3/10/15 Christian Liberty

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Col. 2:16-17

Morning Meditation CHRISTIAN LIBERTY 3/10/15

Verses 16-17 say, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ."

We must keep in mind that Paul is writing to save the Christians in Colosse from the teachings of the Gnostics. Everything that is mentioned in this passage is aimed to save their Christian liberty from the bondage of Mosaic rules. The law had its place and was important as a Schoolmaster to lead them to Christ (Gal. 3:24). But once they had come to Christ the purpose of these things ended. The Gnostics believed in a ridged asceticism and used the law as an authority to impose this teaching on their followers. There are two important points in these two verses that I want us to consider. First . . .


Paul says, "Let no man therefore judge you . . ." The words "Let, judge" translate one word, "krino," and mean, "to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose, decree." It is a present active imperative verb. The false teachers were making a difference in a believer who followed their teaching that is described in these verses and those who did not. What difference were they making? They were "separating" those who did not obey their teaching from those who did. They were putting down (to put asunder) those who did not conform to their teaching. They were picking out, selecting and decreeing that those who did not adhere to their ridged asceticism were not GOOD CHRISTIANS if they refused their teaching. All the statements I am giving you here are according to the definition of the word, "krino". It is a present tense verb which means that Paul is not warning them against a possible future confrontation with this false teaching, but something that was going on at the present time. Paul is not shadowboxing. He is aiming at a real target.

This verb is also in the imperative mood. There are three things about the imperative mood. First, it is a command. Second, it expresses urgency. Third, it is the mood of volition, i.e., one must make a choice to obey the command or to ignore it. His apostolic office and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit are the authority behind this command. The urgency is that if they do not act immediately, the leaven of false doctrine may do them in before they really know what has happened. I have seen people who followed false teaching so far that it was not likely that they would ever be free from the error or its effects. Nothing is impossible. Grace can save a person whether saved or unsaved from the error of false teaching. But it does not happen often. Paul saw how urgent it was for them to break away immediately. This imperative mood is also one of volition. Paul did not impose his views upon those to whom he ministered. He taught with authority and with the Holy Spirit to empower. But in the final analysis people have to take the truth given to them and make a decision. The Christian life is a life of choices. We need to ask ourselves, are we making the right choices?

The words "Let no man" mean that if it is your brother or sister or mother or father or someone you consider God called but has become poisoned with false teaching, you are not to yield to their teaching. Paul is saying, "let no man," whoever he might be. The word "therefore" brings up as ground for his argument what Paul has said in verse 14 about Christ nailing the "handwriting of ordinances" to the cross. They are no longer valid for Christian holiness. Holiness of life comes through the Lordship of Christ ruling from within through the Person of the Holy Spirit, not written rules. Some people cannot see the difference. I'm sorry if you can't see it but there is a difference.

Paul says, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days." These are all things that were practiced by the Jews in obedience to the law or the tradition of their fathers. Paul says that they are not to allow anyone to take them to task or make them feel wrong and disobedient if they do not follow such practices. They are not to allow anyone to forbid food or drink on ceremonial grounds.

The words "which are" are a present indicative verb. Even though the law was nailed to the cross, the message it gave in the things mentioned here are still valid as long as they are used properly. The words, "a shadow of things to come," translate a present active participle from the word "mello" meaning, "to intend, have in mind." These things have something in mind. The word "shadow" describes what happens when an object blocks the light. The shadow is a dim outline of the object. First, we saw the judgment that was to be refused, now second, we come to . . .


Paul says, "but the body is of Christ." The shadow has no substance, but the Reality which cast the shadow is His, in fact Himself, in His redeeming work and glory.. The Linguistic Key says, "This would mean that the OT ritual observances were dim outlines of the NT redemptive truths." They continue to be dim outlines and Christ is the Body of which these dim outlines are about. So why occupy yourselves with the shadow when you have the Body (Christ) in view?

John Gill comments, "The body, or sum and substance of these shadows, is Christ; he gave rise unto them, he existed before them, as the body is before the shadow; not only as God, as the Son of God, but as Mediator, whom these shadows regarded as such, and as such he cast them; and he is the end of them, the fulfilling end of them; they have all their accomplishment in him: and he is the body of spiritual and heavenly things; the substantial things and doctrines of the Gospel are all of Christ, they all come by him; all the truths, blessings, and promises of grace; are from him and by him, and he himself the sum of them all" (John Gill in Online Bible).

Man is so prone to miss the message and occupy himself with the means that is used to bring that message. This principle is taught in 2 Cor. 3:6 where Paul says, "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

Our leanings toward idolatry are at the root of giving the ordinances credit for salvation, or the church the means of salvation, or Bibliolatry, i.e., the worship of the Bible instead of its Author. Jesus is the object of worship. If you have eternal life it is because of Him (1 Tim. 1:16). Do you need forgiveness of sin? Come to Him (Luke 15:18). Do you need to be cleared from guilt? Come to Him. He will be your righteousness (Phil 2:9). Are you weak? Come to Him. His grace will be sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9). Are you having a terrible time with temptation? Come to Him, and you will find a sympathizing High Priest who will be touched with the feeling of your infirmity (Heb. 4:15-16). Have you sinned? Come to Him; He is your Advocate the Father (1 John 2:1). Do you vacillate where you are, up one day and down the next? Come to Christ; He never changes (Heb. 13:8). Do you trust in Him but doubt your final destiny. Trust His promise, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." (Phil. 1:6). Jesus is the One to be Worshipped. It is to Him that all glory is to be given as Ephesians 3:21 says, "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.. Amen."

The Christian has liberty in Christ. When anyone judges us in the manner revealed in these verses, we are to reject their judgment. We should not recognize their authority because they have none. They miss the whole point and are going in the wrong direction. Let's use our liberty in Christ to glorify Him in a life of holiness where He is living out His life through us as yielded children.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ,

Bro. Earl White

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