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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Colossians

The book of Colossians was written by the Apostle Paul to the church at Colosse, in approximately AD 60, during Paul's first imprisonment. The city of Colosse overlooked the Lychus River in Asia Minor. This letter was hand delivered by Onesimus, the renegade slave whom Paul addresses to his master, Philemon, in the book of the same name. Paul's letters were delivered by friends and colleagues as the postal system of the time was only available to the elite.

The book of Colossians addresses the heretical, or unorthodox, teachings that were being accepted as truth there. The Judaizers were a group of traditional Jews who sought to confuse matters and cause dissent by teaching legalism. Paul addresses this situation in Galatians 2:4, "And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (KJV). Another heresy that Paul refutes in Colossians is asceticism, which is the thought that spirituality can be attained by self-denial. This doctrine leads to pride and self reliance.  Asceticism is, in effect, a denial of the gift of salvation by faith in Christ alone. In Colossians 2:20-22 Paul asks, “Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not) Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?” Yet another heresy that Paul refutes in Colossians, is that of angel worship. This practice seems humble; in that, the worshiper feels unworthy to address the Almighty God personally, and so uses an angel as an intermediary. In truth, this practice is idolatry. The open avenue to God to was bought for us at the Cross, by the Blood of Christ and He is our only intermediary. In Colossians 2:8 Paul address this issue, “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.”

The heresy of Gnosticism, or the belief that one can gain spiritual freedom by knowledge, was embraced by the Greek Gnostic school of thought. This heresy is refuted in Colossians 3:16,17, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” This heresy denies Christ's preeminence, or superiority. Colossians 1:13-18 declares Christ as the One,“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence”(KJV).

I pray that God speaks these truths to your heart as you read His Word. There are many false teachings and thoughts about Christianity in the world today, as there were in the First Century. Reading and becoming familiar with the Bible will guard your heart against believing the lies and misconceptions that abound. It is God's desire that you know Him for Who He truly is and not be in the bondage of falsehood. As was true of the Judaizers, the untruth may not be very easy to discern, as it may sound plausible. The Holy Spirit will guide you in all truth as you allow Him. I pray for your relationship with God and the freedom of your walk in Him. God bless you!

Patti

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