Christ Has Set Us Free (Colossians 2)
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Colossians contains ancient insights that are eerily relevant in our culture today. Though the philosophies and cultural pressures have new names and angles, Pauls’ prescription remains the preventative cure for them as well as us.
Colossians 2:1-3 The Apostle Paul has never met the Colossians but he wants to encourage them to stick with what they have learned about Christ. In him God has hidden incredible treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Christ is a big deal. He’s not just another religious teacher or life-coach guru.
Colossians 2:4-10 If he can just get the Colossians to grasp how highly God has exalted Christ that will protect them from getting taken in by other religions and philosophies that are harmful to them. Christ is all sufficient and above other rulers and authorities so there is no need to go elsewhere or augment their faith with other allegiances and practices. God dwells in Christ fully (Col 1:19; 2 Cor 5:17) and wants to dwell in them/us as well (Eph 3:19).
20 ...he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Colossians 2:11-15 Christians need not take on Jewish practices to find salvation since through the cross God has made a new kind of forgiveness available. Rather than the expression of Rome’s power to strip and disarm rebels, the cross is where God has defeated the authorities and triumphed over them. The cross is not an embarrassment or cause for shame, but a cosmic victory!
Colossians 2:16-17 We shouldn’t let people push us around and judge whether we practice or don’t practice dietary restrictions, Jewish festivals, or the Sabbath. We have freedom in Christ to embrace these shadows or not.
Colossians 2:18-23 Asceticism is denying pleasure. Certain philosophical sects taught that pleasure was inherently evil and truly enlightened people should resist gratifying their bodily appetites. Paul comes against this strongly, arguing that Christians should not enslave ourselves to “elemental spirits.” Though strict denial sounds wise, it actually doesn’t help in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Today, we have the opposite pressure acting on us--hedonism. Commercials tell us, “You deserve this.” Social media users declare, “I’m doing this for me.” Our movies urge us to “Be true to yourself.” All of this is pressure to embrace our desires and live them out regardless of what anyone else says. Whether asceticism or hedonism, Christ has set us free.
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