Colossians 2:16-23 … The warning of Colossians 2:8 is intended to create an awareness of the preeminence of Christ in the believer’s faith and practice. The reading today expands on that warning in important ways. Apparently there were some in Colossae who sought to add rules to faith in terms of diet, things you had to do or observe, and even rules about holidays. All these things have the danger of getting in the way of our true focus.
Colossians 2:18 uses the example of asceticism (deprivation) and angel worship to somehow become more holy and taking some comfort in that kind of practice. Paul calls that fraud and urges that believers hold fast to Christ (v.19) and grow in Him. Most commentators agree that the kind of encroaching philosophy addressed here in the first century was something called Gnosticism, which relied on a so-called higher knowledge. But related dangers exist today. Believers have freedom in Christ and in trusting Him only. External rules create a sense of self-achievement that some may think earns or deserves or works toward salvation. That’s the danger – salvation is the free gift of God in Christ and it’s His merit and righteousness that saves and not anything we bring other than our faith in Him.
When the Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” they answered: “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…”
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