Traditions and Common Sense Versus the Fullness of Divinity

I think most of us have seen and probably spent time considering the following verse.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the basic principles of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

We—especially those of us who are Protestants—know to avoid the traditions of men.

(We’re aware we’re supposed to avoid them, but in practice, the vast majority of Christians, including Protestants, live almost exclusively by the traditions of men, turning a purposefully blind eye to Scripture, history, and science alike when they contradict our customs and preconceived ideas. Only culture and politics can turn us from our religious traditions.)

Well, that little aside is a bump in the road that could throw us way off my topic for today!

Well, anyway, we all know that verse tells us not to deviate from Christ because of philosophy, traditions of men, and whatever else seems like a good idea.

But why?

Why did Paul tell us not to deviate for the sake of all these relatively important things, things that most religions lean heavily upon? The "basic principles of the world" are a reference to common sense. They are the things we all know must be true. Paul’s example in this chapter is that we are certain that if we deny ourselves—if we "do not touch, do not taste, do not handle"—then of course we’re doing what God wants.

No, Paul says. Don’t turn away from Christ even for such seemingly obvious things.


Here’s the next two verses:

For in [Christ] all the fullness of divinity dwells physically, and you are complete in him.

I have no way of knowing if that’s a wow moment for you, but it sure was for me today.

Why are we avoiding the traditions of men and all those things that seem like good ideas to everyone, the "basic principles of the world"?

Because all the fullness of divinity lives in Jesus Christ physically, and because we are complete in him, it would be stupid to turn to anything else. Anything else is not only less, but immeasurably less. Divinity is infinite. The fullness of divinity is in Jesus, and we are complete in him.

Why would we not, then, live by the Spirit he has place inside of us rather than by all our other good ideas?

"As many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14).

"You search the Scriptures because you think you have life in them, but these are they which testify of me [Jesus]. Yet you refuse to come to me so that you might have life!" (John 5:39-40).

About paulfpavao

I am a church historian and pastor, but I do occasionally play APBA baseball for fun.
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1 Response to Traditions and Common Sense Versus the Fullness of Divinity

  1. Saraph says:

    This is one of the best posts I have ever read of yours and all have been good. Thanks for being the voice for what the Spirit is saying to the Church!.

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