No Value

Scott Hoezee

Read: Colossians 2:20-23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion. (v. 23) Paul continued to hammer away at the idea that these external rules and rituals, which some in Colossae were promoting as the ticket to being a superior Christian, had absolutely no value. “You can’t do that! You may not eat that! You should not touch that! Real Christians follow our rules!” Of course, if you know Paul, then you recognize that Paul by no …

Puffed Up

Scott Hoezee

Read: Colossians 2:16-19 Therefore let no one pass judgment on you. (v. 16) A few days ago we noted that the most dangerous false messages are the ones that sound “plausible” or the most reasonable. We are unlikely to get knocked off our spiritual stride by quirky or bizarre teachings that come from way outside our life as believers. It’s the subtle stuff, the new spin put on a familiar idea, that might trip us up. In today’s reading, Paul …

Disarmed!

Scott Hoezee

Read: Colossians 2:13-15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. (v. 15) By now it has become clear that dealing with spiritual powers was high on Paul’s agenda in writing this letter. Colossae looks to have been a hot bed of pagan spirituality and a dabbling in spirits and authorities and powers. So Paul did not miss any opportunity to present Jesus as superior to all such powers. In …

Buried in Baptism

Scott Hoezee

Read: Colossians 2:11-12 . . . having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised. (v. 12) As part of his efforts to assure the Colossians of the certainty of their faith in the face of those pedaling opposing messages, Paul next shifted to the core of Christian identity: baptism. For Christian traditions that baptize infants, this verse confirms that baptism for Christians is what circumcision was for the Israelites. Circumcision marked a person as set …

All Authority

Scott Hoezee

Read: Colossians 2:8-10 You have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. (v. 10) In yesterday’s reading, Paul warned about slick-talking philosophers who try to argue us out of our faith. He then goes on in verse 8 to connect that to what he called “the elemental spirits of the world.” In other words, sometimes behind the arguments of those who want to debunk the gospel are truly existing spiritual powers. The gospel is …

Empty Deceit

Scott Hoezee

Read: Colossians 2:6-8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit. (v. 8) The philosophers I know don’t like Colossians 2:8. It seems to give their entire field a bad name. Like preachers, teachers, and lawyers, philosophers use words as their greatest tool. And they are good at it! They can box the average person into a corner so swiftly, you know neither how you got cornered nor how in the world you could …