Standing Firm

Read: Colossians 2:4-5

I say this in order that no one may delude you. (v. 4)

The gospel was not the only game in town. That was true everywhere in the ancient world. Across Paul’s thirteen letters, we see him again and again battling with false teachers. Some false teachers followed Paul around and would sweep into town the moment Paul left, subtly twisting and perverting the gospel message he had preached.

But there were all kinds of religious ideas around. Some were ancient, others were relatively new, and most all of them were pretty good at absorbing other religious ideas (like the gospel) to manufacture a new hybrid faith. In Colossians 2:4, Paul referred to such things as “plausible arguments.” That’s a pretty positive characterization. He did not claim that competing spiritual ideas were all nutty and zany and just plain weird sounding. No, Paul admitted they were plausible, even reasonable. These ideas came from the lips of intelligent-looking folks. And that was why they were so dangerous!

It is the same today. It’s not always the outlandish messages you might get from cults that might corrupt your faith. It’s the reasonable-sounding stuff from your co-worker. It’s the subtle ways the Christian message gets tweaked when someone begins mixing in a dash of this and a pinch of that. The only defense against such plausible arguments is having a deep knowledge of the truth in the first place. That is always our first, best defense to sniff out something amiss. —Scott Hoezee

As you pray, ask the Spirit to keep the most basic truths of the faith fresh in your heart.

About the Author

Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.

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