"Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,"
Paul warned the Colossian church not to allow false teachers to beguile (trick) them out of their reward(s) in heaven because these false teachers were agents of Satan sent to sabbatoge the members' spiritual growth because theymade a firm committment to Christ and submitted to God the Father through Jesus and true worship of their own "free" will. In order to receive the “prize” of the mark of the “high” calling that is of God, the member(s) of the church first had to forget "those things" which were now behind them and "reach forward" toward those things God had before them. They had to commit to press toward the "mark" (goal) for the prize of the "high calling" of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13-14). They had to commit to laying aside every weight and the sin that so easily beset them, running their Christian race to the end, regardless of the many obstacles they might face along the way. (Hebrews 12:1-2) They had to commit to look to Jesus for guidance and assurance because He is the "Author and Finisher of our faith."
It is only in a life centered in Jesus Christ and not in “law” keeping that paved the way of reconciliation to God and the assurance of salvation. From this basic premise, it would have been “fool-hearty” of the church to abandon the freedom they now had in Christ only to return to “rudiments” based on the misinterpretation of God’s word and man made philosophies. The only way to secure the prize was to hold on in the race which they then were running; but if they yielded to the philosophy of the Greeks, and the teachings of the Jews, they would be defrauded of this reward as certainly as a racer at the games would if the crown of victory should be unjustly awarded to another. In this case, too, a real injustice would be done. Here it would be bycunning craftiness. by deception and ; in the case of the racer it would be by a wrong decision-but in either case the crown was lost.
Paul here wanted them to know no one could act as “an umpire” declaring you unworthy, unless you worshipped God their way. (Amplified translation) Second, that no man could hold them hostage to any rituals and regulations that ultimately drew men away from God and the proper worship of him by promoting “self” worship and a “salvation by works” philosophy. Paul said don’t let them rob you of your reward because the members of the Colossian church:
I. Were approached by false teachers who came in an “appearance” of voluntary humility. They had appeared to them as having a “form” of godliness in their character and conduct, but were in reality “wolves” in sheep’s clothing. Sometimes, the false teachers would use “subtle’ approaches and gradually dissuade the church members to renounce Jesus and follow their example of pseudo-spiritual piety. Many times, these false teachers would not argue their opinions in a vehement manner, rather, they would engage in what appeared to be “constructive’ dialog in their attempt to plant “seeds” of doubt in the minds of the believers. Paul said don’t let their outward appearance fool you. He reminded them that whatever “issues were in the minds and hearts of these false teachers, they eventually revealed their true intentions.
II. Counseled to practice the “worshipping” of angels. This wasn’t an attempt on the part of the false teachers to persuade the Colossian church to practice “angel” worship as such, rather, it was an attempt to persuade them to act in “ultra” piety way ( as “super-saints”, touted as already living perfected lives without having any flaws), in an humble submission as if they were worshipping angelic beings rather than God who created all angelic beings. According to Barnes” Notes on the Book of Colossians, the false teachers would come to a member of the Colossian church professing a profound regard for the great mysteries of religion and the incomprehensible perfections of divinity, in an attempt to approach this subject matter in the same way the angels who once sought to find out the ins and outs of the mysteries of “heavenly” matters did in 1 Peter 1:12. The danger here lies in the fact that many of the people were being influenced and swayed by the outward appearance of piety in these false teachers, appearing to walk in holiness, as if they were angels themselves. Paul wanted them to know that God deals with the inward parts of your heart and is not persuaded by how you may look or appear to act on the outside. On the outside and in the manner that many of these false teachers publicly spoke, you would swear that they were “religiously” sound. James comes along in James 1:26 and 27 and declares if a man doesn’t keep his tongue in check or “bridles” it, his religion is steeped in vanity and is vexation of the Holy Spirit.
III. All of these false teachers claimed to have had “special” revelations from God. They claimed God spoke to them exclusively and did not speak to or through Paul nor any other of the Apostles. They professed to had investigated and looked into “those things” that can’t be seen in the Spirit World with the naked eye, those “abstruse” questions like those about divine subsistence, the rank and file of divine order, the employment of angelic beings and the obscure plans pertaining to divine government and plans. These kinds of things and philosophies made up most of Eastern, Greek and Oriental philosophies and religious practices. These are the kind of things that would cause people to spend more time thinking “higher’ thoughts and pondering things that would hinder or replace the “simplicity” that was found in Jesus Christ. Paul said in all of their attempts to appear to have the “right” knowledge, they were in reality deceiving themselves. They were “puffed up” and steep in pride, having minds that were full of vain deceit. Paul said they were full of themselves full of carnal wisdom and not wisdom that can only come from above.