By Graeme Tearle.
Rules and Regulations!
Do’s and Don’t’s!
Must and Must Not!
How many things do we have to keep up with in order to keep in touch with God?
In the early church at Colossae and elsewhere, a group of people, known as the ‘gnostics’, were teaching things contrary to the deity of Jesus Christ and the freedom of salvation which comes through faith in Him.
In these verses, following on from the previous section, Paul emphasizes the importance of maintaining faith in Him, and not being in bondage to the old rules and regulations.
1. Rules and Regulations.
The gnostics insisted that Jewish laws were still intrinsically valid for a relationship to God.
- Food and drink, v16, 21,
- Rituals and festivals, v16,
- These things perish and are valueless, v22; as taught by Jesus in Mark 7v14-23.
2. Visions and Perceptions.
The gnostics, as the meaning of this word implies ‘knowledge’, made claims about special visions, contact with angels, and the supposedly superior position this placed them in.
They insisted that Christians should endorse and follow these practices, which only leads to self absorption and self degradation, v18.
3. Christ the Fulfilment of God’s Plan.
So threaded through all these false assertions, Paul reminds and encourages the Christians how Jesus has fulfilled the need for these old and false teachings:
a. We have died to the elemental spirits of the universe, v20. While they had a previous purpose, they do not act as enabling complete freedom from the flesh, v23. Therefore we do not live according to the previous slavery.
b. The law pointed forward to Christ, and was only a shadow of His life; v17 points out that Christ is the substance of the law. The word Paul uses is ‘soma’, literally meaning ‘body’. He is emphasizing the point he made in v9; “For in Him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily.”
c. For true Christian living and full connection to the life of God, we are to hold fast to Christ as the Head; so the body grows and is nourished form Him, v19.
Colossians : Points to Ponder.
Hold fast to the new life which is in Christ, ignore any suggestions of rule keeping and seeking ‘special contact’ with God. In Christ we have everything!