In Col 2:8-9, Paul warned us to beware of, that is, to guard ourselves against, men who would spoil us. When men spoil you, they corrupt you. Men can spoil you through philosophy and deceit, particularly philosophy and deceit after the tradition of men or the rudiments of the world. Rudiments of the world are the basic tenets and principles of the world.
We will discuss some of these philosophies and vain deceits in this lesson. The audio recording of the lesson contains more detail than each of the brief descriptions below.
Some examples of the philosophies of the world that have spoiled Christians concern:
Creation – A philosophy of the world is that evolution and the science of natural processes explain the origin of man and the universe. God did not create the heaven and the earth and man. See Gen 1 and 2.
Bible – A philosophy of the world is that the Bible was written by men. The words of the Bible are not God’s words. They are on the order of a fairy tale. See 1 Thes 2:13.
Church – A philosophy of the world is that local churches are man-made organizations, like religions, used by people to control other people. See 1 Cor 1:2 and Rom 16:16.
Sexuality – A philosophy of the world is that homosexuality is not a choice; you were “made” that way. Your biological gender is not necessarily your true gender. See Rom 1:21-28.
Ethics – A philosophy of the world is that if it feels right, do it. If “everybody” else is doing it then it must be okay. The end justifies the means. See Prov 11:21 and 14:12.
Sin – A philosophy of the world is that the problem with people is not sin. Man can use science, education, medicine, etc to solve the problems that people face individually and globally. See Rom 5:12 and Rom 8:21-23.
Some examples of the vain deceits after the tradition of men that have spoiled Christians concern:
Manuscripts – a vain deceit after the tradition of men is that the older a manuscript is, the closer it is to the originals. Therefore, the “oldest” manuscripts are the “best.” See 2 Cor 2:17 and Matt 24:35.
Translations – a vain deceit after the tradition of men is that no single English Bible is the word of God. It couldn’t be. They are all just translations. Some are better than others. See Ps 12:6-7.
Predestination – a vain deceit after the tradition of men is that election means that God chose, from the foundation of the world, those whom he would save and those who will be damned. See 1 Tim 2:3-6 and 1 Jn 2:2 and Jn 3:16 and Eph 1:12-13 and 2 Pet 3:9.
Local Church – a vain deceit after the tradition of men is that the local church is the body of Christ. See 1 Cor 12:12-27 and Eph 1:22-23..
Tongues – a vain deceit after the tradition of men is that when a believer is baptized with the Holy Ghost, he or she will speak in tongues. Baptism “with” the Holy Ghost is, therefore, an experience subsequent to salvation. See 1 Cor 12:13 and Rom 6:3-6.
Rapture – a vain deceit after the tradition of men is that the church will not be raptured before the Tribulation. The church will go through all, or a portion, of the Tribulation. See Eph 2:6 and 2 Cor 5:8 with Rev 6:9-10.
Eternal Security – a vain deceit after the tradition of men is that a believer in Christ can lose his or her salvation. See Jn 5:24; 6:37.
Grace – a vain deceit after the tradition of men is that because Christ paid for all your sins at Calvary and you are saved by the grace of God, you do not need to confess your sins and what you do now is not sin. See Jude 4 and 1 Jn 1:8-10.
Mary – a vain deceit after the tradition of men is that Mary is co-mediator and co-redemptrix with Jesus Christ. You can pray to her and she will intercede for you. See 1 Tim 2:5 and Lk 1:46-47. See Lk 2:24 and Lev 12:8.
Sacraments – a vain deceit after the tradition of men is that you must keep the sacraments to be saved. The main ones are baptism, confirmation, communion, and last rites. Concerning baptism, see Acts 8:36-37. Concerning the Eucharist, see Jn 6:28-29, 35-36, 47-48, 63.
Conclusion: There are many other verses that we can and should use to show you why these are vain deceits and philosophies of which you should beware. However, you certainly see the point of what Paul wrote. He ended Col 2:8 with “and not after Christ.” In Christ, “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” Col 2:9. In the context, all the wisdom and understanding you need are in Christ, 1 Cor 1:30. You don’t need the rudiments of the world or the tradition of men to guide you. Instead, they will deceive you. Beware of them.