Bristol, Virginia

Simplicity of Christ

In the second chapter of Colossians the Apostle Paul gives a firm warning to the church there.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)

Some translations use spoil instead of cheat. I think spoil is a good word for the above verse. Paul was talking about dangers of Gnosticism. We talked about Gnosticism in a previous article. Here is an excerpt from that article:

“Gnosticism borrowed ideas from various religions and cultures such as Judaism, Greek, Persian religion and so on. They also incorporated truth from Christianity such as redemption but rejected the idea of sin altogether. It is clear that those ideas were very dangerous to the early church. Part of the allure was that ideas needed to be added to the message of the gospel. The gospel was too simple for them.”

To the Gnostics the teachings of the gospel were just too simple. To them something needed to be added in order to make them complete. But Paul, after warning the Colosse church, said:

And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Colossians 2:10)

Yes, we who have given our lives to Jesus are complete in Him. There is nothing to be added. The gospel doesn’t need help or any new revelation added to it.

So, are there modern-day Gnostics in the church? Yes there are. Their ideas pull some away from the simplicity of Christ. These people are always found striving. They tend to put their trust in works and not the simple grace of God. They are always looking for some new teaching or idea. Let me tell you these people are being cheated. The good they do have are being plundered by the enemy.

The Apostle Paul talked about another group in the book of Acts. They were called the Athenians.

For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.” (Acts 17:21)

We need to be careful not to be like this in the church. Personally, I only listen to a few select voices in the body of Christ. I am very careful with whom I sit under.

The bottom line is that the gospel is simple. It is powerful. And it is complete. It is all we need. As we read we are “complete in Him.” No need to add anything. To try to add anything would be to cheapen the power of the cross.

Jesus, I thank you that I am complete in you. I thank you that I don’t need to add anything to Your wonderful gospel of grace. I reject the false philosphies and traditions of men in my day. There are many. I embrace the fullness and completeness of Your beautiful gospel. In Jesus’ wonderful name.

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