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DEVOTIONALS ON COLOSSIANS

WALK BUT BEWARE

Colossians 2:8-10 (NKJ)

Gordon E. Johnson
Rio Grande Bible Institute

Paul has just shared his "agony" in prayer for them that they would be encouraged, knit together in love and attaining to the fullness of the riches in Christ (Col. 2:2). He repeats his admonition with the simple but profound statement: "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him" (2:6).

How had they received him initially? It was by hearing the good news of grace, the receiving by simple faith the promise of the indwelling Spirit. They had contributed nothing. Paul simply says as you received him, so keep on walking.  There is nothing more either to do or fear.

Paul's favorite description of the Christian life is a walk.  There is nothing spectacular about walking: it is a simple, continuous, relatively effortless exercise, and it moves us forward. Walking and breathing can be compared. Such is our walk with Jesus.

But walking brings dangers seen and unseen. Therefore Paul anticipates Gnosticism, that prevailing way of life that made superior, exclusive knowledge the way of salvation. Salvation was for the few, the special ones. Angels, spirits and asceticism --self denial of certain things--were the substitute for Christ.  To some the system seemed plausible and intriguing.  It was the going thing. But it was incompatible with Christ the Incomparable. Such a philosophy follows man's thinking and denies the uniqueness of Christ the savior (2:8).

"Beware lest anyone cheat you, take you captive through philosophy and empty deceit" (Col. 2:8). The picture is graphic. An army enters and by deception plunders the place and carries off the trophies as spoil.  The end result is tragedy. To heed this siren's call may appeal for the moment but the end is bitter delusion.

Today we may not face Gnosticism, but we face very alarming dangers in a culture that bombards us daily with its lack of moral values.

Materialism: only things are worth living for: money, comfort, security.

Secularism: life goes round only once, do it with "gusto," live it up.

Nihilism: life has no end, no meaning, no accountability. God is dead.

Postmodernism: there are no moral absolutes, truth is what I make it, your truth is for you, don't demand it of me. Any thing goes so long as no one is hurt.

For the believer who falls victim unconsciously to such popular ideas, the end will be deception and regret. Many a believer would deny outright the error, but silently absorbs the world's way of life. It is much nearer to us than what we are willing to admit.  Walk but Beware.

But what is Paul's answer? "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9 NASB). Paul uses the strongest word, only here, to stress the absolute deity of Christ.  That fullness does not reside in man's theories of life but rather is available to us immediately and directly through a simple walk of faith and obedience to Christ.

Now comes the most amazing statement for our assurance: "And you are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power" (2:10). We can lack absolutely nothing for life and victory.  We are complete in Christ. If we allow any thing other than he to take us captive, we will be defrauded. In union with him we are complete. Walk complete in him but beware.

Gordon E. Johnson,
August 20, 2005