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Read Introduction to Colossians


“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.”


“intruding into those things”

The word “intruding” means primarily to step in or on. This use of the word is the only occurrence of this word in the New Testament. Metaphorically “intrude” means to frequent, dwell in (our passage). “Intruding” could mean to invade, to enter on. Because Colossians argues against incipient Gnosticism, it probably means the entrance of the initiated into the mystery religions. The mystery religions used this word as a term for ecstasy, an extreme and pseudo subjectivism. The person stepping into this took a stand based on what he saw in the mysteries when initiated into this kind of religion. 

“which he has not seen”

The intruder invents his own religion- “which he has not seen.” He makes it up as he goes along. He has a do-it-yourself-religion.  

If you claim to be God yourself, you do not have anyone above you to whom you can look for help; you can only look down on everybody else. That is the danger and the folly of this kind of religion. A modern proverb answers it well: “There are two things one should never forget:

1. There is only one God.

2. You “ain’t” Him!”

This kind of person blames the Holy Spirit for his dreams and visions. This claim is common today. “The Lord told me this vision.” When? How? “I just had a feeling, a dream.” What is the chapter, book, and verse for this thinking? If it does not have scriptural support, we ought to check it off as so much spiritual drivel. All this is a spiritual hallucination.

Before God completed (the canon), he used visions to communicate revelation. Most visions today are spurious, counterfeit, apocryphal, and unreliable. We cannot make our decisions based on our feelings because feelings fluctuate. We feel good at one moment and bad at another time. The feelings of a Christian are no more reliable than the feelings of a non-Christian. Our fallen nature is susceptible to error, insidious and wicked as it ever was. The only reliable standard, the only credible guide, is the Word of God. “Let God be true and every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).

“vainly puffed up”

False teachers dwell on “vain” notions. The Gnostics entered into ecstatic experiences that had no basis in biblical revelation. Since the canon of Scripture (the list of books that belong in the Bible) has closed, there is no further need for more revelation from God. 

“Puffed up” means to blow up, inflate (from to blow with bellows). The New Testament uses this term metaphorically in the sense of inflated with pride (1 Cor. 4:6, 18, 19; 5:2; 8:1; 13:4; Col. 2:18). Religion can inflate us with pride. Arrogant and haughty religion is vanity (cf. 1 Co 8:1)

“by his fleshly mind

The sin capacity produces lust patterns. It is from these that sin originates.


The appearance of humility is often unadulterated pride.


Religious leaders love to advance their notions about God because it gives them an edge over everyone else. This attitude is spiritual pride, a love of advancing special notions. This belief puts them in a special place in the religious community. They love to think of themselves as wiser than other Christian leaders. Pride is at the foundation of many religious errors and biblical corruption. It is even the origin of many evil practices. Many television preachers devised peculiar doctrines not found in the Bible.