Since God is the righteous Creator, we should look to Him to form our opinion on matters. This is true in matters of a person’s actions, decisions, beliefs, and lifestyle choices. Yet, Colossians 2:16 warns of a false method of judgment, allowing someone to use religious ceremonialism as the basis to judge the matter of one’s position in the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul has already told the Colossians not to be robbed of enjoying their eternal completeness in God the Son. By trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ, the saints at Colossae had been spiritually separated (v. 11) and spiritually identified (“baptized” v. 12) with Christ. They had been given life and all of their sins were forgiven (v. 13).
The Colossians’ position (salvation) was fully based upon the completed redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were saved by grace through faith, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Nevertheless, people would go into the churches that Paul established and try to tell people that they had to do something more to attain or maintain their salvation.
The letter to the Galatians was an entire letter dealing with the issue of legalism (a.k.a. adding personal actions to earn justification). In the Galatian epistle, Paul goes as far as to say that he wishes those who were preaching a need for the Law (“another gospel”) would be anthema [accursed] (Galatians 1:6-9). The risen Lord showed the Apostle Paul that by the cross He had fulfilled the righteousness of the Law, shedding His blood once-for-all for the remission of sins, nailing the Law to His cross (Col.2:14), thus taking it out of the way.
Verse 14 states that the “handwriting of ordinances that was against us.” How can this be? First, the Law constantly reminded them of their sinfulness (Romans 3:20). Second, the law was holy, just, and good, but the flesh is carnal (Romans 7:12-14). Third, the sacrifices under the Law could never eternally take away sin (Hebrews 10:1-4). Lastly, no one could ever be justified (made eternally righteous) by keeping the Mosaic Law (Acts 13:38-39). The Law was a temporary covenant GIVEN TO ISRAEL to keep them in a covenant relationship with God (Exodus 19:5-6; Romans 9:4). We “are not under law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14b).
What the Law could not do – make us eternally righteous – God made possible through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son. Romans 8:3 declares, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” God is now just in justifying (declaring righteous) the ungodly through the ransom paid by Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:21-26). Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the Law as a covenant was “blotted out” (“washed away, expunged, obliterated”) and has been taken away (“carried out of the midst”). Following the Law will not save you or keep you saved.
This is why Paul tells the Colossians not to let anyone judge them according to some man-made rules as it pertains to salvation. The Law was a shadow of things to come. A shadow has no substance. It stands in place of the real thing, but has no power. The Colossians (and we) now have the real thing; YOU HAVE JESUS CHRIST! So, don’t let anyone pass judgment on you for not observing their man-made religion that denies the sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Don’t be judged on what you eat or don’t eat, what you drink or don’t drink, or whether you keep holy days, religious observances and Sabbaths. This is not an all-inclusive list as we could add any man-made rule that attempts to add to the completeness that is found is Jesus Christ alone.
This does not mean that our actions, beliefs, speech, and lifestyle choices will not change when we trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. We are a new creation in Christ, so our lives should reflect the new position we have in Jesus Christ. We’ll get to that discussion more in chapter three. For now, Paul is dealing with the fact that he did not want anyone coming into Colossae and telling them that they had to tithe, be water baptized, say certain prayers, observe certain days, abstain from certain foods, take certain classes, or do a certain number of good deeds in order to be declared righteous before God. When a person makes a decision to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as his/her Savior, that person is saved and positionally identified with the perfection of Jesus Christ.
God has done so much for us. Jesus Christ has blessed us beyond measure. Do not let anyone make you doubt your position at the right-hand of the Father by pointing to their rules and regulations. Your answer is to point to Jesus Christ and express your complete faith in Him to save you. Have you trusted in Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection alone to save you?
BEREAN BIBLE INSTITUTE
P. O. Box 587
Slinger, WI 53086