“…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…”—Colossians 2:13-23Let the full impact of the following statement rest upon your heart.
“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 the cross.” (emphasis added)
The above is quite possibly one of the most profound statements ever made by the apostle, Paul. It is as though God is saying to this world, through the medium of the cross, that all charges have been dropped. And it is on this basis that Paul wrote the very next statement.
“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.”
What does “food,” “drink,” “festivals,” “new moons,” or the “Sabbath” have to do with the great accomplishments of Calvary? With our being forgiven of all our transgressions? With having all our debt cancelled out?
The answer is quite astonishing.
First, the Sabbath is a holy day (Exodus 20:8-11). And holy days in the Old Testament were to be kept much like we celebrate holidays in our modern culture. “Then he said to them, ‘Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). This is the same spirit in which the Sabbath is to be celebrated. The Lord’s Sabbath is commemorative of not simply creation, but Redemption as well, along with all its accomplishments. (For more on this subject, please listen to A Rest That Remains from our sermons/downloads page at https://renewedheartministries.com/resources.asp?t=sermons)
Second, the situation in Colossia was much different than in Galatia. In the Galatian church, Judaisers were secretly stealing from and seeking to defraud the Galatians of their assurance by trying to add certain requirements of the law in addition to their receiving the grace of God through faith as conditions for their salvation. However, here in Colossia, it was not the Judaisers stealing, but the early Gnostics. The Gnostics believed in many things, yet one of their central beliefs was that the body was evil and a person’s soul was immortal and holy. In order to free or redeem his or her soul, a person needs to abase his or her body through severe treatment. They believed that any sensory pleasure, for any purpose, was wrong. This would strike right at the heart of celebrating Calvary. How could a person eat the fat and drink the sweet every Sabbath in celebration of the cross if all sensory pleasure was forbidden?
Paul continued, “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. 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? 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.”
This week, stand fast in the glorious accomplishments of the cross. Let no one be your judge in regards to:
Festivals or New Moons;
but especially, the Sabbath.
This Friday evening, when Sabbath roles around, be like those early Colossian believers who, having received the blessings of the Cross, longed to celebrate their Savior. Set aside that holy time to eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and remember, the God of this universe has forgiven you all of your transgressions, having cancelled every last debt, having nailed them to His cross. May the meditation and celebration of these great themes truly set your heart free to run in the expanse of His grace.