JohnSWilson3 Blog


“…you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head…”
July 2, 2010, 3:03 pm
Filed under: N Letter to the Colossians

At the beginning of Chapter 2 of Colossians Paul describes the importance of having been rooted in the Lord Jesus Christ, walking in Him, and “being built up in him” our faith and as a result it becomes rock solid in Christ. This enables us to stand against the teachings of those who try to make us think wrongly about Jesus because of their “persuasive speech.” Now Paul moves quickly into a key section of another issue that can try and keep us from moving forward in Christ.

“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.” This seems to generalize the issues that Paul now address for the rest of the chapter. In fact as I look at a literal translation of the the rest of the chapter it actually is one complete sentence! Give it to Paul for his run-on sentences!

There are some interesting thoughts I got as I looked at what Paul is trying to warn us about. It is possible that Christians can be taken into captivity. Christians “are in danger of being carried off into captivity, and must be put on the alert lest they become prey of those who wish to take away their freedom.” (1) This could lead into a huge discussion! The word “captive” also means “robbing.” (2) We can be taken captive by “philosophy and empty deceit.” (3) F.F. Bruce says that philosophy describes “everything that had to do with theories about God and the world and the meaning of human life.” (4) This philosophy is dependent upon “human tradition and the basic principles of this world.” When we focus on theories about God we can deceive ourselves. How many theories about God have led men astray from the reality of God which is found only “on Christ?” “Empty” refers to “void of anything profitable.” (5) Traditions can be either Jewish or Gentile, it doesn’t matter. Remember Jesus thoughts about the Jewish traditions? He had nothing but condemnation for them because they prevented His people from knowing the reality of the Lord. “Basic principles (or elements) of this world” also gives a sense of the natural world, the cosmos, perhaps occultist philosophy is in mind here. How many philosophers have corrupted or hidden the reality of Jesus Christ because of basing their philosophy on traditions, the occult, “our natural religious instincts”, etc?

Is the modern church tradition of “going to church,” the church as a building, the church meeting being solely the function of a professional class, the ministry of the church only for those with the special speaking and musical talents or other “human skills,” the teaching and study of the Bible only for those who are the most learned, the control of the thinking of the church and its practices based on certain doctrines and philosophies, the programming of the life of the people of the church, etc. do these things have more to do with a philosophy that is dependent upon “human tradition” and this worlds professional business class of society, occultist practices, and “basic principles of this world rather than on Christ?” Has the modern church been taken captive, been robbed of it’s life because of all these things “rather than on Christ”? That is for you, for us to reflect on prayerfully. Remember Paul’s heart felt cry to the Corinthians who were taken captive by all the junk that had spilled into this organic church (let us be careful and realize that any gathering of the church, whatever we call it, can be taken captive): “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.” In Paul’s mind, to be led astray, to be taken captive by the philosophy of “human traditions and the basic principles of this world” was the same as playing the harlot with Christ, instead of being a virgin bride. May we keep our focus on Jesus! We must meet together in face to face community and keep Jesus Christ as our focus, to keep Him as the head, or we will play the harlot! We will be taken captive and we may not even realize it!

We should never be taken captive! “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 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. 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, 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. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”

Do we see who Christ is and how He sees us? These things that are trying to steal us away from simple devotion to Christ are things that are empty, hollow, without power and authority because Christ is “over every power and authority”! In fact Paul said earlier: “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” Because “all the fullness of the Godhead (6) lives in bodily form” in Christ and because we are in Christ and He is in us, then we “have been given fullness in” Him! Lightfoot describes “Christ as the one fountain-head of all spiritual life.” (7) He is our life! And because He “is the head over every power and authority” we stand in that same stead! Lord give me, give us a revelation that we are so in You and You are “over every power and authority” then we can never be deceived or taken captive by anything or anyone apart from You! Read the words! Our “sinful nature” has been removed, our being “dead in (our) sins” have “all” been forgiven, and everything “that was against us and stood opposed to us” have all been “canceled” because Jesus Christ “took it away, nailing it to the cross.” It’s a done deal! Our sinful nature got “buried with him” and we are now raised to newness of life and we are now “alive with Christ” “through (our) faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead!” Jesus Christ when He died on that cross and rose again “disarmed the powers and authorities” they now have been “disarmed”! They have no more ability to subvert us and take us captive! Only in our minds, when they are taken off of Christ, who He is and what He has done, are we deceived and believe that “powers and authorities” can still control us. They cannot! They have no ability! They may look tough and fierce but its all a head game! Jesus “made a spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross”! We now live in His power and authority! Let us live in freedom, we have been unshackled so to speak! Let us not put the shackles back on by following the things of this world instead of Jesus Christ!

(1) Bruce, F.F., The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, The new Internaional Commentary on the New Testament, William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, 1984, 97-98.
(2) Alfred Marshall, The Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1975, The Zondervan Corporation, 591.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Bruce, 98.
(5) W.E. Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 151.
(6) Lightfoot comments that the word “Deity” is an inadequate latin translation of the word which and is better translated “Godhead.” Lightfoot, J.B., “St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon: J.B. Lightfoot’s Commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul, Third Printing, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995, 182.
(7) Ibid., 181.

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Amen & Amen!!! I loved this brother John. Oh the precious freedom & life we have in Jesus! I do have a pet peeve that causes a knee jerk in me….LOL! The word “sinful nature” is not in the original. The greek word is correctly translated “flesh”. We are not spiritual schizofrenics with 2 natures. We ONLY have 1 nature/life….JESUS! Having said that brother I understand what you are saying & where you are coming from. Keep it coming! Blessings

Comment by Anthony Verderame

This is a very nice writing. The thoughts written here came from above. I shall copy and paste this without asking permission. easier to ask forgiveness anyway to Mr. John. You’re writings John were great. Please do keep it up!

Comment by molong nacua

thanks so much brother! Praise God for His life who lives in us!

Comment by John Wilson




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