Add-ons That Don’t Add Up (Newsletter 5-3)

by Simeon Young Sr.

An Exposition of Colossians 2:8-23

Gnostics accept several unnecessary additions to the gospel. They taught that Jesus was neither sufficient nor unique-He was merely one among many manifestations of God, and thus it was necessary to serve other divine powers in addition to Jesus.

Paul identified at least five overlapping and circular add-ons to Christ that endlessly fed on each other.


“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men… ” (verse 8).

The false teachers wanted to add an elaborate system of theological and philosophical thought that only the intellectual could understand.


The “rudiments of the world” in verse 8 were the elemental spirits of the universe. According to the false teachers, humanity was under the influences of these elemental spirits, and in order to be liberated specialized knowledge was
needed. They admitted that Jesus could do a lot, but He could not alone deliver from the elements of the universe.


“Why … 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 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” (verses 20-23).

The false teachers blended Gnostic asceticism and Jewish tradition with the salvation that Jesus provided. They added the ordinance “Touch not; taste not; handle not” -an ordinance that was “after the commandments and doctrines of men,” and it had a “show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body.” “Will worship” expressed itself in the abuse of the body-a religious piety rooted in false humility.

Angel Worship

”A voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind” (verse 18).

The Gnostics said that Jesus was merely one of many mediators between God and man. Their idea was to worship Jesus, but one must also worship the angels.


“Ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God. . .. And you, being dead in your sins and the un circumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (verses 11-15).

Faith in the operation of God in baptism in Jesus’ name was not enough-the Judaisers insisted that physical circumcision should be added to water baptism in Jesus’ name to complete the salvation experience.

Paul’s Response

Paul declared that philosophy is “not after [not according to 1 Christ” because it is handed-down tradition. He declared that Christ overcomes every power in the universe: “For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power” (verses 9-10). He said water baptism in Jesus’ name is a spiritual operation, and that for water baptism to be effective one must have faith in this spiritual operation: “Ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God” (verse 12). When we are baptized in Jesus’ name, we are forgiven all our trespasses and the handwriting (“charge-list”-a note signed by a debtor) of ordinances that was against us is blotted out (erased, wiped out as if it never existed) and nailed to the cross of Christ.

I asked a resident of Sedona, Arizona, about the harmonic convergence associated with Sedona. She said many people cannot feel the spiritual energy because they allow traditional religious hang-ups to block the flow of the energy that
bathes the area. She explained that the only way to experience the spiritual benefits of Sedona is to be open. She capped it all off by declaring, “One does not have to give up anything to experience this. One can simply add this to what they already have.”

We “are complete in him.”

Complete without harmonic convergence. Complete without cosmic energy fields. Complete without spiritual vortexes. III