Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Don't be cheated

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he presents a strong case for avoiding the trap of worldly religion and spirituality. He tells us in chapter 2 verse 8 he warns us to “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” In verse 16 he tells us not to let anyone judge us and in verse 18 not to let anyone cheat us. This cheating takes place when we buy into the world’s concept of religion and spirituality. This false view usually involves one or a combination of three ideas: legalism, asceticism and new age spirituality.
The legalism that Paul was confronting was primarily the legalism that the Jews had settled into. Legalism is the idea that we can earn merit with God by keeping a set of rules and regulations. Sometimes Christians, who believe that a person is saved by faith and not by legal works, take on legalism as a means of spiritual maintenance or growth. Paul refutes this notion here in Colossians as well as in Galatians and Romans.
Asceticism is the idea that by depriving our body and living an austere life we can somehow improve our spiritual condition and gain favor with God.
New age mysticism involves recognizing the god in ourselves. It focuses on spiritual beings such as angels and depends heavily on inner knowledge, visions or mystic experiences to make spiritual gains.
Paul refutes all of this in Colossians 2. His point is that we need to be rooted and grounded in Christ. In Him we have everything needed for a life that pleases God and that is growing and producing the results God desires. These truths will be the focus of the next several posts here on this blog. Stay tuned.

No comments: