Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world why as though living in the world are ye subject to ordinances( “ touch not, taste not, handle not; which all are to perish with the using) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship and humility And neglecting of the body. Not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
If ye then be risen with Christ seek those things which are above where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above not on things on the earth. For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life shall appear then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.
E1.1 Danger 4 Mysticism
Parts of this passage are some of the trickiest in the NT to understand.
We shall consider this danger under the heading of ‘Mysticism’. We note this danger is in two parts.
Firstly, supernatural encounters. Whilst not denying that many true men of God have such encounters we must also concede that there are many encounters that are false. Some are made up or some outright demonic.
In the Colossian section here we see Paul alludes to worshipping of angels and intruding into things which he has not seen. Whatever Paul may have meant by this we conclude that it is some sort of supernatural encounter and trying to reach ‘the other side’. There may be various motives for this, but it is a deception and not God’s way at all.
We note that in scripture where men and women of God have true encounters of visions etc. those things came to them, the men and women did not go seeking for them!
Secondly, what we now call asceticism. That is denying and punishing the physical body in order to gain favour with God. These practices then become a sign of spirituality and of trying to find favour with God. This leads to all sorts of weird and unscriptural practices, as we shall see.
E1.2 Answer: Christ our life.
Men may try and find life in supernatural encounters or in aesthetic practices. But there is no real spiritual life there. They are deceptions and lead to a very dark place. The answer is that Christ is our life. Not only has God justified us but He has given us new life, That life is the very life of Christ Himself.
So instead of seeking supernatural encounters in order to gain life, instead of punishing oneself with aesthetic practices, we need to seek Christ and accept that He has been punished for us and that He has given us His life.