“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
In spite of the resources available to the twice-born—and in spite of assurance, order, steadfastness, a good walk that is rooted and built up in Him—it is still possible for a Christian to be plundered by the world’s crafty message. We can “fall from [our] own stedfastness” (2 Peter 3:17) or even lose “those things which we have wrought” (2 John 1:8).
The one who “spoils” a believer will use philosophia, a Greek word that means “fond of wisdom.” It is used only one other time, in Acts 17:18 of the philosophers on Mars Hill. Interestingly, the biblical word for “wisdom” is most often used in a negative way when referring to man’s wisdom. “Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (1 Corinthians 1:20). Believers can be robbed of their steadfastness in Christ if they become fond of the wisdom of the world.
The spoiler also uses “vain deceit” and the “traditions of men” to plunder the believer. Jesus castigated the Pharisees because they had “made the commandment of God of none effect by [their] tradition. . . . teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:6, 9). Paul warned Timothy that he must avoid “profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: which some professing have erred concerning the faith” (1 Timothy 6:20-21).
The robber will even use “the rudiments of the world.” The term “rudiment” means “to belong to a series, to be in rank” or “to come to an agreement.” Essentially, this technique is using logic to “prove” a point, securing a change of mind. We are told the world’s rudiments will “spoil” us when the logic is “not after Christ.” HMM III
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