Friday, July 12, 2019

NTDS (65): Fine-Sounding Arguments

Col 2:4
 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments

There is a knock on the door. You answer it and there they are, standing at your doorstep with Bible in hand and usually some other form of literature. They begin speaking to you about God and how they have the inside track on knowledge concerning him. They seem sincere, seem to have good points and make you feel that maybe you are not “doing what it takes” to get to heaven. You become confused and think, maybe they have some knowledge or answers that you do not have.

Ever happened to you? It seems as though from the beginning of the church, there have been people who believe that they can add something to conditions for salvation that were set forth by Jesus himself (Jn 3:16). This was the main reason the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Colossae.

The believers there were being approached by two different groups, each one attempting to impose their own agenda. One group, the Judaizers were teaching that faith in Christ alone was only the first step in salvation. They required that a person follow all the laws of Moses, as well as some of the traditions that had built up over the years by rabbinical teaching. Everyone was required to keep all of the religious celebrations and Sabbath days. The dietary laws were to be strictly observed. They would even say a Gentile could not be saved without going through circumcision.

Though they may have had fine sounding arguments, Paul made clear the foolishness of such ideas. He asked this rhetorical question, “Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” (Col 2:20-21) He followed that up with this statement, “Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (Col 2:23)

The second group was the Gnostics. They claimed to have secret knowledge that was necessary for true salvation. Part of that knowledge was that Jesus Christ could not have been fully God and fully man. They believed that Deity could not share a fleshly body, so Jesus must have been an angel. They did not use biblical arguments for their belief, but instead used “hollow and deceptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (v8) Paul answered their position with this statement, Col 2:9-10 “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”

It seems as though the need to add something to the requirements for salvation and relationship with God, will always attract some people. There are also some who tend to drift toward the philosophy that even if we are saved by grace alone through faith alone, that we can only continue to be in good standing by following some rules. There are no rules you can follow that will increase your standing with God! Don’t let anyone deceive you into thinking that.

Paul says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Col 2:6-7) How did you receive Christ? By faith in Him. How will continue to live in him? By faith in Him. Does that seem like a simple idea? Yes it does! Thank God for that. The gospel is simple.

Col 2:13-15 “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took 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.”

The powers and authorities he is talking about are demonic powers, that are responsible for the idea that you can add anything to the requirements of the gospel for salvation. Though people may even be well meaning, when they present these fine-sounding arguments to you, you must realize the origin of their ideas and reject them totally and completely.

Our answer is simple. Eph 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

God bless you


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