“I say this so that no-one should deceive you with persuasive speech” (Colossians 2:4).
God doesn’t persuade, He convicts; persuasive speech comes from men, not God, and leads to deception and death. For this reason, Paul prayed that the Colossians would be filled with full knowledge of God’s wish in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; such knowledge can only come from God by His Holy Spirit; yet men are forever parading their own persuasive words to convince the people that what they are saying comes from God. It doesn’t!
What was Paul’s approach?
“And coming to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with superiority of speech or of wisdom; for I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my word and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).
Modern Christianity is the fruit of persuasive words of the wisdom of men; that is why it is powerless. The modern preacher uses the skills and abilities he learned in Adam’s world, but they are of no use in the spiritual realm, except to confuse and mislead. They labour in vain who have embarked upon the pursuit of a career in “ministry”, taking the crowns of God’s people and taking upon themselves that which is properly the work and role of the Holy Spirit.
Too much is invested in pride of ministry and the self-esteem of the modern priest, but God will share His glory with no man! We have this treasure, the knowledge of God, in earthen vessels so that God may receive the glory, not men, and this earthen vessel must be broken if the light is to shine forth. The breaking of self is what is resisted most by Christians and we can find any number of verses to excuse us from the experience of being broken to self. But;
“If anyone in Christ, he is a new creation; old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
The new can only flourish where the old has been let go; for the old will always stand in the way of the new; the old Adam resists the new Adam – Christ; the old way of thinking is habitual; it cannot readily adapt to the new man within and struggles to be heard; that’s why the old man must die, for as long as he is allowed to live the new man cannot have life, which is only to be found IN Christ.
This, of course, is what we find so hard; but unless we put that old man down we cannot claim sanctification nor can we truly expect to see the Lord. Only as the old man is dead can we “fully know the grace of God in truth” (Colossians 1:6).