Text: Colossians 2:8
2 Peter 1:5-8 what if you have virtue without faith? Can virtue save you? What if you have knowledge without faith? Can knowledge save you? Philosophy offers virtue, knowledge, temperance apart from faith. And without faith it is impossible to please God. These things will matter in the context of faith, but outside of that context they’ll be a source of self righteousness.
In Acts 17:16 the two ends of the philosophical spectrum are given – the Epicureans and the Stoics. The questions asked by these philosophies are: what makes you happy? That was the philosophical principle Epicurus canonized. Versus, what is good? That was the philosophical principle Zeno canonized in stoicism. Those two questions are answered in the Lord Jesus Christ, but in philosophy Jesus Christ is removed from the equation and those questions are set forth as guiding principles without ever coming around to Jesus Christ.
Philosophy is defined as vain deceit that men teach as traditions firmly rooted in the world. Philosophy sounds very appealing, the ideas and doctrines are good. This verse reminds me of the BEWARE OF DOG sign. Beware means there is an imminent danger. It’s not limited to intellectuals. In philosophy very reasonable tenets are set forth like discipline, work ethic, purpose, and value, BUT the most important person is missing, the Lord Jesus Christ. As Paul says at the end of verse 8 and not after Christ.
A meaningful life without Christ is an extremely dangerous delusion. This is why Paul says BEWARE. BEWARE, the dog is closer than you think.
Stoic pillar #1 – Wisdom
- This philosophy teaches practical wisdom to navigate life in a calm, composed, and rational manner… without Christ. The ability to stay reasonable and control your emotions is good. But people who know how to compose themselves to view something objectively will die in their sins apart from Christ.
- Modern stoics are conservatives like Rush Limbaugh, Ben Shapiro, several FOX News commentators, and psychologist Jordan Peterson. Being a conservative or Republican is not the same as being a Christian.
- While it’s good to be reasonable, people can be great decision makers and die in their sins and end up in Hell.
- 1 Corinthians 1:18-29
Stoic pillar #2 – Temperance
- This philosophy teaches temperance in restraining oneself in all aspects of life for a greater good… without Christ.
- Stoicism’s heroes are navy seals and military men, highly disciplined, serving honorably. Doing all things for duty and the sake of the mission.
- Richard Jaddick, surgeon in Iraq War, recipient of the Bronze Star and V for valor. Too old to be called up but not too old to volunteer. He volunteered to go to war as a doctor and was sent to Fallujah in the Gulf War. He had been a marine I believe. A sense of duty that most of us don’t have. He said, “I’m not a particularly religious person and I’m not much given to prayer or church, but I have always believed in God, and Christ, and life after death. I’m a Methodist, and typically enough I don’t believe that God is necessarily an active presence in our everyday lives, answering prayers and offering protection — there are just too many things done in this world with evil intent and without protection or punishment.” A lost man who God the Father would say at the judgment, you have your reward.
Stoic pillar #3 – Justice
- This philosophy teaches justice and treating everyone fairly and an objective approach to judgment… without Christ.
Stoic pillar #4 – Moral Courage
- This philosophy teaches moral courage to face challenges with integrity and perseverance… without Christ.
- Unbroken and the story of Louie Zamperini. “Back home, Louie pours his alcohol down the drain and discards of cigarettes and other temptations of his negative past. When he sleeps that night, he does not dream of the Bird. He never dreams of him again. The next day, he starts to read the Bible.”
2 Peter 1:5-8 what if you have virtue without faith? Can virtue save you? What if you have knowledge without faith? Can knowledge save you? No. Does that mean wisdom, temperance, justice, and moral courage are bad? No. None of those things take the place of Jesus Christ and faith. Go back to Colossians 2:9-10, look at 2:3. Jesus Christ is all in all. And there are some very tempting ideas that are good ideas, not evil sins, but they replace Jesus Christ and that is the problem in your life. You’ve replaced Jesus Christ with some decent things, but these things don’t replace the Lord Jesus Christ.