What does it take to fool you? If someone tells you a ridiculous story, you are unlikely to be deceived, right? But suppose someone tells you something that sort of makes sense, or that you are inclined to believe because you don’t know any better. Isn’t it possible that you might be fooled then?
If you are like me, you probably get all kinds of emails warning about things that seem plausible. Electronic postcards from Hallmark all contain viruses. Mobile phones can cause Shell gas stations to blow up. Deadly spiders from somewhere are lurking in the restrooms of Olive Garden restaurants. Mysterious men at gas stations hand business cards out that contain skin-penetrating memory-wiping drugs. Mobile phone numbers are all going to be listed in some gigantic phone book. Bill Gates will give you some of his money if you send enough emails to your friends. The government will take all religious broadcasts off TV and/or the internet.
Oops, did I say they sounded plausible?
Well, they didn’t sound plausible to me (they have all been confirmed as hoaxes), but they did sound plausible to the people sending them to me.
There is another hoax that sounds plausible to a lot of people. It is that wisdom about spiritual things is found somewhere other than in Christ. Another version is that there is a secret to holiness that is something other than Christ. Yet another variant is that the knowledge of how to be pleasing God is found in someone or something other than Christ.
Paul, the snopes.com of his day, said (of Christ)
in (Him) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. (Colossians 2:3-4)
Back in the first century, some folks were going around making up stories that sounded as good as the cell phones making gas stations blowing up thing. They said that there were really good ways to be holy and to get on God’s good side by following rules and learning about the laws of Moses and getting circumcised and doing all sorts of things like that. And, apparently, if they threw in enough details like the names of famous people and places (Moses, Bill Gates, Olive Garden, or Jerusalem, for example) their stories made sense to a lot of people. Unfortunately, while the stories sounded plausible, they were hoaxes. Actually, another name for a “hoax” or a “plausible argument” is a “lie,” but Paul, like me, was too polite to just come right out and say that so bluntly,
But, Paul was concerned that people were being fooled (“deluded”) so he wanted to make it clear. There is no knowledge or wisdom of spiritual things apart from Christ. There is no way to holiness other than through Christ and faith in Him. There is so secret way to please God, except through knowing Christ, just like there is no way to get money by sending emails. As dramatic and appealing as the myths may be, they are just that.
So, delete the emails about the toxic spiders and the mysterious business cards. Ignore anything that anyone tells you about being holy or pleasing God if that message does not center squarely on Christ and what He has done for you and is now doing in you.