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Tuesday, January 23rd, 2024

Scripture: Col. 2:18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,

Teaching: What Paul is describing overall in Colossians 2:18 is what some have called “self-appointed umpires” disqualifying believers arbitrarily. These false teachers asserted their own qualification as the judge and standard of righteousness, and in doing so, imposed arbitrary legalism and improper worship on the Colossians. The third thing Paul condemns them for is “taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.” The verb for “takes his stand” is embateuo has a few translations but generally means to “go into great detail on” or “investigate or scrutinize.” The end result of dwelling on one’s own visions, as Paul says, is that they are “inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.” This fleshly mind is referring to Paul’s common motif of spirit versus flesh, with flesh being a synonym for sinful.

What Paul is communicating is that there were those among the Colossians who would get caught up in religious experiences and feelings of worship, perhaps seeing (or pretending to see) dreams and visions, and take those experiences and feelings as the truth. In this case, Paul is saying that the pseudo-religious experiences, dreams, and visions that incite their sinful desires for power or influence, are not of God, but instead, are only serving to inflate egos and embolden sinful thinking, ultimately lead believers astray of sound knowledge of and faith in Christ. These self-appointed umpires of the faith were using their own perceived experienced to lead believers to themselves, rather than Christ, and to disqualify those who had not experienced the same.  

Takeaway: When one man’s visions dominate a church’s theology, Scriptural truth is the casualty. For followers of Jesus, the truth is not what we experience nor feel, for truth is not of the heart or mind. The heart is deceitful above all things and the mind can easily be entangled in fleshly desires. The truth is what is written in God’s Word. We test all things by the truth of Scripture, because that is what God has given for us to know Him. Following those who stand on their own visions, intuitions, or feelings rather than the full counsel of God leaves room for all kinds of falsehoods and leads to sinful and destructive ends. Do not follow those who dazzle and inspire with grand visions and rhetoric; instead, follow Christ and those who point to Him by His Word.

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