Don’t be Fooled

Col. 2:18-19.

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.

Here’s another warning to be wise and discerning, knowing the scriptures, that we not be enchanted, fooled, cajoled, persuaded against the truth. The warning, a solemn one in Paul’s day, is just as valid today. In our information-glutted world, there is no end of fiction passing itself off as truth.

We are to be aware of false humility. I’m thinking of a popular televangelist who put on a humble front, but was happy to accept all financial gifts toward his ministry. He was corrupt, and landed in prison before it was all over. And he’s just one example of false humility.

This false humility is coupled with the worship of angels, which we are warned we must not do. The word angel is often translated as messenger, as well as the created beings we connect with heavenly hosts. Taken in the sense of being a messenger, and delighting in false humility, this can be taken as a warning not to be fooled by pastors and other so-called spiritual leaders who claim great humility and love to be worshipped.

I am blessed to have a pastor who is truly humble. He has a servant’s heart. He cares for his flock selflessly. He has no apparent desire to be held up as someone to be worshipped. In fact, I believe he’d be appalled to receive such adulation. That’s the kind of pastor you want.

Such hero worship, or worship of actual angels, can deprive you of your prize or reward, which in this verse is a metaphor for salvation. If we are diverted by those who are full of false humility but who love to tell lengthy stories of their spiritual experiences or visions, we can miss the whole point of Jesus’ death and resurrection. I know someone who believes she is saved because she felt the pressure of a warm hand on her head when she was going through a very difficult labor and delivery. That was not salvation. It was her own experience with what she was convinced was an angel. It’s a nice story, but it wasn’t a salvation story.

Intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind:
This person is replacing the truth of the gospel with his own so-called heavenly experiences, bringing glory to himself as one who has been chosen to have such experiences. I am reminded of the old joke about a book called Perfection and How I Obtained It, by I.M. Humble. A total contradiction of terms.

Christ is the Head. It is He Who ministers to all the joints and sinews of the body of Christ, the church; it is He through Whom the church grows, becomes strong; it is through Him that the church increases, both in numbers and in knowledge and understanding.

In closing, I want to point out that I have pulled from several different commentators today. I have used Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, and a Bible dictionary that I trust. I’m sure there are other interpretations and possible meanings that I have overlooked. It isn’t easy to keep everything condensed into a post that people will not finish reading because it is too lengthy.

With that in mind I’m going to step to one side tomorrow to talk about the heresy that was infecting the Colossian church. Gnosticism was not just in that church, but also in Ephesus and other surrounding areas. It is still infecting churches today, under different names and disguises.

If you are a regular reader, please pray that God will take me exactly where I need to be in terms of information and resources as I prepare to talk about the Gnostic heresy.

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