the weblog of Alan Knox

The illusion of being pious…

Posted by on Jul 21, 2007 in discipleship | 4 comments

This week, my reading in The Message brought be to Colossians. I liked Chapter 2 so much that I stopped and re-read it. Then, I read it to my wife, Margaret. Then, I copied it in a reply to an email from a friend. So, I thought I would share part of it here as well:

Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.

So, then, if with Christ you’ve put all that pretentious and infantile religion behind you, why do you let yourselves be bullied by it? “Don’t touch this! Don’t taste that! Don’t go near this!” Do you think things that are here today and gone tomorrow are worth that kind of attention? Such things sound impressive if said in a deep enough voice. They even give the illusion of being pious and humble and ascetic. But they’re just another way of showing off, making yourselves look important. (Colossians 2:18-23 The Message)

The grace of God is freeing, not binding. Anyone who tries to bind us with rules and regulations is not operating under grace.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 7-21-2007


    I know this is a bit off topic, but here is my question: how do you find The Message to compare to the original Greek? I realize that it is not a direct translation, but I am curious about the meaning of the text. Do you find The Message to be a faithful representation of the original? If it is, then I may start taking a look at it.

    Thanks, Eric

  2. 7-21-2007

    I really love this section of scripture. My friend Mike and I recently shared from Colossians 2-3 for several programs on our podcast. The part you shared truly does shed light on bondage vs. freedom, and the growth that comes from true freedom in Jesus.

    Here are a couple of verses that, at least in my mind, go along with this (also from the Message).

    Acts 15:10-11 (Peter speaking):
    “So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these new believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too? Don’t we believe that we are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us just as he did those from beyond our nation? So what are we arguing about?”

    Gal 6:12-13 (Paul):
    These people who are attempting to force the ways of circumcision on you have only one motive: They want an easy way to look good before others, lacking the courage to live by a faith that shares Christ’s suffering and death. All their talk about the law is gas. They themselves don’t keep the law! And they are highly selective in the laws they do observe. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast of their success in recruiting you to their side. That is contemptible!

    Indeed, the source of Christian living isn’t found in the weights and burdens that others try to put on us, but rather through the freedom and supernatural power of grace.

  3. 7-22-2007


    The Message is not a literal, word-for-word translation. This is true of any translation, including those that are considered the “most wooden”. It is impossible to translate word-for-word from one language to another.

    While some attempt to translate as much as possible word-for-word, Peterson did not attempt this in The Message. He attempted to get across the point of a passage (usually a paragraph).

    Are there parts of The Message that I think are mis-interpreted? Yes. Are there parts of any translation that I think are mis-interpreted? Yes. All in all, I have enjoyed The Message and found it clear and consistent with the Greek text.


    Thank you for adding those two passages. Grace truly is freeing and empowering.


  4. 7-22-2007

    “Solche Sachen klingen eindrucksvoll, wenn sie in einer tiefen genug Stimme gesagt werden.”

    It sounds better if you say it in a deep German voice!