JohnSWilson3 Blog

“…how firm your faith in Christ is.”
July 1, 2010, 5:08 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

Reading Chapter 2 of Colossians you begin to immediately see that what Paul has been saying up until now is for a purpose. “I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.” How many times has that happened to us?

There is a reason why Paul and the other New Testament writers to the church focus on knowing Jesus Christ! Jesus is the prescription and the antidote to deception. If we are not walking “in him” and “being built up in him,” even though we “received Christ Jesus as Lord” we will fall prey to deception. Not just deception by false teaching but self-deception as well. How many Christians, you and I, have been hurt by those who had deceived us by mixing truth with error? How many times have we done the same to ourselves by not really knowing Jesus Christ and Him crucified, who is in us, “the hope of glory?”

I checked my concordance on all the various words for “deceive.” Every book in the New Testament uses a form of the word in one way or another and in some instances more than once. And the later writers expressed concern as this was only going to get worse. The prescription and antidote for deception is Jesus Christ! That’s why those who planted churches in the book of Acts focused first on giving a strong foundation of the good news of Jesus Christ, they laid a foundation of the glorious riches of Jesus Christ! And having been rooted in Christ, then as the body of Christ lived under His lordship or headship and lived by His life, they were built up, their faith in Christ was made solid and firm, living by the Spirit. When that happens as the song says: “then the things of this world will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Paul describes some areas of concern apparently that he had received from Epaphras, one of Paul’s church planters who had planted this organic church along with others in the region. There are many words in the English for deceive. When Paul says “I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine sounding arguments” the word deceive means “to reckon wrong” (1) because of “persuasive speech.” (2) I get the sense Paul is saying to the church that it is of vital importance to know Jesus Christ together intimately. Our focus must be on Jesus Christ and Him alone when we gather together! If we do not then others will come in using persuasive speech and cause us to believe things about Jesus Christ that are wrong. When we forget our identity in Christ, the focus on the sinful nature becomes the norm. Paul explained a huge amount about Jesus Christ in the opening letter of Colossians! And this is really just a summary of all that he has already explained in his letters to the other churches and what has been interpreted from the Old Testament and what we have from the gospels. We need to be drenched with the life of Jesus. Let us know Jesus Christ brothers and sisters, and know Him more every day! How we need Christ formed and enlarged in us!

If we are, and it will happen, confronted with those who are attempting to deceive the church, whether intentionally or not, by making persuasive arguments that talk about Jesus Christ wrongly, we stand solidly on our “faith in Christ,” and, as he said to the Corinthian church (who were allowing all kinds of deception into the church), “by the meekness and gentleness of Christ” we “speak the truth in love,” allow Jesus life to be expressed, in order “to demolish…arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Perhaps Paul even has what he is about to write to the Ephesians in mind: “and pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.”

In the very first letter he wrote, look at what Paul said to the Galatian churches:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel – which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel than other the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” Wow! Pretty strong words which we should all heed! Read the whole of Galatians they had problems both with false teachers and self deception. How we need to focus on knowing Christ Jesus our Lord!

Before he was arrested in Jerusalem he wrote to the Roman Christians, concluding his letter by saying:

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” But Paul is “full of joy over” them because “everyone has heard about your obedience.” How we need “to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.” But praise God “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet”!

If someone takes away or adds something to about Jesus Christ, who He is, what He did for us and living by His life now is walking on thin ice. Deception is called this because when we see the surface it has some truth to it, even Scriptures added to the teaching, but it is mixed with error, something that doesn’t align itself with what God has said from His word. The intent of deception is to make you believe that a lie is true. Isn’t that what Satan did when tempting Eve which Adam, who was standing next to Eve, accepted passively? Remember what Paul said again to the Corinthians (in his second letter): “I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

So how important it was for Paul to say “for though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly (or not confusing) you are and how firm (literally “solid” (3)) your faith in Christ is.” How orderly are our gatherings in our face-to-face community? Do we try and talk over each other? Do we try to dominate the conversation? Are we passive and let everyone else function? If so then Jesus is not the Head of your gathering with Him. Self is on the throne not Jesus. Every part is to function in the body of Christ. When every part is functioning by the Spirit of God and Jesus is head of the church, then our faith becomes solid, it becomes firm in Him. Do we know and have a strong faith in Jesus Christ enough to see deception? We do not make faith into something, we do not put faith in just something, we are to live by faith in Jesus Christ!

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”

(1) W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 58.
(2) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 589.
(3) Vine, 240.


3 Comments so far
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So beautifully written, tears would not hold back. If only we could all not get lost in “other things” and keep view of our Life in our Christ Jesus, we would be His united body without controversy among one another. Critical attitudes among ourselves makes no sense to me. To condemn a brother or sister is the very same as condemning oneself, if we are one!

Comment by Kathy

Wow, thank you Jesus for Your very life! How this flesh is so totally sinful, but praise God for Jesus who loves us in spite of ourselves. Yes, how He must grieve for His church, thankfully God is bringing a restoration, a spiritual revolution into His body that has their desire and focus to be just Jesus. Help us to keep our eyes on You!

Comment by John Wilson


Comment by Kathy

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