Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,Colossians 2:18(NASB)
There are many subtle ways that the enemy of our soul is able to defraud us of the heavenly prize that awaits the children of God. There are those that seek to captivate our minds through men-inspired philosophies and other empty deceptions, all of which emanate from the proud traditions of man and which are according to the elementary principles of this fallen world's system, rather than from Christ.
It is in Christ Jesus that all the fullness of Deity resides in a human body, and it is by Him that we who believe, have been made a new creation in Christ and are complete in Him. It is Christ Jesus our Lord Who is the Head over all things, and He alone has legitimate rule and authority over all that is seen and unseen, both in the spiritual and the physical realms, in both human and angelic spheres.
By faith, we have been positioned in Him, and through the sacrifice of Himself, we have been transferred from the old creation in Adam into the new creation in Christ. By association with Him, our filthy sin nature has been covered by His perfect righteousness. How foolish to allow things that are passing away to defraud us of our heavenly prize.
By being identified with Christ by faith, we are also associated with all that He accomplished through His sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection. His death became our death and His Resurrection became ours. His victory became our victory, and the eternal joy that was set before Him has also become ours.
By becoming a curse for us, identifying with our sin, and taking our transgressions with Him to the Cross, we are granted the privilege of being declared righteous by the Father and taking on His holy nature. How foolish to allow all we have in Christ to be compromised by those who "delight in ascetic practices, worship angels and heavenly beings, who claim access to certain visionary realm and inflate their ego without cause," as too often happens in Christendom today.
Our sins were nailed to the Cross when Christ hung there and took our punishment upon Himself. Through faith in His indescribable act of love, our sins are forgiven, our certificate of debt is cancelled, and He has disarmed the rulers and authorities that enslaved our soul. He has broken the suffocating power they exerted over us and by grace through faith, has equipped us with His own sufficient strength to triumph over them in this life.
He has prepared good works for us to do, and laid up rewards in heaven for His blood-bought children who carry out these good works in spirit and in truth, which is why Paul warns us so strongly: "Let no one keep on defrauding you of your prize."
The enemy of our soul may not be in a position to remove or invalidate our eternal salvation which is ours is by grace through faith in Christ, but he comes as a roaring lion to tear our testimony to shreds, and also as an angel of light peddling many deceitful tactics and subtle deceptions, to cause us to stumble and render our testimony null and void.
This can be achieved in many ways and Paul lists a number of strategies the enemy keeps on employing to try to defraud us of our heavenly prize. We are warned against false humility and paying homage to angelic beings. Indeed, there is an increasing fascination today with angels, aliens, heavenly forces, and divine messengers which can become an all-consuming obsession: "Worship God alone," we are instructed, not angels, saints, Mary, or any other created being.
These warnings are given to Christians in this Church age, and any one of them can have a devastating effect on our spiritual growth and Christian testimony. May we take heed to Paul's warning and be careful not to allow anyone "to defraud us of our prize, by acting as an umpire and declaring us unworthy, disqualifying us for the prize, insisting on their own self-abasement and the worship of angels. Be careful not to be hoodwinked by those who take a stand on claiming to have seen visions and are being vainly puffed up by their sensuous notions and inflated by their unspiritual thoughts and fleshly conceit."
May no one defraud us of our prize. May we run the race that is set before us in spirit and truth, looking to Jesus and abiding in Him, for He is our strength and our salvation.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the wise warnings of Paul to the church at Colossae. Help me to be increasingly aware of the dangers of allowing the enemy of my soul to defraud me of my heavenly rewards, by falling for foolish flattery, deceptive practices, worldly philosophies, and other empty deceptions of religious pretenders. Keep me safe from those that imagine that they have extra biblical access to the visionary sphere, or who have become overly obsessed with the angelic realm. May my life die to my own desires and live for Christ, day by day. In Jesus' name, AMEN.