Thursday, October 11, 2018

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.  For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.  In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:8-12 NKJV

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.  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.  In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” Colossians 2:8-12 NIV

There is confusion over the subject of baptism.  In 1974 a preacher informed me that his church did not require baptism for any purpose.  Most churches believe it is not essential to salvation, but necessary to obedience to Jesus and to join their fellowship or church.  Although baptism is required for church membership, advocates do not believe membership in their church is essential to their salvation.  They understand the believer is saved prior to seeking membership.  Yet, some of those churches believe immersion is required to obey Jesus by following his example.  However, being saved and obeying Jesus are not synonymous.  If one refuses to obey Jesus, it is an indication that his faith wasn’t the “saving kind.”  If his faith is “the saving kind,” he will be immersed to obey Jesus.  There are those that believe immersion is tied in with salvation because one must obey Jesus’ commands.  Obey = right faith.  Refuse = dead faith.  To recite it in a different way: Obey = necessary.  Refuse = not the saving kind of faith.

There are passages where faith and saved stand together without the expression baptism.  Some understand this as God’s example of showing that baptism is not essential to salvation, only necessary for obedience.  The conclusion understood is that if baptism was essential, God would have included it in all passages with the subject of salvation.  This understanding is not applied when the words “repent” and “confession” are missingfrom those faith + saved passages.  Some who believe immersion is essential to salvation also believe one’s obedience is a part of their payment in removing those sins.  For them, works of righteousness, required by God, are their part in that purchase plan.  Others believe that immersion is their faith in action.  Faith + action = a saving faith.  Faith without action = no obedience.

At the beginning of this article are two quotes taken from the same passage, but from different translations.  The first is the New King James Version and the second from the New International Version.  Both are different in some expressions than those found in the 1611 King James Version.

  1. There is a warning to not be deceived by man’s philosophies and traditions. Why?
  2. Because IN Christ God dwells and IN him we are “complete” or “given fullness.” Conclusion: Why settle for man’s offerings?
  3. IN him we received circumcision, which biblically is a sign of a covenant with God.
  • Israel submitted to a fleshly kind. Our circumcision is different.
  • Israel lost their foreskin. We put off or lose the body of flesh or fleshly nature (flesh = old man of sin, Romans 6:2, 6-10; 8:2; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9).
  1. That circumcision is appropriated when we are “buried with him in baptism and raised with him through faith.

Faith motivates the individual to be circumcised by being buried with Jesus and raised with him, so the sinful nature may be removed.

 What if a person has that one, two, three, four sequences switched?  Would that switch put the new sequence into Paul’s warning found in Number one?  In the Garden, Satan pulled a switch with Eve by inserting the one word “NOT” (Genesis 3:4)!

Just a thought.