"I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments." NIV translation
Now, Paul begins to address the first challenge that faced them and even faces the church of today. The word "deceive" here actually means victimize. There are many ministers of the gospel that want to share a lot of words that seem to make since but they never get down to sharing the Word of God. They may have a college degree and all kinds of training in how to speak but they don't know much about Christ and following Him. This in turn produces Christians who don't understand the calling they have or the power that is within them.
"For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is." NIV translation
Paul commends the believers in the fact that they are not being victims of the enticing words. He uses military terms to describe their faith. The term "orderly" speaks of a line of soldiers standing shoulder to shoulder to put up a united defense. The term "firm" talks about the fact that this line of soldiers for Christ is immovable and cannot be broken. We too are called to be soldiers for Christ in this manner by working with other believers to build each other up in the faith.
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness." NIV translation
Paul urges the believers to continue to follow Christ just as they were taught. Jesus is the Living Word (see John 1:1) and he urges them to remain rooted in that Word and built up in their faith as they continue to learn more about God and His ways. The more we know of God and what He has done for us, the more thankful we will be and it will be displayed in our lives. The word "rooted" reminds us of a tree and the fact that a tree is not easily moved or blown over when its roots are dug into the ground. Being "built up" reminds us of taking that tree and using the lumber to build a house (life) that honors God.
"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." NIV translation
The Greek that is translated into "see to it" actually is closer to the word "beware" as Paul is trying to convey the danger associated with man's philosophies and traditions. This is the second challenge that faced the believers there and it seems that this is one of the biggest challenges facing the church today. When we put our traditions above the very Word of God, we are making our traditions into idols. These philosophies and traditions lead to division as it separates Christians into groups based on following or not following a system of rules. Division is of the devil and is how he attacks the body of Christ today. Instead, we need to focus on the message of Christ crucified for our sins and raised to new life so that we may share in His glory.