Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him. – Colossians 2:6-15 [ESV]
I have a “Rolex” watch. At least that’s what the faceplate says. It’s large, chunky, almost gaudy. It doesn’t run. Never has. I paid good money for it too. I bought it while in China for $5.00. Yes, $5.00. Not $50. Not $500. Certainly not $5000 which real Rolex watches sell for … and more!
When I was haggling with the street vender for it, our Chinese guide took Diane aside and said, “That’s not a real Rolex!” We knew that. I bought it because I knew it was a fake. I bought it to use as a sermon illustration (which I finally did just a few weeks ago – although I bought it in 2004). It still looks good on the outside. Impressive even. But it’s worth only the novelty value.
There are many cheap imitations in the world today. From fake Louis Vuitton purses to knock off tools, machines, and jewelry. For some that’s good enough. They just want to look the part. They only want to dazzle for the moment. Doesn’t have to be the real thing. And if all you want to do is impress someone, I guess that’s well and good.
But when it comes to life and death, salvation and damnation, even the best imitation will not do. Paul is making that point here with the people of Colossae. Human philosophies, empty deceit, human traditions, and the elemental spirits of the world had captured the fancy of some of the people there. None of these will satisfy, redeem, deliver, or stand the scrutiny of real life and death, heaven and hell.
Against those empty and false fakeries, Paul holds up Jesus. He is the One who is the head of all rule and authority. He is the one who circumcised their hearts in baptism, who was raised from the dead, and died on the cross to cancel their debts. God disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Christ.
God did this also for you and me. We have been buried with him in baptism. We have been forgiven by his sacrificial death. We have had our debt cancelled; the debt we could never pay. In him we have been made alive. He is Lord. When we walk with him, we need never swagger in borrowed braggadocio. We need not impress anyone. We need not be anyone other than who we are. Or act anyway that is not an expression of faith authentic to us.
He is no knockoff. Nor should our walk of faith be. For that I am very thankful. I hope you are too, dear reader. I hope you are thankful too.