“Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.”
“Now this I say”
“This” refers to the “full knowledge” of verse three. Paul has just presented the sufficiency of Christ. Full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ protects the believer from deception. Mature believers protect themselves from deception by their full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“lest anyone should deceive you”
Paul now briefs them on why they could not discern truth from error. We learn from our mistakes. We can probably learn more from our failures than from our successes. The word “lest” introduces a purpose clause. God does not want us to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Satan convinces people by beguiling them (2 Cor. 11:3). If we do not know the truth sufficiently, we leave ourselves open to undermining what we believe. The Colossians left themselves open to the false teachers of the Lycus Valley because they did not sufficiently know the Word of God.
The word “deceive” means to reason aside. It came to mean to “lead astray” or “delude.” It means to deceive by false reasoning, by false logic, by a system that sounds logical but is not sound reasoning. There are plenty of people out there who want to distort the pure Word of God.
In the Greek Old Testament, this word was used by Jacob when he reproached Laban for refusing to live up to his side of the bargain of giving Rachel for his wife (Gen. 29:25, LXX).
“with persuasive words”
The term “persuasive words” is used of a lawyer who argues that his guilty client is not culpable. It carries the idea of our idiom: “To talk someone into something.” It is the appearance of logic. This is a person who has the power to influence an audience toward an unjust verdict. Recent legal cases in North America patently demonstrate how lawyers can talk a jury off just punishment.
We must not surrender to glib and sometimes convincing arguments of false teachers. The ignorant and unwary in our day still fall to specious arguments because they are ignorant of God’s Word.
False arguments that sound plausible can deceive. Persuasion and truth are not necessarily the same thing. False teachers can be very persuasive (Rom. 16:18). They need to cheat in order to ruin us. It would be impossible for them to deceive and cheat if it were not for our own ignorance of truth.
The true Christian should have such a grip on truth that they will not listen to specious and seductive arguments.
Glib talkers can rattle off philosophical sophistry. There are many religious tricksters on the loose. They will try to “con” Christians by enticing words. They throw kisses at the Lord Jesus Christ. They say nice things about him. That gives them credibility. It is amazing how many Christians become sucked into aberrant religious systems because they do not know enough of the Word of God to discern the true from the false (2 Cor 11:3). The Devil will make a play for our heads.
If believers fortify themselves behind the defense perimeter of verse two, then they will be able to withstand people who dissuade them from the truth. If they have an edification construct in their soul from the Word of God, they will have a stability of soul. Satan attacks the soul who has a vacuum of truth in his soul (Eph. 4:17).
People with little truth open themselves up to view negatively the unadulterated truth of the Bible. They are susceptible to a “fifth column” to come in and undermine the truth. Are you vulnerable to being talked into false doctrine?