So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
In the first fifteen verses of this chapter, we discover that Christ is the answer to philosophy. One of the dangers facing American Christianity today is a blurring of the lines between biblical truth and humanistic philosophy. Once biblical truths are rejected then anything goes. In his commentary on the book of Colossians, J.V. McGee writes, “There were five errors that endangered the Colossian church which Paul will deal with in this chapter. They were:
- Enticing words – verses 4-7
- Philosophy – verses 8-13
- Legality – verses 14-17
- Mysticism – verses 18-19
- Asceticism – verses 20-23
These are still dangers today.”
Paul begins verse six by encouraging his readers to “continue to live in Him (Jesus).” Those who have “received” Christ through faith are instructed to remain meaningfully connected to the Vine, Christ. If we are not to be influenced by the prevailing philosophy of the day, we must stay deeply rooted in and connected to Christ. Intimacy with Christ is the result of a deep commitment to prayer and God’s Word.
Then in verse eight, Paul warns his readers, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy…” This is a strong warning to watch out, so believers are not taken captive to false doctrines or philosophies. Then Paul restates an earlier truth: “For in Christ all the fullness of Deity lives in bodily form.” Once again Paul is emphasizing the supremacy of Christ over every other false teaching and philosophy. He then reminds his readers that “you have been filled by Him.” The same Jesus that was with God in the beginning, who was the active agent in creation, who holds everything together, and who came into this world to reconcile mankind to God, lives inside of every believer through the Spirit of God. Paul is instructing the believers in Colossae to stand their ground and not be intimidated by these false teachers and philosophers.
The truth is that we are inundated by false teachings and deceptive philosophies all the time. If we do not stay rooted in Christ and deeply connected to God’s Word, we will be taken captive by these heretical ideologies. The key is to remain in the Vine and always remember who it is that has taken up residence in your life. Jesus not only saves us, but He promises to sustain us on this spiritual journey we are on. If we remain in Christ, He empowers us and gives us the courage to speak the truth in love, even when it is not popular.
Questions to Ponder
What does it mean to “remain in the Vine?” What are you talking to God about? How are you living out God’s Word? How can you be “salt and light” in a culture that rejects absolute truth?
- Praise Abba for being the Gardener and Jesus for being the true Vine.
- Invite Holy Spirit to search your heart and reveal ways that you are not abiding in Him (neglecting His Word or prayer, not obeying Him, avoiding Bible study with others, staying in habitual sin with no desire to change, etc.). Confess, receive His love and forgiveness, and walk in the light abiding in Him. Ask for His help—it’s not about works—pray, asking for His help.
- Ask the LORD to lift up your heart and head toward Him and things above. Pray for all of us to allow Jesus to reign at the center of our hearts.
- Pray we all daily abide in Him and praise Him through dark days. Pray we will let Him sustain and strengthen us through any suffering, sorrow, tears, confusion, and hardship knowing He is faithful and will help us as we lean into Him through prayer, His Word, and each other. Pray He is glorified when He gives and takes away. Pray He draws many to Himself during this time in our lives and in history. We are blessed for His 100% commitment to us and faithful companionship and friendship.
Sustainer, Healer, Comforter, Indwelling Spirit, the hope of glory, Christ within me, who is the Anchor of my soul, I rejoice in Your eternal encouragement, Your established love and affection for me. You, oh great High Priest, King Jesus, understand and know exactly what each one of us are going through, as well as what is going on in and through the world. Thank You for taking on the sins of the world. Thank You that You are seated at the right hand of our Father and that You make intercession even now. Thank You, Spirit of Truth, You too intercede with groans within me when I don’t even know how to pray. Oh, what love and depth of the riches of Your love. I ask, Abba, that You would incline our hearts and ears today to hear the song You are singing over each one of us. Let us hear the song of deliverance. Deliver us from pride, selfishness, greed, laziness, slander, disunity, sexual immorality, drunkenness, compromise, critical spirit, deceitfulness, discouragement, idols, judging, and a religious spirit.
I ask that we, Your body, Your church, would choose the ancient path, the way of the LORD. Seeking first You and Your kingdom. Loving You with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Loving our neighbor as ourselves. I ask that we continue to pray as Epaphras prayed, that we all will stand firm in all of the will of God, mature and fully assured. I ask for mutual encouragement, eternal encouragement, strength in our inner being, and unity in love that is overflowing with thanksgiving. Cause those around us to know that we are Yours by our love and unity. In the name of Jesus Christ, I ask all of this. Amen.