Col 2:8 “Be careful~~ not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
ew transformed life also requires a new set of beliefs about life and reality and a new set of values. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12:2); we must learn to think biblically.
We should “beware of the false prophets, who come . . . in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves” (Matt 7:15). False teachers can convince believers of wrong values, priorities, and errors: “You therefore, beloved . . . , be on your guard lest, being carried away by the error of unprincipled men, you fall from your own steadfastness” (2 Pet 3:17).
God’s warning is “not to allow anyone to captivate you.” Due to ignorance of God’s word, we can be unaware of our susceptibility to the attractions of false teachings. This deceit and its captivation come through “empty, deceitful philosophy” (used only here in the New Testament): speculations, miraculous arguments, or deductive logic to formulate theories to unanswerable questions not found in the word of God.
The two sources of these philosophies are “human traditions and elemental spirits of the world.” The first source is man’s additions of traditions to Scripture that become sacred. Jesus was asked, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders?” (Mark 7:5). False Christianity likewise trusts in teachings contrary to the Bible because they are traditions.
The second source, the “elemental spirits of the world,” or “basic parts,” refers to simplistic, childish thoughts. Galatians 4:3 refers to the unsaved as being “held in bondage under the elemental things of the world,” or the simplistic notion that a person must be or can be good enough for salvation. Every false religion teaches this.
These foolish ideas are “not according to Christ,” who “has forgiven us all our trespasses by canceling the record of debt that stood against us . . . This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:13–-14ESV).
Access to forgiveness is only by faith in Christ alone. False teachers focus on new revelations or traditions that distract from God’s word. Develop a plan to study and know His word to recognize error. Trust the Scriptures alone.
“Heavenly Father, help me only to be captivated by Your love and truth rather than allowing my thinking to be clouded by the deceitful ways of this world.”