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Summary: UNION WITH CHRIST HAS FREED US FROM THE BONDAGE AND CONDEMNATION OF THE FALSE ISMS (WHICH CLAIM TO BE THE PATHWAY TO SPIRITUALITY)

BIG IDEA:

UNION WITH CHRIST HAS FREED US FROM THE BONDAGE AND

CONDEMNATION OF THE FALSE ISMS

(WHICH CLAIM TO BE THE PATHWAY TO SPIRITUALITY)

INTRODUCTION

Follows along with theme introduced in vs. 16 -- “See to it that no one takes you captive”

“Therefore” – points to what has been covered in the previous verses where the basis for our

freedom has been shown to be all that Christ has provided for us in His death and Resurrection:

- forgiveness of sins

- resurrection life

- victory over our enemies

Christ’s complete sufficiency; The gospel is Christ + nothing

I. (:16-17) FREEDOM FROM THE BONDAGE AND CONDEMNATION OF RITUALISM

Def. of Ritualism: adherence, insistence, dependence on the observance of prescribed religious

acts and observances

Our society is so freedom-oriented and “anything goes” that we don’t see much ritualism;

cf. the importance of the sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church

A. Bondage of Condemnation

“let no one act as your judge”

Truly it is a bondage:

- “a yoke upon the neck” – Acts 15:10

- “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” – Gal. 5:1

B. Particulars of Ritualism – most of these have an OT Jewish flavor (difficult for us to identify

with)

1. Dietary Laws – clean vs. unclean – Do’s vs Don’ts – Rules and Regulations

a. Eating

b. Drinking

(some crossover with asceticism and legalism here)

2. Religious Observances – structured around the calendar

a. Annual: festival (Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles)

b. Monthly: new moon.c. Weekly: Sabbath day

- Jewish legalism involved here – false teachers urging the believers to go back and submit themselves to the OT law in various areas; but these prohibitions go beyond the Jewish law in some regards

- external regulations vs. internal

- promote self-righteousness and pride

C. Contrast Between Shadow and Substance – between Type and Reality

1. Shadow – “things which are a mere shadow of what is to come”

Gal. 3:24-25

What were these rituals foreshadowing? How did Christ constitute the reality?

2. Substance – “but the substance is Christ”

cf. the Book of Hebrews for good commentary here

“the law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming” – Heb. 10:1

II. (:18-19) FREEDOM FROM THE BONDAGE AND CONDEMNATION OF MYSTICISM

Mysticism: “the belief that a person can have an immediate experience with the spiritual world,

completely apart from the Word of God or the Holy Spirit” – Wiersbe

A. Bondage of Condemnation

“Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize”

Athletic image – like a soccer ref giving you a red card and disqualifying you from the competition for breaking the rules of the game

2 Possibilities:

- Christian losing his reward

- false professor of Christianity being exposed for not even having saving faith and being disqualified from the prize of eternal life

Vaughan: “Let no one deny your claim to be Christians.”

B. Particulars of Mysticism

1. Physical Self-Denial -- “Delighting in self-abasement” (or false humility)

Vaughan: “the heretics probably insisted that their worship of angels rather than the supreme God was an expression of humility on their part”

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