So far in this perusal of the Letter to the Colossians, Lamb’s Harbinger has taken a look at Chapter 1 through Chapter 2, verse 15. This part 5 will continue with the next paragraphs.
Chapter 2, verse 15 of the Letter to the Colossians ended the Apostle Paul’s proclamation of the absolute triumph and the supremacy of Jesus Christ over all sins, all humans and all spiritual beings. It stands to reason that Paul will now give the Colossian believers another charge to keep:
Since Jesus Christ is supremely triumphant over all sin and humanity and all spiritual beings, then the Law of Moses (Old Covenant) which gives sin its power to condemn (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:56) has also been fulfilled in Christ.
FOR THIS REASON, no believer in Jesus Christ should allow Judaizers to pass judgement on him or her, regarding Old Covenant religious dietary restrictions, or with regard to observing Old Covenant religious festivals or calendar events… OR celebrating worship on a Saturday (Shabbat) vs. a Sunday.
All of the Old Covenant (Testament) observances and rituals and calendar days were (prophetic) shadows of things to come. BUT the real substance of their prophetic importance belongs to CHRIST.
So, Paul further urges the Colossian believers [and us] who are being tempted to go back into Jewish ritualism. The challenge is to “let no one label you as “disqualified,” as the result of their insisting on:
- Asceticism: severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons
- Worship of Angels
- Going on in detail about visions (modern example: Mormons & Joseph Smith)
- Being puffed up beyond sound reason by his sensuous mind (a.k.a. one’s emotions, feelings, sensory perceptions; ex. “burning in the bosom”)
- NOT holding fast to the Head — Jesus Christ
- from Whom the whole body… grows with a growth that is from God…
- as a result of being nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments
Then, haling back to verse 8 of Chapter 2, Paul continues by challenging those who are being drawn back into Greco pagan thought (Gnosticism):
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world (referring to pagan thought of the worlds order; Gnosticism), WHY—as if you were still alive to the world—do you submit to regulations that are according to man-made teachings,
- Do not handle (certain material objects), Do not taste (certain foods), Do not touch (as in good marital, sexual relationship)
- referring to things that are all temporal (as apposed to eternal).
Then, Paul levels a death blow to legalism and gnosticism.
These [man-made regulations] indeed have an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism, BUT they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. (Colossians 2:23)
Simply put: even though man-made religious rules seem pious and wise, THEY DON’T DO ANYTHING TO CURE YOUR SINFUL IMPULSES. Asceticism and Special Knowledge cannot stop you from giving in to the flesh.
The implication is better than one could imagine. Jesus is better than special knowledge and asceticism. Unlike gnosticism and legalism,
THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST CAN CURE YOUR SINFUL DESIRES