“Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words.”
“Now this I say”
“This” harks back to “full knowledge” of verse three. Paul presented the sufficiency of Christ in the previous verse. Full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ protects the believer from deception. Mature believers protect themselves from crafty deceit from others by the full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“lest anyone should deceive you”
Paul now briefs them on why the Colossians could not discern truth from error. The word “lest” introduces a purpose clause. God does not want us to repeat doctrinal mistakes of the past. We learn from our mistakes. We can probably learn more from our failures than from our successes.
Satan convinces people by beguiling or seducing 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 adequately know the Word of God.
The word “deceive” means to reason aside. The idea is to “lead astray” or “delude.” The idea is 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 distort the pure Word of God.
In the Greek Old Testament, Jacob used “deceive” 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”
In the first century, a lawyer used “persuasive words” to argue that his guilty client was not culpable. It is the appearance of logic. It carries the idea of our idiom: “To talk someone into something.” This persuasiveness is a person who has the power to influence an audience toward an unjust verdict. Recent legal cases in North America demonstrate how lawyers can talk a jury off from just punishment.
We must not surrender to glib and sometimes convincing arguments of false teachers. The ignorant, unaware, and unwary in our day still fall to specious arguments because they are ignorant of God’s Word.
Persuasion and truth are not necessarily the same thing. False arguments that sound plausible can deceive. False teachers can be very persuasive (Rom. 16:18). They need to cheat to lead others astray. It would be impossible for them to deceive and cheat if it were not for ignorance of the truth.
The faithful Christian should have such a grip on truth that he will not listen to specious and seductive arguments.
There are many religious tricksters on the loose. Glib talkers can rattle off philosophical sophistry. They will try to “con” Christians by enticing words. They throw kisses at the Lord Jesus Christ and say nice things about him. That gives them apparent 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.
Satan attacks the person who has a vacuum of truth in his soul (Eph. 4:17). If believers fortify themselves behind the defense perimeter of verse two, they will be able to withstand those who attempt to dissuade them from the truth. If they have an edification construct in their soul from the Word of God, they will have stability of soul.
People with little truth open themselves up to view the unadulterated truth of the Bible negatively. They are susceptible to a “fifth column” to come in and undermine the Word of God. Are you vulnerable to being talked into false doctrine?