Colossians, Lord's Sabbaths & Feasts have been abolished? Part 2
Part 2 Let’s begin...
Chapter 1 of Colossians sets the context.
At this point in the teaching, consider pausing the video and read chapter one of Colossians line by line. When you are finished reading Colossians one, restart the teaching. Now that you have read Chapter one, let’s pull out some of the main points that should have presented itself in your reading.
Paul basically spends the first part of the chapter explaining the simplicity of the gospel, rescuing
the Colossians -and us- from our alienation from God through faith. Paul is interested in the Colossians better understanding God’s will and wisdom which will yield good works, patience, knowledge, etc. He also focuses on the redemptive power of Christ’s blood (verse 14). That becomes important later, so remember that.
There are several things worthy of discussion as it relates to chapter...
1) It appears that the false teachers that have engaged the Colossians make the gospel more complicated than reality.
2) It appears that the false teachers have also changed God's wisdom and will -that is from God- which of course would yield different works and knowledge -that is from men-. It should be noted that the fear of God and His law is the beginning of all wisdom: Psalm 119:9-10 He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. Thus, the false teachers are changing God's law and commandments to their own commandments to suit their own doctrine, theology, and purposes.
3) It also appears that the false teachers have caused the Colossians struggle with the redemptive power of the Messiah's blood (verse 14). Paul is introducing all of these things for a reason, which is revealed in detail in
Now that we have reviewed Chapter 1 and the developing context, we are now ready to proceed to chapter 2.
At this point in the teaching, again consider pausing the video and read chapter two of Colossians line by line. When you are finished reading Colossians two unpause the teaching. Now that you have read chapter 1 and chapter 2, we are better equipped to deal with Colossians 2, verses 14-16.
As we proceed with the deep dive into Colossians 2, we will be bringing in as much scripture as possible to assist you in testing our teaching to His Word. Quite often we will simply reference the scripture as there is not time to read us to read everything, and in some places we will go rather fast. That being said, consider pausing the study to look up the scripture that is being cited.
In Chapter 2, verse 8, Paul begins to issue his warnings to the Colossians. Paul advises to stay in Him. According to John 1:14, Christ is the Word in the flesh. This means that we are to stay in the teachings of Christ, the Word. Christ is the example of the Word and how it is to be practiced. Therefore, anything that Christ did and is found in the Word of God, is the same practice and doctrine that Paul commands us to remain in. That might not be popular with mainstream theology, but if Christ is our teacher and example, then perhaps we should do what He taught and what He did. Perhaps we should believe and practice from the same foundation from which He taught and corrected from. This is why Paul gives clear and adamant warning against the principles of the world and worldly traditions, which can take us captive (enslave us).
Col: 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.
See how Christ is pitted as being against the world, and the world against Christ. Christ did not give us examples of the world to follow, but as we have been teaching, Christ taught the Word of God. This is obviously the focus of debate. Paul is clearly against principles of the world and worldly traditions, and for Christ, the Word of God. Remember, Jesus -or His Hebrew name Yeshua- taught us the same thing:
Mark 7:9 He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. For Moses said...
So what Moses wrote down, is what is part of the commandment of God that we are to follow. But is what Moses wrote also the Word of God? Well, if we believe Jesus, then yes, what Moses wrote is the Word of God, because in verse 13, after quoting Moses, He says ...making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”
Worldly ways and traditions can take us away from the Word of God, which Christ equates to what Moses wrote, causing us to unintentionally reject God’s law. In the same way, worldly ways and traditions also take us away from Christ because is the Word made flesh (John 1:14).
Continuing in Colossians 2, In verses 13-15, Paul expands into more detail about those who had influence in the first century that forced their traditions and regulations on people, that were contrary to the Word of God
Colosians 2:13-15 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
It is always important to understand which false sect of Judaism Paul is battling against in his letters so we can then understand the debate and context at hand, and then apply it. We will use the clues offered to us in the first two chapters to discover which Jewish sect is causing the doctrinal misguidance leading the Colossians away from the Word of God and into worldly ways. When Jesus came, the majority of His ministry was in opposition to these man made traditions that opposed God’s laws (ie: Mark 7:8-9).
