"Colossians 2:6. As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him" Colossians 2:6.
We are not going to get very far from the focus to Christ in any of Paul's' teachings... specially in his work with the Colossians. At that time, they were being told that, "this faith in Jesus is great stuff... but you must still do this... and remember that... and add some of this"... It's the "Jesus, plus" men-tality that's still going on today. When I came to the Lord... I had been convinced that the reason my life was so messed up, was because I had been the one making all the decisions. Even when I set out to do right, it was based on what I thought or what it seemed most others thought was right. But when I received The Holy Spirit, I suddenly realized that it had to be 'totally Him' and 'no more me'. That is what the bible says, what Gods' Spirit had confirmed in me, and what a handful of Christians were telling me. I believed it then and it's still true today.
Paul is urging us to stay to that original root, (Jesus) stay planted in Him. In fact the theme of the whole book of Colossians is that every believer is complete in Christ, that all the resources that we need to grow in grace are found in Him. And the process of deepening in the Christian life is not starting with Christ and moving on to something else, but it is starting on Christ and remaining in dependence upon Him every step of the way as we are conformed to His image, who is the very image of the invisible God. But many well wishing Christians starting telling me what I should do... things to stop doing, and things that Christians should do. This was putting me back to work on myself again, instead of waiting on and listening for the leading of Christ - Himself (through The Holy Spirit).
8. "See to it that no one carries you off as spoil or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit (idle fancies and plain nonsense), following human tradition (men's ideas of the material rather than the spiritual world), just crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings of the universe and disregarding [the teachings of] Christ (the Messiah)."
Paul was talking to me, here... this was what I was actually experiencing. These "crude notions following the rudimentary and elemental teachings" may sound good, depending upon one's inclination, but they endanger church members. The apostle writes that unless we are rooted deeply in Christ, we could be "spoiled", which does not mean being "corrupted," but rather of being "plundered," hence the NKJV's use of "cheated." This empty philosophy would rob or cheat them of their faith, their hope, their understanding of God, their relationship with God, their vision, and the purpose that God is working out. Once introduced, it would begin to steal away all of their true, spiritual riches.
The Holy Spirit had already said that I was a child of God, and that He would not forsake me... that my salvation was set, and that He would not loose me, nor blot out my name, and that I could trust His Word, and that His Word does not contradict itself... foundational truths I had received at the onset of my conversion. And so here they came... warning me about things. One constant issue was that I could loose the salvation that I hadn't even earned in the first place. Usually it's based on their belief that I wasn't paying attention to things I still did wrong. I knew myself that God was busy within me in the other areas that He thought were more important. But while He was working out my sin issues... I knew Christ was covering me from Gods' view, and Jesus was wonderful and faithful, each time, to take me to the scriptures they used to threaten me with and show me through context, cross references, original use of words, etc... that His Word was not mysterious, illusive, nor contradicting.
Paul provides two possible sources of this unsteady philosophy: "the traditions of men" and the "rudiments of the world." Examining the "rudiments of the world" first will help to explain the traditions of men. Other translations call them the "elements of the world," the "basic principles of the world," or "the powers of the world." In using this term, Paul is referring to the demonic powers that make this world, this cosmos, what it is. The source of this philosophy of salvation through special knowledge or of works is Satan and the demons. This explains why, when we read the histories of various religions and their branches, the same patterns arise time and again. Man does not have it within himself to pass along accurately and dependably ideas that go back to the very beginning. With an incessant drumming, the powers of the world keep prompting men and women in the same vain deceits that directly contradict the truth about God and His purpose for mankind.
9. "For in Him the whole fullness of Deity (the Godhead) continues to dwell in bodily form [giving complete expression of the divine nature]."
There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men's fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. We have in and through Christ the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God.
10. "And you are in Him, made full and having come to fullness of life [in Christ you too are filled with the Godhead--Father, Son and Holy Spirit--and reach full spiritual stature]. And He is the Head of all rule and authority [of every angelic principality and power]."
To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word complete, is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. In him, not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him.
We'll pick up with verse 11 next time.
I love you.