The Wisdom of the World (The Prize)

“Meaningless! Everything is meaningless!!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2Ecclesiastes 1:2
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

2 Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.  

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One of our most common ways to attempt to view and understand God and His ways is to compare similar instances in our own lives and world and draw parallels. This can be useful in some circumstances, but we are cautioned not to let the logical prevent us from believing our God is a God of power and deliverance Who is able to stop the sun in its course. (Joshua 10:13Joshua 10:13
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. Jasher: or, the upright?  

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Another drawback in this type of comparison is that when we compare ourselves to God, we often forget to remove our petty weaknesses and faults, by which God is not encumbered. This short-sightedness prevents our understanding of and reliance upon God’s “eternal-view” of our situation and circumstances. Also, our pride in assuming we know the full will of God can prevent us from discovering that very same direction which He has set out for us. To that end, God will correct the situation (if we allow it) – and with speed:

“...the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid.” (Isaiah 29:14Isaiah 29:14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. proceed: Heb. add  

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He says:

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” (1 Corinthians 3:191 Corinthians 3:19
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.  

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Why is God so concerned?

One reason is that He wants those who seek Him to know Him as He is, not as we think He “should be.” Only when we believe that God is (and does) Who/what He says will we at last see His power effecting a real change in our lives.

He warns us, through Paul:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Colossians 2:8Colossians 2:8
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. rudiments: or, elements  

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Let’s dive into that.

“Beware” is “blepo” (Strong’s Greek 991) and means “to see, physically, with one’s eye; to turn your attention and look upon something.”

“any man” is “tis” (SG5100) and means “a certain one,”

“spoil” is “sylagōgeō” (SG4812) and means “to carry off booty, as a captive or a slave.”

“philosophy” is “philosophia” (SG1585) and means “a love of wisdom.”

“vain” is “kenos” (SG2756) and means “empty, devoid of truth.”

“deceit” is “apatē” (SG539) and comes from the root “apataō” meaning “to cheat, beguile, deceive.”

“after” is “kata” (SG2596) and means “according to; denoting direction from the higher to the lower.”

“tradition” is “paradosis” (SG3862) and means “giving up or over, as in the surrender of cities.”

“men” is “anthrōpos” (SG444) and means “human being, generically, to include all human individuals.”

“rudiments” is “stoicheion” (SG4747) and means “any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal.”

“the world” is “kosmos” (SG2889) and means “an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government.”

“not” is “ou” (SG3756) and means “no, not; in direct questions expecting an affirmative answer.”

“Christ” is “Christos” (SG5547) and means, specifically, Christ.

 

So, to rephrase Colossians 2:8Colossians 2:8
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. rudiments: or, elements  

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, we might say:

Turn your attention so that a certain one does not enslave you through a love of wisdom and empty beguilement, leading down from the surrender of men to the basic elements of worldly order, directly opposing Christ.”

 

The apostle also warns us not to “perform” to please men:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]” (Colossians 2:16Colossians 2:16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: in meat...: or, for eating and drinking respect: or, part  

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Why not? Something we all know firsthand from our own experience:

Which things 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.” (Colossians 2:23Colossians 2:23
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

23 Which things 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. neglecting: or, punishing, or, not sparing  

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Observing those regulations for others’ benefit have no effect in restraining the desires of the flesh. They *seem* smart, but the reality of the worship has been met already:

Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.” (v24)

So!  Remember that *Christ* is your full observance of the Law and your inheritance into the Kingdom!

Let no man beguile you of your reward!!” (Colossians 2:18Colossians 2:18
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

18 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, beguile...: or, judge against you in a...: Gr. being a voluntary in humility  

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