Lesson 9: The Colossian Christians, part 1
Part one of this week’s lesson is from the key text (Colossians 2:6).
Lessons from the Key Text:
The Errors Paul Was Combating
- Paul makes several arguments in Colossians against what is commonly referred to as “The Colossian Heresy.”
- “The church at Colosse was troubled by theological strife. There were some there, whom we will call ‘spoilers’, who were of the opinion that Christ Jesus alone was not sufficient for salvation, so they questioned his divinity and his gospel. Their hotchpotch of theology included philosophy, traditions of men, and worldly thinking (2:8). They gave place to authorities other than Jesus Christ and worshipped angels (1:16; 2:15, 18). The spoilers were also insisting that Jewish ceremonial laws were necessary for salvation and sanctification (2:16). All these things were part and parcel of the Colossian heresy. Intellectual it may have been, but spiritual it was not. It is generally agreed that this was not a full-grown heresy, but the beginnings of second-century Gnosticism.”1
- 1 McNaughton, I. S. (2006). Opening up Colossians and Philemon (pp. 10–11). Leominster: Day One Publications.
- The precursors of Gnosticism:
- Claiming a “special knowledge” beyond the faith (cf. Col. 2:8).
- Claiming material existence itself to be evil (cf. Col. 2:9).
- Claimed that God, in His purity, had to be completely separate from the material (cf. Col. 2:9; 1:16; 2:18).
- Claimed that evil flesh should be completely reviled, leading to asceticism (cf. Col. 2:18, 23).
As You Received Christ
- In the face of such errors, Paul exhorted them to remember how they had received Christ.
- It was not according to the errors that were being taught by Judaizers and Pre-Gnostics!
- We receive Christ:
- As the Son of Man (Matt. 16:28; Acts 7:56).
- As the Son of God (Matt. 8:29; Luke 4:41; John 10:29f).
- As the Savior of man (Phil. 3:20; 2 Tim. 1:10; Titus 2:13).
- As Prophet, Priest, and King (Acts 3:22; Heb. 4:15; 1 Tim. 6:15).
Walk In Him
- Carefully examining the doctrine in which you walk (cf. 1 Jn. 4:1-3).
- Rejecting anything that is not from Christ (cf. 2 Jn. 9-11).
- Growing in love and appreciation for Christ and His word (cf. Col. 2:6, walk is forward movement – progress!).