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Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Protect Your Identity in Christ



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.


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 logical to God—what is truth in His realm— 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 (Colossians 1:22). You can know Jesus, who is the truth, the way, and the life (John 14:6).  Knowledge of Him frees you from the empty deceit of this world and the traditions of men that rob you (John 8:32).


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” (1 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—the mind of Christ you received when you were born again (1 Corinthians 2:16).


Look at Colossians 2:8 in the NKJV.


“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.” 


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” used in the NKJV as “high-sounding nonsense.” The Greek words from which “empty deceit” is taken means “empty delusion.” The philosophy or wisdom of the world is foolishness and “high-sounding nonsense” and deceives us of our true identity in Christ. To our natural mind and reasoning, the wisdom of God appears as a delusion, when in fact it is truth and life to us. 

You can never find security in the wisdom of the world. You can never find security in tradition found in religion. You may enjoy tradition, and that is fine if it does not rob you of spiritual wisdom. 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 and His fullness is also in you. I John 4:17 says, “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.”


You cannot overcome the flesh if you don’t believe the fullness of God’s resurrection power is alive in you. Yet many believers don’t understand the spiritual 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.


Know what you have received in Christ and seek to understand with your spiritual mind the truth Jesus completes in your life. You don’t need to add anything to His truth. Don’t be deluded by the world or allow tradition to rob you of what you have received in Him. Jesus has taken your judgment. You are complete in Him.



© 2024 Lynn Lacher





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