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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Colossians: the lordship of Christ | Jesus at the centre

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.



Remember: Jesus is Lord.

That’s the key message of the book of Colossians. If you ever get lost in the book, and are not sure what exactly it is that Paul is saying, ‘Jesus is Lord’ is a good place to come back to. How is what Paul’s saying reminding us of Jesus’ lordship over every part of our lives? How does Jesus’ lordship change how we live?

Today’s passage is answering the second of those questions.

Paul is writing about ‘spiritual fullness in Christ’ and beginning to turn his attention to all the other things that were clamouring for the attention and adoration and worship of the Colossians – especially those saying that Jesus wasn’t God or suggesting that wisdom and knowledge are to be found outside of Jesus. That’s what verse 8 is about: ‘see that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces.’

Basically: if it doesn’t point you back to Jesus, if Jesus isn’t at the centre of it – bin it.

Because Jesus is Lord. He is the ultimate source of wisdom and knowledge. He is not hollow or deceptive. He is solid ground. He depends on nothing, not on human tradition or elemental spiritual forces. After all, he is the image of the invisible God.

We live in a world which offers us many suggestions of where ultimate satisfaction, wisdom, and knowledge can be found. You’ve probably seen a whole bunch of suggestions already today, especially if you’ve scrolled through your newsfeed or opened up social media. Just this morning, in fact, I was informed that both a fidget ring and a new brand of moisturiser would change my life.

Those are silly examples, let’s be honest. But scrolling through social media certainly makes me consider whether I would be happier or more satisfied if I travelled more, or had that particularly snazzy pair of trousers, or more followers who liked my posts.

That is – in Paul’s words – ‘hollow and deceptive philosophy’. But it’s a hollow and deceptive philosophy that permeates our lives and the lives of those we interact with on a daily basis. We know that – alluring as these things might be – they will not ultimately satisfy us. They will not ultimately save us.

Because Jesus is the only one who can truly do that.

Alianore Smith

Associate Speaker for LICC and Church & Theology Executive at International Justice Mission


  1. I do not disagree. However I would prefer to accept this with the nuance that Christians should not be fully ‘separated from’ or even ‘against‘ others. St.Paul managed to share his faith in the context of acknowledging the existence and validity of other Gods. This would be unthinkable today. We also learn much from Judaism which does not acknowledge Jesus as Lord. So I will not decide to ‘bin it’ in every case, but seek to see common grace in every manifestation of the light of goodness which can come only from one place.

    By Stephen Weeks  -  22 May 2023
  2. Thank you Alianore for reminding us that Jesus is the only way, has the only truth and is the only one who can “ultimately satisfy us.” God bless you in your work with International Justice Mission.

    By Rachel Williams  -  22 May 2023
  3. For the past 82 years, I am living proof that JESUS is indeed the answer for the world today ( as the song puts it.) Thank you for your words today.

    By Arthur Bates  -  22 May 2023
  4. Thank you Alianore for this article. Jesus is the only who satisfy us. I think we need to understand how valuable is Christ that He loves us no matter what.

    By Diana Cueto  -  24 May 2023

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