teach Us About Christian Truth Versus Pagan Philosophy?

Updated on August 6, 2016

The Doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ

220px-Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Exhortati...
220px-Brooklyn_Museum_-_The_Exhortati...

Colossians 2

Paul continues to emphasize that he has had to struggle and suffer for them (and for other believers elsewhere) in order to see spiritual growth among them (v. 1; cf. 1:24, 29; Phil. 1:30; 4:3). He desires that his efforts to unite them into a more intimate group would enable them to understand fully how spiritually wealthy they are because they know Christ, God’s mystery (v. 2). As a transition into his discussion of human philosophy’s opposition to this knowledge, the apostle asserts that Christ is the repository of all wisdom and knowledge, a fact he offers as a safeguard against their succumbing to the teachings of any Greek “sage” who would seek to dissuade them from following the Lord (vv. 3-4; cf. v. 8).

[The apostle laid the foundation of his doctrine about Christ’s full deity in the first chapter, and he continues to build upon it in this section)].

The Cross of Christ

18d0225ae473512991ced0455e99bc95
18d0225ae473512991ced0455e99bc95

Although he cannot be with them physically, Paul still maintains genuine interest in their spiritual welfare through reports and prayer, demonstrating joy when he “sees” their self-discipline and their persevering faith in Christ (v. 5). Acknowledging that they have trusted (“received”) Messiah Jesus as their Savior, Paul exhorts the Colossians to continue to conduct their daily lives (“walk”) according to their belief in the Lordship of Christ. He wants them to be thankful for the teachings (“the faith”) which have attached them firmly (“rooted”) and are growing them deep into the rich, fertile soil of Christ (vv. 6-7; cf. Eph. 3:17).

[In a similar epistle, the apostle also includes the idea of being built up as a holy temple in the Lord (cf. Eph. 2:20)].

Philosophy

By what philosophy do you attempt to live your life?

See results

Human Philosophy

view quiz statistics

Having fixed their minds on the blessings they have in Christ, Paul next warns them not to allow paganism (“philosophy and empty deception”) to captivate their hearts. The apostle informs them that these philosophers base their thinking on human tradition and “the elementary principles of the world,” a tradition that excludes Christ (v. 8).

[Ryrie provides an extended explanation of this Colossian belief system, calling their basic principles “the cosmic spirits of Hellenistic syncretism.” Their “theology” seemed to be a mixture of astrology and angel worship (362)].

Paul spends little time explaining what these false teachers espoused; instead, he centers the Colossians’ attention on both the full deity and the undiminished humanity of Jesus Christ (v. 9; cf. 1:19), and on spiritual wholeness (“in Him you have been made complete”): the benefit derived from being united to Him, the One who rules the angelic hierarchy [v. 10]. [Do not worship the angels; worship the One who rules the angels].

The Colossians have also received a spiritual circumcision and Spirit baptism in which Christ separated their old, sinful nature (“the body of the sins of the flesh”) [illustrated by the physical rite of circumcision] from their regenerated spirit, and the Spirit of God identified them with Christ in His burial and resurrection when they believed that God raised Jesus from death [illustrated by the ordinance of immersion] [vv. 11-12]. God positionally resurrected (“made alive together with Him”) and forgave the sins of the Colossian believers—a people whose transgressions once spiritually separated them from Him (“dead in your transgressions”) in their unregenerate state (“the uncircumcision of their flesh”) [v. 13]. Paul pictures God’s forgiveness of trespasses as His cancellation and removal of “the certificate of debt” of believers by nailing it to the cross of Christ (v. 14).

[Ryrie understands this document as illustrative of the Mosaic Law—principles everyone fails to obey perfectly, thus putting everyone in God’s debt (362)].

By eliminating this debt of sin, God takes away all of the spiritual weapons that demonic forces could use to destroy true believers, and displays His opponents as defeated and humiliated enemies (v. 15).

[These adversaries still wage war against the Church, but they can never ultimately defeat her. Believers need to remind themselves that Christ has fully paid their sin debt].

The Spiritually Blind

375px-Pieter_Bruegel_d._Ä._025
375px-Pieter_Bruegel_d._Ä._025

Having refreshed the Colossians’ mind as to their position in Christ, Paul now instructs them not to allow false teachers to force them to observe fasts and religious feast days—rituals and observances that were merely shadows of “things to come.” The life and work of Christ, on the other hand, are the “very form of things,” the “substance” (vv. 16-17; cf. Heb. 8:5; 10:1). Nor should the Colossians let these heretics rob them of their reward for faithful service to Christ by foisting upon them a belief system that included imaginary mystical visions, asceticism, and angel worship, but does not exalt the Lord to His proper position as the Head which supplies the body with all it needs to grow (vv. 18-19; cf. 1:18; 2:10). Given the fact that they know that their union with Christ separated them from adherence to pagan philosophy, Paul asks the Colossians why they continue to submit themselves to and follow ritualistic, man-made rules which “concern things destined to perish with the using” (vv. 20-22). He points out that while this ascetic religious philosophy appears wise, it, in reality, provides no power to overcome the lusts of the “flesh” (v. 23).

© 2013 glynch1

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)