Go Forward in Christ (preaching resource for 7/24/22)
|Christ the Ruler of the Universe (public domain via Wikimedia Commons)|
Hold firm to Christ (Col. 2:6-7)
6 Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
Here Paul uses multiple images to make his point about holding to firm to Christ.
This is a picture of pilgrimage. Paul has already encouraged his readers to “walk worthy of the Lord” (Col 1:10, KJV), and will do so again (Col 3:7; 4:5). We are to walk in Christ the same way we originally received him—by faith. The false teachers wanted to introduce “new truth” that was supposedly necessary for Christian maturity. But Paul disagrees, stating in effect that they having started with Christ, must continue with Christ. Having started with faith, must continue in that faith. This is the only way that they will make spiritual progress.
Beware the enemy (Col 2:8–10)
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.
- For all its esoteric attractiveness, their teaching is mere “human tradition” and not God’s truth. The word tradition means “that which is handed down.” While there is a true Christian tradition, the issue here is one of origin: Did this teaching come from God or from man? Paul’s answer? “From man.”
- Their teaching involves, “the basic principles of this world.” The Greek word translated “principles” (“rudiments,” KJV), basically means “one of a row or series.” It had several meanings attached to it: (a) the elementary sounds or letters, the ABCs; (b) the basic elements of the universe, as in 2Pet 3:10–12; (c) the basic elements of knowledge, the ABCs of some system as in Heb 5:12. But in ancient Greece, the word also meant “the elemental spirits of the universe, the angels that influenced the heavenly bodies.” It was one of the words in the vocabulary of the religious astrology of that day. The false teachers believed that the angels and heavenly bodies influenced people’s lives. Paul’s warnings to the Colossians about “new moons” and other religious practices determined by the calendar (Col 2:16) may be related to this, though the Jewish people also carefully watched the calendar (Gal 4:10). One thing is certain: such teachings about demons and angels were not a part of true Christian doctrine.
Go forward confident in Christ's victory (Col. 2:11-15)
Circumcised in him (v. 11)
In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,
Buried and resurrected in him (vv. 12–13)
12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
Freed from the law in him (v14)
having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
Victorious in him (v. 15)
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it. (NRSV)
- Jesus “disarmed the powers and authorities,” stripping Satan and his army of whatever weapons they held. Satan cannot harm the vigilant believer. It is when we cease to watch and pray (as did Peter) that Satan can use his weapons against us.
- Jesus “made a public spectacle” of the enemy, exposing Satan’s deceit and vileness. In His death, resurrection, and ascension, Christ vindicated God and vanquished the devil.
- Jesus' victory is a triumph. Whenever a Roman general won a great victory on foreign soil, took many captives and much loot, and gained new territory for Rome, he was honored by an official parade known as a “triumph” in which the conquering general (here Christ) leads a parade that includes his defeated enemies, now enslaved. Jesus won a complete victory, and returned to glory in a great triumphal procession (Eph. 4:8ff). In this, he disgraced and defeated Satan. Because we share in Jesus’ great victory over the devil, we need not concern ourselves with the elemental forces that govern the planets and try to influence men’s lives. The satanic armies of principalities and powers are defeated and disgraced!