Colossians 2:8 ESV
“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
This is a critical message here for our day and time, for deceivers abound in the gatherings of what is called “church” today. And they abound on social media and all over the place where people gather together. And it seems the majority of people calling themselves Christians today, at least here in America, have been taken captive by these enchanters who are manipulating naïve minds into believing their lies and into rejecting the truth.
Many people are being taken captive by empty deceit and by humanistic philosophy which are replacing the doctrines of the Scriptures in people’s hearts and minds. Some of these teachings are according to human tradition. But many of them are a direct result of liars and deceivers twisting the Scriptures by teaching them out of their context and making them to say what they don’t say. And so they are definitely not according to Christ.
I believe the most critical deception in the church today is to convince people that they can “believe” (unexplained) in Jesus, be forgiven all their sins, and that heaven is now guaranteed them when they die regardless of how they live their lives from that moment forward. The Scriptures just do not support that. For one, our faith is authored and perfected by Jesus Christ, and it is gifted to us by God, so it is going to align with God’s divine character and will for our lives (Hebrews 12:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-10).
And we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first draws us to Christ (John 6:44), i.e. unless he first persuades us as to God’s holiness and righteousness and of our sinfulness and of our need to repent of our sins and to follow Jesus Christ in obedience. And our faith is not of ourselves, of our own doing (Ephesians 2:8-10), so we can’t just make it up to be what we want it to be. It has to agree with the divine will of God.
Colossians 2:9-12 ESV
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”
If we have been born of the Spirit of God… If we are truly his children, by genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ, then we were crucified with Christ in death to sin and we were raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Our old self was crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin but to God and to his righteousness (Romans 6:1-23; Ephesians 4:17-24; Romans 8:1-14).
This is what is meant by the circumcision of Christ, and it is what our water baptism symbolizes, this dying with Christ in death to sin and this being raised with him to walk in newness of life in him, no longer according to the flesh, but now according to the Spirit in holiness and righteousness. For, this is a spiritual cutting away of our sinful flesh so that we can now live in freedom from addiction to sin and according to the word of truth.
Colossians 2:13-15 ESV
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
Now please pay close attention to the wording here. If we are true believers in Jesus Christ we WERE (past tense) dead in our trespasses and the uncircumcision of our flesh. And so this isn’t just saying that Jesus forgave our sins and so they are no longer held to our account. But it is saying that once we lived in sin, but since Jesus set us free from our slavery to sin, we no longer live in sin. Sin is no longer our practice. For if sin is still what we practice, we are still dead in our sins and we will not have eternal life.
[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
Also, since the circumcision of Christ has to do with a spiritual cutting away of our sinful flesh, with a putting away of sinful practices from our lives, this means that we are no longer walking (in conduct, in practice) in sin for Jesus delivered us from our slavery to sin. Sin should no longer have mastery over our lives. Now we should be walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. Now we should be walking in obedience to our Lord and not in obedience to sin (Romans 6:1-23; Romans 8:1-14).
So, again, this is not just about believing in Jesus so we can have our sins forgiven so we can be guaranteed heaven as our eternal destiny. The Scriptures teach that we must die with Christ to sin and live to God and to his righteousness. And they warn us that if we continue in deliberate and habitual sin against our Lord, and if obedience to our Lord is not what we practice, that we will not inherit eternal life with God (see above verses).
So, we don’t just “get saved” and then we live our lives and then one day when we die we go to heaven. Salvation is a process of sanctification in our lives which will not be complete until Jesus returns for his bride and he takes us to be with him for eternity. Also faith in Jesus is present and active, not just past. It is not a one-time experience in our lives but it is an ongoing and active walk of obedience to our Lord and a daily dying to sin and to self.
And we must continue in that faith steadfast until the very end or we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 8:31-32; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:24-25; Rom 12:1-2; 1 Co 15:2,58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; 2 Tim 2:10-13]
He Touched Me
By Milton Schafer / Ira Levin
Shackled by a heavy burden
‘Neath a load of guilt and shame
Then the hand of Jesus touched me
And now I am no longer the same
Since I’ve met this blessed Savior
Since He’s cleansed and made me whole
I will never cease to praise Him (to praise Him)
I’ll shout it while eternity rolls
He touched me, oh, He touched me
And oh, the joy that floods my soul
Something happened, and now I know
He touched me, and made me whole
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