Background on Colossians | Bible.org
From these facts, it seems clear that the Colossian heresy was an eclectic blend of Jewish legalism, Greek philosophic speculation, and oriental mysticism combined together with a Christian flavor or element. In other words, like many of the cults and the eclecticism of today, it wore the mask of Christianity, but it was totally false. It used Christian words and Christian phrases, but with different meanings. It claimed to have something for everybody, but in essence provided only a delusion. It was a satanic deception in the following way: “While at its heart it was a combination of Judaism and paganism, it wore the mask of Christianity. It did not deny Christ, but it did dethrone him. It gave Christ a place, but not the supreme place. This Christian facade made the Colossian error all the more dangerous.” [Curtis Vaughn, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, New Testament, Frank E. Gaebelein, gen. ed. (Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1976-1992), electronic media]. In other words, it taught that Christ was insufficient and that one must go beyond Christ into the fullness of what they had to offer. We find the same thing happening today with many of the cults that will likewise use some Christian terminology, but with completely different meanings. All the features found in this cult at Colossae would later be found in full-blown Gnosticism. So it may have been an incipient form of Gnosticism combined with elements of Judaism.
So, what are some things we can learn from this?
1. We see that false doctrine or theology is not only the product of Satan’s deceptions, but it leads one deeper and deeper into his delusions both in theology and practice.
2. There can be no neutrality toward God, the Bible, and Christ for neutrality leads to hostility.
3. There can be no morality and no genuine, lasting, and real humanism or true concern for man without sound theology. The idea that you can have morality without the absolutes of Scripture is a myth, a satanic delusion.
4. Without the absolutes of God’s Holy Word as our foundation, we end up with a world-view that will in some way distort and undermine the being and character of God and His salvation for man in Jesus Christ. The product of this is some from of idolatry, mysticism, agnosticism, pantheism, monism, atheism, or dialectical materialism. When that happens, there is no end to the moral breakdown and degeneracy in humanity for false theology leads to ungodliness.
Do we have any of this heresy today? Yes, we do; and it is just as deceptive and dangerous! When we make Jesus Christ and the Christian revelation only part of a total religious system or philosophy, we cease to give Him the preeminence. When we strive for “spiritual perfection” or “spiritual fullness” by means of formulas, disciplines, or rituals, we go backward instead of forward. Christian believers must beware of mixing their Christian faith with such alluring things as yoga, transcendental meditation, Oriental mysticism, and the like. We must also beware of “deeper life” teachers who offer a system for victory and fullness that bypasses devotion to Jesus Christ. In all things, He must have the preeminence! [Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Complete (Victor Books, Wheaton, Ill., 1981]
Pastor Timothy J. Atkins
Husband, Father, Grandfather, Pastor, Teacher, Discipler, and Follower of Jesus.