Thursday, 13 April 2017
Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. Colossians 2:4
This verse explains the reason why Paul specifically stated these words concerning Christ Jesus in the previous verse – “…in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” In Christ, and thus in the word which He has given to us, we find the true and accurate revelation of wisdom and knowledge. Whatever we need to know about Christ, the Godhead, salvation, our relationship with God, and so forth, will logically be revealed to us by Christ Jesus and not by someone claiming they have a special, insightful knowledge that only he possesses. In saying that the Bible is revealed by Christ, one understands the Bible to be that necessary revelation, given to us by the Holy Spirit, also known as the “Spirit of Christ” (Romans 8:9).
Therefore, Paul says, “Now this I say.” As an Apostle of Jesus Christ, and as the Apostle to the Gentiles, his words are guided by the Spirit and are thus authoritative. In contrast to that certainty, he continues with, “lest anyone.” Anyone means anyone. There are the true apostles, and then there are those who will come contradicting them, or claiming extra revelation beyond them. And such has been the case for 2000 years. There has been a stream of false teachers and false prophets since the beginning. This is certain, because Paul’s words are given to refute such people. This means that false prophets were there even at the beginning. And they have been steadily making up crazy things ever since.
The words “should deceive” are from a Greek word used only here and in James 1:22. They give the sense of reasoning contrary to the truth in a misleading or erroneous way. These people use words which seem plausible, but will later disappoint. There is no true substance behind them. The “persuasive words” are from a Greek word found only here in the Bible. They indicate words which beguile. People have the ability to weave words together which sound reasonable and persuasive, but they actually only lead the hearers down paths which oppose a sound walk with Christ.
A perfect modern day example would be a heretic who teaches dual-covenantalism. One of the leading proponents of this false doctrine is an excellent orator, speaking words which are powerful and full of deep emotion over the subject he speaks. And yet, his words form arguments which are often not grounded in Scripture, and are even contrary to Scripture. However, because of the powerful presentation of his words; and because of them being mixed with occasional truth from Scripture which are combined with conservative emotions of national pride, as well as pride in the people of Israel, his sermons are accepted as wholly truthful. But when analyzed apart from the eloquent oration, what he states often forms unsound non-biblical messages.
The list of people like this, especially in more modern times where their writings are available, is long, and it grows longer by the day. We must be careful never to get caught up in being deceived by persuasive words, but all things must be compared to Scripture.
Life application: Do you truly measure the words of the teachers you listen to against Scripture, or do you just take their instruction at face value because their arguments sound correct? First, never take any commentary concerning God’s word at face value, but rather check it out against His word. And secondly, how can you check out an analysis of God’s word against what His word actually says unless you know enough of it to make the check? Know your Bible!
Heavenly Father, grant us sound teachers of Your word who are willing to do the hard work, carefully studying what You have presented to us, so that we are not led astray by persuasive, but deceitful words. And Lord, grant us the common sense to pick up Your word, study it daily, and know it well enough so that we won’t get misdirected by Heretic Harold or Apostate Andy. Keep pushing us along to crave after Your precious, superior word. Amen.