December 31 in Christmas

(If this day occurs on the first Sunday after Christmas,

please refer to that devotion instead.)

Colossians 2:4-15

Hold Fast to the Gospel of Jesus Christ

Having explained who Christ is in his person as both fully divine and human, having shown how being who he is as the very Word of God allows him to reveal the Father to us, and ultimately how he rescues us from darkness and transfers us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, Paul now turns his attention to the problems in the Church at Colossae.  Apparently there were those who were trying to “take [the Colossians] captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world.”  Later on Paul mentions some details of this false teaching, specifically, asceticism, worship of angels, and the necessity of vivid dreams and visions.

And here is a temptation which has frequented the Church in all ages: the desire for something more than what the faith gives.  What do I mean by this?  Well, Paul is content with Christ himself.  And why shouldn’t he be?  After all, in Christ “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”  In him, believers have been circumcised, not with hands, but by the putting off of the sinful nature.  Christians have been buried with Christ through baptism, drowning their sins, and dying to sin, self, the world, and the devil.  Moreover, they have been raised to new life in Christ whose resurrection is their own, both now as born again believers and later at the resurrection of their bodies at the end of time.  So Paul tells them that through the crucifixion of Christ, such things as human traditions and “sacred” works whereby we seek to earn something from God or make ourselves more holy by torturing ourselves or worshiping angels, is exactly what Christ disarmed, for behind these schemes is not the true God but Satan and his demonic host seeking to do one thing: to take our minds off of Christ and on to something else, to distract us from the real to the artificial.

It’s a sorry commentary that for many Christians, Christ is not enough; they want something more.  They want to be the super-Christian who can deny himself every bodily comfort and thereby make God his debtor, or the mystic-Christian who sees things in eternity the rest of us can’t see, or the ecstatic-Christian who has “out-of-body” experiences the rest of us just don’t understand.  Paul wants none of this: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2).  There is more in Christ Jesus upon which to ponder, more in the fundamental truths of the Christian faith upon which to meditate and live, than in all the religious trinkets of the world.  Hold fast to Christ.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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