Paul, like Jesus, is simply teaching the same. The world’s ways are bad, God’s ways are good. So far, it is not setting up very well for those who believe verse 14-16 are teaching against God’s ways, is it? Paul, as in all of his letters, is protecting his converts from the teachings and doctrines of men that pollute the gospel and God’s law.
There are several common sects of Judaism that often set the context and debate at hand in Paul's writings. We are going to use the scripture to answer which Jewish sect we are dealing with in the letter to the Colossians. Once we find out what Jewish sect Paul is teaching against, then we will understand what Paul is teaching. One thing is for certain, whatever the false teachers corrupting the Colossians believed, we sure don’t want to believe the same thing. This is all the more reason to find out what they believed. This will actually be rather easy to prove. We are not going to be teaching anything really profound on this. We will not be really presenting anything new, Biblical scholars already know and teach what Jewish sect Paul is teaching against. Isn’t that just ironic? Mainstream Christian commentators know exactly which Jewish sect consists of the context in Colossians 2. They even know that particular Jewish sects doctrine and beliefs inside and out. We’ll show you how they came to such conclusions. But here is what we will do that they refuse to do. We are going actually apply that context, not ignore it or run away from it.
The reason we need to understand and apply the doctrine of the false teachers influencing the Colossians should be rather simple for us to understand. We should all agree that we can not understand the context unless we understand the core of the debate. It is difficult to understand the debate if we do not know the Jewish denominational sects and doctrines involved. Jesus walked and modeled before us the perfect interpretation of God’s law. He is the example and He is the Word in the flesh. Jesus proved that He was of God by doing the Word of God and in our faith we have stated to believe, commit, and trust in His ways and teaching.
Paul is simply stating that there is no reason why we should allow anyone to compel or teach us do anything different than what Jesus taught and practiced. In verse 13 Paul expands on the process of salvation by stating that we are "dead in our sin" and our "sin has been forgiven." This is important because it sets the context for the very next verse which is often misunderstood. On the cross, Jesus took the “handwriting of ordinances” (verse 14) that were against us, and erased them.
In Paul’s day, “the handwriting of ordinances” was the list of offences one made against the law, it is obviously not the law itself.
When the debt to the law is paid, the handwriting of ordinances against the offender is ripped up and destroyed. Obviously, the law is not against man, but man by nature is against the law of God (sin). The curse of the law is what is against us, which is the "law of sin and death." We all deserve the curse (second death) because we have all broke the law of God. (Deut. 11:26-29)
That is what Jesus took to the cross. Jesus paid our debt to God’s law in full. Paul explains much of this in detail in Romans -more specifically Romans 6-8- and what it means to be "under the law of sin and death." The "law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2) was the record of offences -sin- we have made against God's law, which of course leads to the curse -second death.
It is this record against us that is abolished. As Paul details in Romans, there is a difference between the "law of God" and the "law of sin and death." The "law of God" is for us when we obey it –as blessings- and the “law of God” curses us when we break it, placing us under the "law of sin and death". This should be quite simple to understand. When we break God’s law, it is called sin -1 John 3:4-. Sin, brings death -Romans 6:23-. Thus Paul brilliantly calls our failure to keep God’s law that results in the curse “The Law of Sin and Death). The same concept applies today in our own domestic laws.
If the President pardons a criminal who broke domestic law (a sinner), he pardons the offence, the hand writing or ordinances against him, not the law. Just because a criminal is let go in grace from the law he broke it does not cancel the law that convicted him. He simply cancels what was against him, the charges written against him –the handwriting of ordinances-. The charges -handwriting of ordinances against him- state that the criminal deserves to be punished. Likewise, once we are pardoned through Christ, we are no longer under the curse of the law (Galatians 3:10-13) or the law of sin and death, but under grace – (Romans 6:14).
