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Bible Study

Colossians



Section IID

Danger 3 – Legalism
Answer: Christ the reality

Col.2:16-17

Danger 3 and Answer Overview

Study D1. Danger 3 and Answer Overview

Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday (=a feast)or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days (=weeks)which are a shadow of things to come but the body is of Christ.
Col.2:16-17

D1.1 Danger

The third danger that Paul highlights is that of legalism. The early church had big problems with this as is seen from Acts 15, and the epistle to the Galatians. What is meant by the term is trying to live the Christian life by rules and regulations. In other words by works of the flesh.

Many groups who call themselves Christian, no doubt are honest in their intention, very often try to be Christian and live the Christian life by rules and regulations. People imposing them on themselves is bad enough, but then to do so on others is a dreadful interference on a person’s personal walk with the Lord.
Paul denounced the Galatians for trying to be made perfect in the flesh despite having begun in the Spirit. Gal 3:1-5

In some groups some men try to regulate the lives of their followers thinking they are doing God’s service. In reality they are enslaving people into cult like behaviour. In fact all religious groups, that reject the true Gospel  have this underlying strand: in order to be true disciples one has to do this or that, to follow certain rules and regulations.

In some extreme groups that may mean just following one man’s ideas unquestioningly.

In fact if one sits back and think it through then such legalism is the only course of action for those rejecting the Gospel. For to reject God’s way of faith, and resting on the completeness of Christ’s redeeming work is to leave the way open to live by rules and regulations.

There is simply no alternative. We either accept the Gospel in its simplicity by faith alone, or end up in some sort of works of the flesh.

D1.2 Answer

Paul gives the answer that Christ is the fulfillment of all these shadows, as he calls them. The OT Law and its ceremonies were just shadows of the true. Christ is the reality of those things. Why then go after them?

As God’s people we are not to let any one judge us in these matters for we are all responsible to Christ, our head individually and directly.

.Paul says therefore let no man judge you, because we have the completeness of salvation in Christ that we saw in the previous section. The Christian life is by faith;  by faith we are justified, by faith we live and by faith we  walk.

No one has the authority to take the place of Jesus in our lives. We are directly connected to our head, let us therefore allow no one  to have lordship over our lives except the one Lord – Jesus Christ.