God’s Word for You
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, April 6, 2019
We have been away from Colossians for quite a while, and so we will take up the rest of Paul’s epistle on Saturdays this spring and summer.
10 and you have been given fullness in him, who is the head of every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, the removal of the sinful nature, not done by the hands of men, but in the circumcision done by Christ. 12 You were buried with him in baptism, and also raised with him through faith by the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
Remember that in verse 8, Paul warned: “Make sure that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception.” Here he continues the warning by describing various deceptive teachings.
First comes the false teaching that Christians do not have the fullness of Christ. Not so! says Paul. “You have been given fullness.” There is nothing Christ gives that we do not have in its completeness through faith in Jesus.
Next from the false teaching that Christ is not the head of all things. Not so! says Paul. Christ is “the head of all power and authority.” There was an idea that angels (sometimes called “powers” or “authorities,” Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 6:12) were the intervening agents between God and man. Modern fiction on TV loves to play with this notion. But it’s completely false. Angels are messengers who do only the will of Christ and only at his bidding (John 1:51).
Next there is the Jewish notion, which will never come to an end while the world lasts, that the covenant of Moses (circumcision) is necessary for salvation. Not so! says Paul. Circumcision is merely an outward sign that so many put their trust in, but we should rather put our trust in the blood of Christ.
Finally, there is the false teaching that baptism is nothing more than a sign. Not so! says Paul. Notice how the devil wants to flip things on their heads, making the symbol of circumcision into a means of grace and perverting the means of grace in baptism into nothing more than a symbol. Too many Christians have been caught in this web of deceit. Baptism is the grave of the Old Adam. We have faith; we have been raised from the death of unbelief into eternal life. You see, baptism is a gift, not a rule. Baptism gives, it does not require. Faith comes through baptism, just as faith comes from hearing the message (Romans 10:17). The message is present in the act of baptizing, in the words of baptism’s institution. The message creates faith and sustains it, so that we remain baptized children of God.
Pastor Timothy Smith