We are freed from this curse – the law of sin and death - Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
However, this does not mean that because of our faith affording us the gift of grace, that the law is canceled-just the punishment for breaking it.
Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
So it is actually because our breaking of God’s law –sin- that we need grace, to save us from the curse that is due to us in our fallen state. But just because our punishment is taken away, does that mean we should ignore the law and continue sinning so even more grace abounds? No, not at all
Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
Paul made himself very clear for those willing to understand him. Paul was obviously not against the Law of God, but against the law of sin and death. If we do not invest any effort to figure out what law Paul is refering to in a particular verse or simply listen what others tell us about Paul and not test it to God’s Word, then we will be led into sin, into lawlessness.
Would it surprise you that such a warning about Paul’s letters actually exist in the Bible? We are warned about those who are ignorant and unstable in God’s Word -which was only defined as the Old Testament in the first century- then Paul is very difficult to understand (2 Peter 3:15-16). Paul can even be so misunderstood that one might conclude that God’s law has been abolished in whole or in part, thus making the error of lawless men (2 Peter 3:17).
2 Peter 3:15-17 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation— as also our beloved brother Paul , according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twistto their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the lawless;
Yet, here we are two thousand years later, a couple languages and cultures removed, and we expect to send new believers to read Paul and understand Him?We are ok with others telling us that Paul taught against the law of God, even when Peter says that is an error and warned us in advance? When are we planning of heeding that warning? It is because of this "lawless error" that others teach that the “handwritings of ordinances that were against us” in Colossians 2:14 were actually God’s law, not just simply the record of our sin. That happens to be a big difference! Obviously that interpretation does not even compute on many levels. Such a belief fails the test.
Let’s keep it simply and review the top three reasons why the “handwriting or ordinances” is not the “law of God” ...besides the obvious fact that Paul can not be contradicting himself in other letters....
1) Number one, scripture clearly states that Jesus took care of our sin on the cross, not the means to define sin –God’s law-(1 John 3:4). That is failure number one.
2) Number two, the law was never against us, but called freedom, perfect, truth, light, the way, and the life in the OT and the NT, we will provide the scripture for these definitions of God’s law at the conclusion of the study.
Instead, it is man’s sinful nature is against the law of God (Romans 7:22-23), not the other way around. It is the "law of sin and death" that was against us (Romans 8:2). It is the "curse of the law" (Deut. 11:26-29) that is removed, not the law of God (Gal. 3:10-13). That is failure number 2.
3) And lastly, the law was never “in our way.” In fact, quite the opposite. The Law was given to be “the way of life” Man’s sin and false doctrines were in the way (Mark 7) of God’s way and thus our way. Simply reading Psalm 119 is a testimony of what the law should mean to a believer that is filled with God's wisdom and knowledge. That would be failure number 3.
So what was the problem? What needed to be fixed? Verses 5 & 22 sets the context and problems of Colossians 2 to be directly related to errors of the commandments of men, not the perfect, just, holy, freedom giving, commandments of God. Where does it state that the problem was the law and the solution was to erase it?
Nowhere does it state in the totality of scripture that the "law of God" was a problem in any capacity.
In mainstream doctrine we invented the idea that the law was a problem, we then take verses out of context –usually because of a misunderstanding of Paul according to Peter-(2 Peter 3:15-17), then we write books about it calling it theology, and then actually celebrate God abolishing His law as if God’s law was bondage instead of being Biblically defined as freedom. The whole point of the new covenant is for God to write His law on our heart so that we desire to do it (Jer. 31:31- 33), not to abolish it and run away from it...
The whole problem that required fixing was with us -our heart- in relation to God's law. In Romans 7:12,14, 22 Paul discusses the two natures again, it is written: we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin ... For I delight in the law of God after the inward man." What we needed was the Spirit and a heart transplant.
Ezekiel 11:19-20 "And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God."
Ezk 36:26-27 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
Continued in part 3
Article Courtesy of 119 Ministries