Wednesday in the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time

Colossians 2:14-15

He Disarmed the Rulers

Ours is a sophisticated age; we think we know so much.  Since the “Enlightenment” of the eighteenth century, man imagines himself the measure of all things.  Through the application of his own mental powers, he can conquer the world.  He no longer needs the primitive answers of an antiquated holy book.  Through what goes by the name of “science,” man now knows that he can reason his way by observation of nature and arrive at solutions to what once seemed insolvable problems, not realizing that each solution often breeds its own set of problems.  This, of course, is due to sin which has broken both man’s mind and the world.

But where the darkness of man’s mind truly manifests its contemporary ubiquity is in the realm of what he calls, “psychology,” the science of the soul.  And having left Scripture and a Christian view of the world behind, he now seeks answers to problems which ancient people understood quite well.  Modern man is still aware that there are hostile forces “out there” but does not know what to name them.  And so he applies tags called “diagnoses” to “mental illnesses” which provide him with the illusion that he grasps the real problem—so powerful is the ability to name something.  The ancients knew this power as well, and it is seen throughout Scripture.

Scripture provides a different answer for the origin of these hostile forces in the world and man’s mind.  What modern man cannot accept is that the world is peopled (shall we say, “demoned”) with spiritual beings which Scripture denotes as “rulers” and “authorities.”  These forces seek to bind and crush man every step of his way.  And they sought to do that with Christ, nailing him to a cross.  They saw him for what he rightly was—the liberator of men from their demonic stronghold—and there could be no agreement between him and them.  The demon which possessed the man in the synagogue confessed as much when it cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth,” literally in the Greek, “What to you and to us?”  We could translate, “What is there between you and us?”  And the answer is nothing but a chasm which none can cross (Luke 16:26).  But had they known the “secret and hidden wisdom of God” whereby wretched man is liberated from their control through his death and resurrection, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:6-8).

Some of the Colossians had been misled into thinking that these “rulers and authorities” were something special when in reality they were only the same old motley crew defeated by the Lord.  Man being by nature a religious creature—created so that he might worship the true God, but sin intervening now worships the creature rather than the Creator—is easily taken by such “spiritual,” “mystical,” yet demonic, curiosities promising to take a man to a higher plain.  Man in his broken nature quite naturally collects such luminous baubles to adorn his manmade religion.  Don’t you want to know about angelic beings circling the earth and the secret passwords to get from one realm to another?  Which foods to eat and which not to eat?  Which days to observe for special rituals and the secrets that go with them?  These were the religious trinkets some false prophets had used to persuade some of the Colossians to return to the slavery of the principalities and powers and “elemental spirits of the world” (i.e., demons).  Paul’s response is, “Why?”  Why do you forsake the Liberator for the slaver?  Why do you choose the loser over the Victor?  Indeed, our Lord “disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.” 

I’m not suggesting that all of an individual’s personal problems are due to demonic influence.  But I am suggesting that contemporary psychology is awash with “answers” Scripture would never condone, and this is due to a secular worldview.  Our problems always have some spiritual root.  Answers to these problems begin with an acknowledgement of Christ as Lord and Savior.  From that position of liberty, we may begin the process of healing from any “psychological problem” from which we may struggle. 

Our Lord is the Healer and Liberator, the answer to “religion.”  Don’t settle for anything less.  (See NICNT, 110-13, for a good discussion on the principalities and powers.)

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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