By Brooke Holt
“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” Colossians 2:16-23
Jesus triumphed over sin, Satan, and death and has made the way for his people to live in that victory. Yet, some prefer the safety of rules and regulations over freedom in Christ. Many Jewish Christians struggled to understand Jesus fulfilled every Old Testament law and regulation for them. For centuries, the nation of Israel sought to adhere to the Ten Commandments and the 613 additional laws. Guess what—they just couldn’t do it! But Jesus could, and Jesus did obey the law of God though he did not follow every man-made regulation. Jesus was set on pleasing his Father—not man. That is why the religious leaders vehemently opposed him throughout his earthly ministry. Where laws bound the nation of Israel, love dictated the work of Jesus.
Paul wanted his readers to live like Jesus and not like the religious leaders. That meant they were free to love God and live in a relationship with him. They were free from the judgments and mandates others would place upon them. Like Jesus, they did not have to succumb to the man-made rules or even the Old Testament teachings. Jesus had done it all for them. Food would not defile them, just as regulations could not make them holy. The blood of Jesus made them right before God, and there was nothing in this world that could undermine that redemptive work.
The Christian life was and is simple. Paul said to keep it that way. Keep it simple by keeping it about Jesus. When there is a question, ask what Jesus would do. Where others love to impose laws, insist upon crazy visions, or seek angels, Paul would call God’s beloved children back to Jesus. Everything else is rubbish besides Jesus and his salvific work on the cross.
What does Christ’s victory mean for you? Absolute freedom—you are forgiven, loved, and wanted! Victory is already yours in Christ. You won’t get advancement by eating a restricted diet, and God doesn’t love you more if you see visions or angels. There is one way to live, and that is in Christ.
Have you considered what Christ’s victory means for you? Do you receive the fullness he offers you, knowing there is nothing you can do to earn or add to your freedom? Jesus made the way for you to live victorious over laws, rules, expectations, and judgments. When you stand before the one true judge, he will see Jesus in you. His opinion is the only one that truly matters. We would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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