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. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
—Colossians 2:8-10 (NKJV)
It is incredible the result tradition has on us. Tradition can give us a sense of security and keep us from having to learn something that is already known. But it can also hinder progress by making us unreceptive to new ideas. Many people do what they do just because it has always been done that way. When it comes to religion, tradition can become rote. Religion is not a relationship with God, and the tradition of what we have always done can keep us from being challenged by the truth of the Word of God. It can keep up from seeking an intimate relationship with God that Jesus gave His life for us to have.
Paul gives a warning to the Colossians not to let any man’s tradition deceive them and rob them of their understanding of who they are in Christ. He states that man’s tradition comes through philosophy and empty deceit. A man’s tradition is logical to him. What is logical to a man’s natural mind is carnal and leads to spiritual death. What is truth in God’s realm—what is logical to God— is spirit and life (Romans 8:6, John 6:63).
What is truth Pilate asked Jesus in John 18:38? In John 17:17, Jesus says that God’s Word is truth, and that God’s truth sanctifies us. In John 14:6, Jesus says that He is the truth. Jesus is the truth—the atonement—that sanctifies us and presents us without blemish to God. And John 8:32 says that you can know the truth, and it shall set you free.
But “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Essentially, philosophy is a system of thought or logic. The logic of the world—the logic of your natural reasoning mind—can deceive and cheat you of what is yours in Christ. You cannot understand the truth of God’s Word with the logic of your natural mind. You have to understand with your spiritual mind.
Three of the eight definitions of “philosophy” found in The American Heritage Dictionary (4thedition) are:
1. The love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline.
2. The investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods.
3. The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs.
Colossians 2:8 in the Phillips New Testament reads:
“Be careful that nobody spoils your faith through intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense. Such stuff is at best founded on men’s ideas of the nature of the world and disregards Christ” (Colossians 2:8, PHILLIPS).
The Phillips New Testament translates the phrase “empty deceit” found in the NKJV Colossians as “high-sounding nonsense.” The Greek words literally mean “empty delusion.” The philosophy or wisdom of the world is foolish compared to God’s wisdom. The wisdom of God seems a delusion to the natural mind.
You can never find security in the wisdom of the world. You can never find security in tradition in religion. You may enjoy tradition, but when it robs you of the spiritual wisdom that is yours in Christ, you miss the truth and life Jesus has for you.
Tradition is not the cornerstone of our faith. Jesus Christ is. Colossians 2:9-10 says that in Christ the fullness of God physically resided. It also says that you are complete in Christ. The fullness of God is in you. I John 4:17 says that the love of Christ has been perfected so we can stand with boldness in the day of judgment. As Christ is, so are we in this world.
You cannot overcome the flesh if you don’t believe the resurrection power of God is alive in you. Yet many believers don’t understand the authority they have received in Christ. They don’t believe they have the resurrection power of the living God within them. It appears illogical to their natural mind. But with the spiritual mind of Christ, God’s wisdom comes alive.
Don’t let the world or religion rob you of what you have received in Christ.
© 2023 Lynn Lacher