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What Luther Says

Remember Him 'Where The Battle Rages'

In Colossians, the apostle Paul warns against greedy, unscrupulous false teachers who would steal the congregation away from their Lord, Jesus Christ.

To renew the congregation's faith and service, Paul repeatedly strikes upon the truths they once knew -- Jesus is Lord of creation, the fullness of God dwells in Him, and their life is hidden with Christ in God (and so they are renewed in the image of their Creator; Colossians 3:10). In other words, you could say that Colossians reminds us of the sufficiency in Christ, or that Jesus is more than enough.

In opposing the heresy at Colossae, Paul laid great stress on the correct teaching concerning the person and work of Christ.

In Colossians 2, Luther points out how Paul specifically warns the people "against the doctrines of men, which are always contrary to faith" and how "he depicts these doctrines more clearly than they are depicted anywhere else in Scripture, and criticizes them in a masterly way."

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ. Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:1-8

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition of the Word of God except precisely that one point which the world and the Devil are at that point attacking, I am not confessing Christ however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is tested. To be steady in all other battlefields is mere flight and disgrace if the soldier flinches at that one point.

[Luther, in The Bondage of the Will, Luther’s Work’s, WA, Vol. 3, p. 81f]

Dearly beloved, these are important words for us to prayerfully consider in these postmodern times.

[Colossians 2:1-5] Whatever this false teaching is that has infiltrated the Colossian Church, it is not the teaching of Jesus Christ. We, too, can be drawn away from Christ by all sorts of attractive thoughts and words. Eventually, Christless or Christ-lite teachings will separate us from God and from one another. But the treasures of His wisdom and knowledge overcome all temptation and defeat all deception. His words will always encourage us and strengthen us in faith and love. Grant, O Lord, that Your Word would be taught in its truth and purity in Christ, and protect us from those who would do otherwise. Amen.

[Lutheran Study Bible]

Still, we need to be discerning enough to avoid heresy and embrace the truth about Jesus and His saving work for us.

My Lutheran Study Bible closes with, "As you study Colossians, pray that the Lord would protect your congregation and all Christians from false teachers, for in Christ alone 'we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins' (Colossians 1:14)." Amen!

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, the threat of false teaching and self-made religion is real, but the promises of God are more powerful, especially as found in the person and work of His Son, Jesus Christ, and Holy Baptism (both of which we are reminded of extensively throughout Colossians).

Yes, stand firm "where the battle rages," but stand firm by remembering Him. Jesus is enough.

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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