By Joe Slater
Now this I say, lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words (Colossians 2:4).
John described Satan as the one who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9). In the garden of Eden, the devil did this in person (Genesis 3:1-6). Most often, though, he uses people to spread his lies.
The Christians in Colosse faced an onslaught of error which Paul urged them to reject. Consisting of a mixture of Greek philosophy, Jewish speculation, and just enough Bible to make it palatable, this novel system resulted in denying the gospel and forfeiting salvation!
Why would anyone buy into it? Because it sounded good, especially when presented by a skillful speaker. For example, it taught the Colossians to worship angels (Colossians 2:18). Angels are great! What could be wrong with getting the angels on our side? Sounds good! But in fact such is idolatry which robs us of our reward! Today the same type of reasoning tells us to pray to “saints,” especially Mary. Who would have more influence with her Son than Mary? So get her on your side! Sounds good! But Biblical teaching says Jesus Himself is the one mediator (1 Timothy 2:5). We come to God through Him (John 14:6; 15:16).
Paul warned against being deceived by “persuasive words” (Colossians 2:4). Persuasive means they sound reasonable, but are, in fact, false. Such was Satan’s tactic in Eden: “Eve, you won’t die! You’ll be like God, knowing good and evil!” How reasonable and good that must have sounded; but what a disaster resulted from believing it!
Beware of those who “by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:28). Just because it sounds good doesn’t mean it is!
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com