Verses 13-15: When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
3. Co-quickened making you alive: Regeneration: God has given us a brand new quality of life.
And what is the outcome of this:
· (1) Wiping out our guilt: so we are no longer condemned and no longer guilty.
· (2) Out of the way by paying our debt: so unable to pay our debt Jesus paid the debt and canceled what was written against us nailing it in himself on the cross.
· (3) Putting off or over them by exposing our enemy’s inadequacies. So Christ disarmed the intrigues of demonic authorities against us and triumphed over them
3. WE MUST NOT IMPOSE RELIGIOUS RESTRICTIONS ON OUR BODIES 2:16-23
Verses 16-17: Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day, things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
· So false teachers were encouraging the Colossians to place their Christian freedom under their control. They wanted to limit it by prohibiting certain perfectly legitimate activities.
So no one is to act as your judge in regards to:
(1) Food or drink.
(2) Festival or new moon.
(3) A Sabbath Day.
· So these rituals are shadows casting an image, which represents the form.
· So once one finds Christ there is no longer a need for the shadow. Apparently some saw spiritual value in rituals.
IMPLICATION: In the apostle’s idea of the church, Christ is the only head, the Bible is the authority, and each believer is indwelt by the HS to discern the meaning of that authority. The model of leadership Christ gave the church was not of power and authority but of washing one another’s feet. Servants have responsibility to one another but not authority over each other.
Verses 18-19: Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.
So no one is to defraud you in regards to:
(1) Delighting in false humility. The evidence of man-made religion is the appearance of humility. Appearing humble may work with people but it will not work with God.
(2) Delighting in the worship of angels. There has been a fascination with angels. The Bible is clear that angels are not be to worshipped (Rev 22:8-9).
(3) Entering into visions. Here are claims to spiritual superiority validated by claims of higher religious experience through mysticism.
(4) Inflated Pride. Here he says ‘inflated without cause’. Whatever is going on here it is against God just as pride is a very anti-god state of mind.
So ST is constantly under attack with alternatives, suggestions, deviations, all pointing away from Christ. This is the basis of world religions.
IMPLICATION: So to sum up, the false teachers are attempting to pull the believers away from God by placing value in appearances, mixing Christianity with pagan cultural practices, validating their faith through
mystical experiences and seeing value in themselves apart from God.
· So these fanciful notions of legal mystics have actually lost connection with the head who alone causes the growth of spiritual transformation.
· So spiritual transformation does not come by compliance with fanciful ritualistic notions of human origin which are only a shadow but by connection with the life.
Verses 20-22: If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with use)-in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?
· So since believers died with Christ these basic principles of this world are neither necessary nor beneficial nor to be obeyed for ones spiritual transformation.
· So these laws are inadequate for three reasons. The things prohibited perish through normal usage, the laws are of human origin, and they do not solve the real problem, namely, the desires of the flesh.
· So man made system of rule keeping is ineffective for spiritual transformation. Rule keeping is only necessary when one is in chaos needing control. Controlling will never produce maturity.
Like the Pharisees what is wrong with using fleshly restrictions to encourage ST:
(1) They are intentionally external traditions so anyone could keep them no matter what the condition of their heart. It was a religion of the masses, which only required diligent compliance.
(2) It was concerned with keeping rules, not dealing with sin.
(3) It was concerned about appearing righteous before people not being righteous before God.
(4) It focused on the tradition of the elders, not on the Word of God.
Verse 23: These are matters, which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.
· So these regulations have a certain appearance of validity for spiritual transformation, which make them attractive.
· So the reality or truth is that these regulations have no value at all in restraining the fleshly desires to indulge thus no advantage for spiritual transformation.
IMPLICATION: So to sum up, the goal of those who have died with Christ is to combat the desires of the flesh. Focusing on appearances, engaging in religious practices, interpreting experiences, pride, and obeying rules will do nothing to assist in fighting fleshly indulgence. We have died with Christ for sure but we must still put on Christ experientially. This indicates the nature of spiritual transformation is a battle between the flesh and the spirit—that battle is not won by imposing religious restrictions to control the flesh. The bottom line is the need for full resolve to become ST the subject of chapter three. It will not happen all on its own.