Chapter two of Colossians is about the reality of the cults and Paul gives examples. He makes it very real. Showing how they work: to introduce doubt; to change the focus to worldly things and the flesh. But first he wants the people to know who they have believed and not to endure anything else.
Col 2:1 For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face,
Col 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself,
Col 2:3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Col 2:4 I say this so that no one will deceive you with persuasive argument.
Paul’s struggle would endear him to them. He lets them know how much he cares and shares his deepest feelings for them. His great struggle they are made aware of. He cares though he has not even seen them face to face. Nor has the church in Laodicea ever seen him. Laodicea was a close neighbor whose assembly was also started by Epaphras. He knows these two young churches would be able to encourage each other to share leadership. Laodicea was the lukewarm church in the Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. They were resting in their riches and glorying in not needing anything but they weren’t doing anything for God and were a dead church but still being called by Christ’s name. It took 40 years for them to cool off and be reprimanded by Jesus.
That Paul had never seen them could be a point of contention for cult like people. They could twist his words and they would never know. They might say anything to shake the Colossian’s faith. They would even be able to impersonate him. So Paul is writing this letter to instruct them in true Christianity and to speak how they are going to be attacked before it happens. Then they would know the defense and not be in left field when it happened. Not knowing is also a threat.
The Laodiceans were also vulnerable. In their short life span they probably were led to false doctrine by someone who sounded convincing. Maybe he just said ‘Hey you guys are really blessed’, so they rested in their abundant wealth. Why else would you quit searching unless you thought you had it all. Wealth is a bad deal, the rich are insulated and the poor are chosen to be rich in faith.
Vs.2 The real wealth as mentioned here is the knowledge of GOD and His love. It is not just stuff about His love or about Him, but a knowing of whom he is and how His love is. It gets inside, the way it is worded, not for everybody to understand. It takes study and commitment and a true heart searching for the truths. Wide open to what God has to say and being in need to be completed is a winning combination. It fits right into your heart, right where you need it and fills and completes. It is God’s love for you as a separate individual and comes with awareness of a new you. It is not the same for everybody.
This knowledge is the root of our lives and it helps us and gives a big boost to get started on the path. After that, you just know and the scripture reinforces it and prayer and giving. It helps in ministry to others and in giving reassurance and encouragement. We give the Bible because it is the heaviest and talks to the soul. In relationships we have been coached to have pure ones and symbiotic. In business- honesty; and in building each other up, to succeed against the wiles of the devil- the world doesn’t think there is a devil. The devil’s attacks on our minds are real, ‘it’s a battle for the mind’ against the enemy. Maybe you have never experienced this, you probably just let the world, the flesh and the devil have their way. It’s all going one way, towards you so it feels good. But doing the right thing has eternal rewards. Fighting against a mind that likes to sin and doubt and lead astray, this is what holds us to the facts of the spiritual life. This wealth is important too, to just doing well, keeping your head above water. This is the short list of the things the knowledge of God is GOOD for. Bottom line- we have wealth by knowing Christ and understanding deeply what HE has said and done.
The cults will deny any number of things we have learned in the Bible. Men want to pervert the truth because they can’t bear it. ‘Men love darkness rather than light’. They want you to follow them and so they get the glory that Jesus and Paul have.
But Paul keeps sharing about the wonder of Jesus- the source of all wisdom and knowledge in that little Book. If you can’t see the truth there, if it is not enough for you- practice it, do what it says, open your heart and let it in. He rejoices in how well they are doing and he wants them to keep walking that way. He places his trust in them and in what Epaphras has wrought. Paul wants their protection and growth in strength. He informs the Colossians and hopes and prays. Next time we will finish this chapter and it is really quite exciting about more of Paul’s examples and where the attacks can come from. Even from seemingly calm people there can be wolves.