Summary: Part of my series in Colossians. Continues the "Jesus is enough" theme started in the previous passage by targetting the specific heresies in Colossae and responding to them with Christ’s complete suffiency.
What’s really important…
By James Galbraith
First Baptist Church, Port Alberni
October 21, 2007
Col 2:16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19 He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
Col 2:20 Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
Paul has been trying to teach the Colossians that Jesus, and Jesus alone, is all they need for a life changing faith
not Jesus + wealth,
or Jesus + tradition,
or Jesus + good deeds
He is doing this because there were a few people in their group that taught the opposite.
They were trying to take all the extra activities,
the religious habits and regulations that they followed before they gave their lives to Jesus, and make new believers do them too!
It’s bad enough that they were stuck in their old ways themselves, but they were also trying to get the new Christians to follow their example.
In this passage,
the Apostle Paul lists what exactly the others were teaching,
and then points the people back to Jesus as the Saviour of their souls.
1. Here’s a list of the different things that people were tacking onto the gospel, based on what we see in this paragraph:
vs. 16- food and drink regulations (probably from Jewish tradition)
- observation of certain religious festivals, including:
- New Moon celebrations, Sabbath Day
vs. 18 – false humility
- worship of angels
vs. 21 – rules regarding contact with physical objects
vs. 23 – regulations which led to harsh treatment of body
Now some of these things were just plain wrong,
such as worshiping angels or mistreating one’s one body.
Worshipping angels takes what is created and make it something to be worshipped, and mistreating one’s own body simply shows disrespect for what God has made!
Other things in this list were things that are good on their own, but they can become bad when we give them more of a place than they deserve.
Observing a Sabbath day is a good, healthy thing, as is participating in different festivals, or holidays that find their roots in our faith.
Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving are all examples of modern-day “religious festivals”, and they can be a time of great blessing,
but when the festivals becomes more important than the reason for it,
or the Sabbath day becomes so bound in regulations that it becomes more work to try an enforce a day of rest,
we’ve gone astray and made the practice more important than the Saviour it’s meant to honour.
Christianity is not about Christmas or Sabbaths or Easter or anything else but Jesus – all of our celebrations and observances and everything else that is rooted in our faith, must take it’s place behind Jesus.
So not that he has listed what “extra’s” this group were struggling with,
2. Here is what Paul has to say about all this “extra”,
and the people who promote it in all it’s various forms,
Do not let anyone judge you by your compliance to them
Our allegiance is with Jesus, not a pile of rules and regulations that others may have plastered around him.
He is our judge, and not a self appointed crew of regulation writers.
- the regulations are a shadow of “things to come” – ie. Jesus
The best any of these practices can be is merely a shadow,
a faint, colourless outline, of the real thing.
So don’t keep your eyes on the shadows – keep it on the saviour!
People who focus on these things, rather than Jesus himself, have
“unspiritual minds puffed up with idle notions”
Those who are experts in the extra’s are really perfecters of platitudes,
they are self deceived individuals ,