Thanks once again for joining us in this brief study of Paul’s letter to the Christians at Colossae. It is simply amazing that the things that Paul wrote almost two thousand years ago are still the most relevant issues of our day. People remain the same and we face the same issues that those at Colossae did. As time as we know it draws ever closer to its end, the battle is intensifying, and Satan is pulling out all the stops in his attempt to ruin marriages and capture the minds of our children. Our colleges are teaching young people that God is a myth for losers and Hell is not real. It is ever the more important that born again Christians shake off the chains placed on them by the world and begin proclaiming the Truth of the Gospel. To do that with success, we must know the truths contained in God’s Word. We must know who we are and whose we are, so lets continue our study of the Book of Colossians.
Vs. 16 “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day —Vs. 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belong to Christ.”
The apostle Paul has once again explained that they have been made complete in Christ and reminds them that the Old Covenant Law that required Jewish males to be circumcised was no longer needed, and neither were the other feasts celebrated by Israel. After the crucifixion of Christ, Israel continued to observe the Feast of the Passover, refusing to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, but some born again Christians continued to do the same. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, the First Fruits, the Weeks of Pentecost, the Feast of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles were still observed as well. Additionally, there were other religious feasts like the New Moon and the Year of Jubilee, but Paul is saying to them, “Stop it!” Stop letting people judge you and tell you that you must continue to observe feasts and traditions. Paul reminds them that all of the things they once did in an effort to please God were merely types and shadows of the One who had come and completed all feasts for all time. Christ is not a shadow, He is the real deal, and He is the only deal we need.
Vs. 18 “Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, Vs. 19 and not holding fast to the head, from who the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joins and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.”
When I was a young father a carnival came to town and my children wanted so much to go. Wanting to please them but with very little money in my pockets, we went to the carnival, spending almost a third of my meager resources just getting in. Once inside a man at one of the booths hollered at me, “Hey mister, come over here where it’s easy to win prizes for your kids,” so we went over and began to play. Each time we played, it seemed that we got closer and closer to winning, but we never did. Finally, it dawned on me that half of the money I had intended to give to my children was gone. I had been duped into playing a rigged game and we still had nothing. Someone once said, “Fool me once and shame on you; fool me twice and shame on me.” That is what Paul was saying, “How long are we going to let people who live by the Law keep us from enjoying the Lord’s gift of Grace? In essence he is also saying, “Wake up, the game is rigged, and one more thing, worshiping angels and self-abasement is stupid to the thousandth degree!”
Do you know why cutting yourself with razors is popular among teens today? They are playing a rigged game that they hope will bring them what they are missing at home, love and attention. They are clueless that they are playing into the hands of demonic spirits. Unfortunately, acting in an unworthy manor is a deception that is not limited to our teens. Many adult Christians believe that professing their unworthiness is pleasing to God, refusing to be moved by what the scriptures say. Egotistical pride is easy to see, but Christians who espouse their unworthiness are as full of false pride as the egotist. It is simply pride in reverse, a verbal self-abasement that points to self. We can all agree that we were unworthy to receive salvation because we had all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But Grace (Jesus) appeared, bringing salvation to all men (Titus 2:11). That was who we were, sinners who needed to be saved, but the blood of Jesus has justified us to become children of God. “There is therefore (the Cross) now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 8:1). That is a true promise of the Word of God, so we must wake up and stop allowing the enemy to dupe us into believing that we are still condemned and unworthy. Too anyone who will listen, Satan is still calling, “Hey mister, come and play a rigged game called works and condemnation.”
Vs. 20 “If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourselves to decrees, such as, Vs. 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” Vs. 22 — in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?”
Let’s remember what we have already learned. When Paul refers to the elementary principles, he is referring to the Old Testament Laws of Moses. With that in mind, Paul asks a rhetorical question and begins it with “If you have died.” When we received Christ as our Savior three things happened simultaneously in the spirit world. First of all we were crucified (died) with Christ; (Romans 6:6) Secondly, we were baptized (citizenship) into the body of Christ; (1 Cor. 12:13) Thirdly, we became a New Creation (11 Cor. 5:17). We are not an old building with a new coat of paint, we are completely new. So let’s look at the first question again: “If you have died.” It may sound morbid, but it’s not. One of the most peaceful places we can visit is a cemetery. Those whose bodies lay at rest no longer have to deal with pain or disease and they do not care what anyone thinks or what anyone says. Why? Because they are dead! They could care less about Old Testament sacrifices, or any other commandment that never had the power to save or keep one saved. In the same way, we too should understand that relative to our salvation, these things are useless and powerless, that we overcome by the word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb. No longer do we have to participate in Old Testament Laws and rituals because the finished work of Christ is enough.
Vs. 23 “These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”
Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You invalidate the Word by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that” (Mark 7:13). That is an astounding statement when we consider that traditions of men have the ability to render God’s Word powerless. Paul is saying to those who were hanging on to Old Testament Laws and man made traditions that it may appear to be full of wisdom, but it is actually an open door for Satan to render God’s promises as null and void. The efforts of man are powerless to change our inner man, but the Holy Spirit has all power to change us into the image of Christ.
We will begin chapter 3 next Friday and see that we play a large part in making sure that God’s will for our lives is accomplished. Obedience is directly related to our happiness. If this study is blessing you, then please share it with others and encourage them to go to our website and sign in. Until next Friday, We love you — but Christ loves you more! Don & Penny