Scripture: Read Colossians 2:16-23 slowly.
Paul’s use of “therefore” says, This is the conclusion, the point. Because you have been joined to Christ, you are no longer under the law. The problem wasn’t with the law; the problem was and is with our sin nature. The law identifies sin, but our flesh (sin nature) can only respond in one of two ways: (1) by my own effort I try to earn my own righteousness, or (2) I rebel against these limits on my behavior.
The problem isn’t just a Jewish issue. We were born with a mixture of these two responses. Sometimes we obey “the rules” (in our culture) in order to please people, and sometimes we disobey “the rules” because we want life our way.
Every society has rules. God’s commandments (the law) are unique in that His law is perfect. “The Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good” (Rom. 7:12). Paul then states the problem, “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin” (Rom. 7:14).
Jesus obeyed the Law the right way: by faith dependence upon His Father. He alone is our righteousness. Today, we obey His commandments because (1) we love Him, and (2) these describe the way to freedom. His grace.
So Paul’s statement, “let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food, drink, festival or Sabbath” is a warning for us to not revert to the Jewish way of trying to earn our own righteousness. There would have been some Jewish Christians who kept the old ways but not to earn righteousness; and they would have lived in the freedom of the Spirit because they understood.
1. How well do you think you understand this issue in your own life? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
2. Does your natural tendency lean more toward trying to measure up by your performance (legalism) or saying, “to heck with it” (license)? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
3. What helps you to personally live in the freedom that comes from trusting Christ for your own righteousness? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
4. Do you have a friend or prayer partner with whom you discuss these issues? __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
• Invite the Holy Spirit to be your Teacher on these issues. Confess Christ as your righteousness.
• If you are carrying any guilt or shame, surrender these to your Savior.
• Worship Jesus as your Lord and Shepherd.