“Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.”
“and worship of angels”
“Worship” signifies religion in its external aspect, religious worship, especially the ceremonial service of religion. Acts 26:5 uses this word of the religion of the Jews.
In James 1:26, 27, the writer purposely uses this word to contrast that which is unreal and deceptive. The “pure religion” consists of visiting “the fatherless and widows in their affliction.”
Paul argues against incipient Gnosticism in this passage. Gnosticism held that there is a hierarchy of angels between all human beings. We must placate God. Knowledge, which began in virtual ignorance, increases until, at last, one entered into the fullness of understanding of the Oneness of all things.
Gnosticism of our day is the New Age Movement.
Satan deludes people by religion. The ancient heresy of Gnosticism appears widely today under the name of the New Age Movement. It seeks the Oneness of all things. They tell us that we are all part of the universe of created matter. We unite in Oneness with God.
They claim that we can escape from self and move into oneness with the universe. That is why Paul refers to it here as a “false humility.” It claims to move you beyond self. In actual practice, they focus on self. The real goal is to develop all your self powers. We call this the human potential movement. All you need is already there inside you. All you need to do is bring it out and develop your possibilities and full potential.
Shirley MacLaine’s strange spirit beings, astrology, Ouija boards, tarot cards, and assorted holy men, psychics, swamis, yogis, and gurus are present-day Gnosticism. All of these purport to offer help in increasing our understanding to fulfill the possibilities of our humanity.
The Christian who gets involved with the human potential movement is a present-day Gnostic.