Paul wants his readers to know the consequence of receiving Christ as Lord is twofold – walking and abounding.
To receive Christ as Lord is to make him the boss of your life and so clearly that means we walk in Him – walk in His ways. That walking in His ways sinks the roots of our lives in the river of God and establishes us in the faith. Which brings the second consequence – abounding in thankfulness. We are grateful people because God is about an amazing work in and through us.
Then there is warning to not get taken captive by numptiness. Here that is listed as philosophy (the Greeks of the time were huge philosophy geeks), empty deceit, human tradition. Two out of three of those things might be okay in a measure but not if they are “not according to Christ”. They are strongholds, bad thought patterns, when they oppose Jesus.
That takes Paul to a digression, that is the richest section of the reading today. Paul digresses for some Christology, som more delighting in who Jesus is.
The one who is fully God and fully man.
The reason we don’t want to get taken captive by numptiness is that we have been
- filled with Him
- “circumcised” in Him – not the physical act. Just as circumcision was the entry ritual for Jews, baptism is the entry ritual for Christians. When we were baptise we were buried with Him and then raised with Him by faith.
- once dead in sin now alive with him
- forgiven of all sin
- debt cancelled and nailed to the cross.
Therefore the numpties mustn’t judge Christians. In v16 it becomes clearer who Paul is referring too with their philosophy, empty deceit and human tradition. It’s the firstly the Judaizers – the legalists who want Gentile believers to start obeying the food laws, get circumcised and obey the Sabbath.
Secondly it’s a new issue that would soon be called Gnosticism – who at the time were either denying the body (and become ascetics) or worshipping angel. They were not holding fast to Jesus, but looking for special knowledge (gnosis in Greek).
Paul wants us to love Jesus and walk in His ways not manmade or obsolete rules.