In Colossians 2:8 Paul warns about the dangers of the base and elementary philosophy of the world. What are those principles? He is non-specific, but the most basic philosophy of the world is this — anything must be made supreme so that God and Christ will be minimized. The base philosophy of the world it to make God inconsequential and to reject Him. Anything will be tolerated as long as God and His Word is rejected. Anything will be held up as supreme as long as God is not supreme. That is the message of the world.
And that is the philosophy that was infiltrating the Colossian church. What is the antidote to such dangerous thinking?
The simple answer given by Paul throughout the book is to embrace Christ. The antidote to the infiltrating temptations of the world was Jesus Christ and His gospel. Notice his repeated emphasis on the priority and wonder of Christ:
- Christ (and not self) rescued us from the domain of darkness (1:13)
- Christ (alone) is the image of the invisible God (1:15)
- Christ was supreme to create all things (1:16)
- Christ is before all things…He is the Head…H has first place in everything (1:17-18)
- Our message is Christ (1:28) and the purpose for all men is to be mature in Christ (1:28)
- All the treasures of wisdom are hidden in Him (2:3)
- In Christ all the fullness of deity dwells (2:9)
- Christ is the head over all rule and authority (2:10) — He is sovereign
- Christ has been raised from the dead (to never die again, 2:12)
- Only Christ canceled the debt of sin (2:14)
- Christ disarmed all the (Satanic) rulers and authorities and triumphed over them (2:15)
- Christ is the substance of life and all that is to come (2:17)
- Christ is the head of the church (2:19)
- Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (3:1)
- Our life is in Christ — He is our life and what we live for (3:3-4)
- We are conformed to Christ (3:10)
- Christ is all (3:11)
- It is Christ’s Word that is to rule us and rule in us richly (3:16)
- All we do is to be done in Christ’s name and for His glory (3:17)
- Wives submit to their husbands and children obey their parents because it pleases Christ (3:18, 20)
- Slaves serve masters and masters care for slaves, cognizant that they work for Christ (3:22ff)
- Our ministry and our lives are received as gifts from Christ (4:17)
What does the world have that compares with that list? Will we trade this Christ and this list of His benefits for the trinkets of the world? The world’s offer is a few plastic baubles in exchange for a multi-million dollar property. The philosophy of the world not only is infinitely far away from truth and benefit, but it comes with infinitely tragic consequences.
Christ is supreme. All else is nothing in comparison.
We ultimately languish in sin and do not resist the impulses and temptations of the world because God is inconsequential to us. God rests too lightly on our souls. He is made insignificant to us.
The way to fight the impulses and temptations of the world is to think clearly about what is being offered. But even more, it is to embrace the Christ who is better than it all; He is the pearl of great price and the treasure hidden in the field.
You live in the world. But you were not redeemed to have the world live in you.
Do not be deceived. All the treasures of life are in Him, not the world.
“The Crosses on Good Friday” by 50%ChanceofRain is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.