Colossians 2:18 says, “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.”

First, we see it is possible for a believer to lose his rewards.  He cannot lose his salvation, but he can lose any rewards he has gained (or would have gained) in his service to the Lord.  How do believers gain rewards, or crowns in the first place?  Here are just a few examples:

  • Luke 14:12-14, “Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for THOU SHALT BE RECOMPENSED at the resurrection of the just.” 
  • Luke 6:35, “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and YOUR REWARD SHALL BE GREAT, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”
  • Matthew 5:11-12, “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for GREAT IS YOUR REWARD in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

For the believer, the Lord rewards us for our faithful service, our compassion, our love to others, for faithfully enduring persecution, etc.  Basically, when we live for the Lord, obey His Word, and suffer for His name’s sake…He will reward us greatly!

In our verse, Paul is warning the Colossians (and us) to not allow false teachers to rob them of their temporal blessings or even their future heavenly rewards.  The Apostle John gave a similar warning in 2 John 8, “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.”  Here, the false teachers were trying to lure the Colossian saints into unreasonable mysticism like “false humility.”  This is actually pride disguised as humility.  A person may appear to be humble and modest, but in his heart, he is only putting on a front to mask the great pride in his heart.  The Lord knows the heart and He HATES pride!  Proverbs 16:5 tells us, “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.”

To worship an angel is also an abomination to the Lord.  The Apostle John, after having received his wonderful revelation from God, unwisely knelt to worship the angel before him.  We read in Revelation 22:8-9, “And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.”  The Lord will not give His glory to anyone.  The angels, realizing this, will refused to be worshipped even as this angel did.  These false teachers were truly speaking of things they had not seen and were proudful of their fleshly notions.

If we are led astray by false teachers, we will surrender the blessings and benefits we would have earned by walking a faithful path.  It is so important that we, as believers, take on the responsibility to learn God’s Word so that we can discern the true from the false.  And thus, we can “receive a full reward.”  (461.6)