Year 3 Day 88
Read - Colossians 2
Message - Scott Woodburn
Christ is not an optional extra nor is He second-rate substitute. The one who is in Christ lacks nothing. Paul may have been far away in Rome but he still loved the Colossians and the church in Laodicea (v1). Therefore he wanted them to know that in Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (v3). There may be those who attempt to delude us with plausible arguments, but if we are in Christ then we are to stand firm in the truth. Jesus is supreme over all - He is not one possible solution, He is the solution. May our hearts be encouraged and find joyous assurance and understanding in Christ (v2).
We are to walk in Jesus or in other words, we do not start with Christ and then run on ahead. Jesus is the founder and perfecter of our faith, we are to keep Him in sight so that we may be built up and established in the faith (v6-7). This remains of vital importance. There are those in the world who would seek to take us captive with philosophy, lies, human tradition and the elemental spirits of the world (v8).
It is clear from Paul's words that there were those in Colossae seeking to lead the church away from Jesus. Their wisdom was based on lies and was according to the traditions of humanity. More than that, they also focused on the elemental spirits of the world. What does this phrase mean? The false teaching in Colossae pointed to the stars, the sun, the moon and the earth. Many have sought answers in these elemental things seeking creation rather than the creator. Even today there are those who think the position of the stars in the sky can impact their lives. Others think that the earth radiates mystical energy that you imbibe by visiting certain special locations.
The Christian doesn't need any of this superstition. Christ is true God, true man, without sin (v9) and through faith in Christ we have received every spiritual blessing imaginable (v10). In Christ we have been transformed. Paul uses the imagery of circumcision to make his point. Christ has cut us off from the old flesh (v11) with a circumcision not made with hands. In other words we have been made clean by the circumcision of Christ, we have been buried with Jesus in baptism and raised with Him by the work of God (v12). The old has gone and the new has come!
We were once dead in our sins but God has forgiven us in Christ (v13). A great debt was owed by every single Christian and yet the Lord took that debt and nailed it to the cross (v14). The false teachers may have pointed to the elements for guidance and they may have taught that we should seek hidden wisdom from other spirits, but the reality is that Christ triumphed over the unseen forces of evil (v15). He has disarmed Satan and his legions and put them to open shame at Calvary.
In light of this Paul urged the Colossians to reject those who passed judgement on them over elementary things. Then, as now, there are those who judge you because of what you eat and drink (v16) and they judge you because you don't hold to their observance of certain days or festivals. Others will seek to disqualify you completely calling into question your salvation. Why? Because you don't live a severe life like them. You don't live in a barn in a field on an island eating only bread and water. You refuse to worship the angels and you pay no regard to empty vain visions (v17).
Paul is clear - we are to realise the substance of every good thing is found in Christ (v17). We are to hold fast to Him for He is the head of the church and it is only in Christ that the church can grow (v19). The Christian faith is not “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (v21). It is not a self-made religion that demands you beat your body into submission. The rules and regulations of the false teachers may have had an appearance of wisdom but ultimately they could nothing to stop the indulgence of the flesh (v23).
Instead Christ takes weak, sinful, fallen people and He brings real transformation to them. He is our Saviour. He is our circumcision. He is our baptism. He is our freedom and in Christ, we are free indeed.
Q84 What doth every sin deserve? Every sin deserveth God’s wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.