Shadows No More

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Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

Colossians 2:16-19

Remember that we left off with God’s triumph over the law, the authorities and powers at the cross, and now we draw some conclusions. Since we are newly alive in Christ, have died to sin and have our sins forgiven, and since we have the fullness of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are not to allow people to criticize us for what we eat, drink, or observe, as they might have done under the Law.

Pay careful attention to verse 17: These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. All of these festivals, customs and regulations were at best but a shadow of what was to come in Christ; we often miss that fact. Many elements found in the Old Testament are like that, but we want to focus on them… and that includes the Temple itself, according to the author of Hebrews. Jesus is the reality, and all of the old forms were a mere shadow of what He would bring us, and He has now brought us the reality.

In verse 19, Paul refers to the kinds of people who are always critical of a person who has found the liberty that is in Christ. They are puffed up, falsely humble, etc, etc. At the end of this brief passage comes the part that will really give us insight about this sort of thing. People who are hanging on to the forms of religion and seeking to impose them on their brother or sister have sadly been cut off from the Head of the Body. Since we know that Christ is the Head, these poor folks who seek to impose rules are not growing with the Body, having been cut off. Maybe God has put them in our path so that we can help them get back in touch with the Head.

Oh, that would bring us back to the concept of relationship, love, serving and making disciples, wouldn’t it? Yes, I’m happy to report that most lessons come right back to that.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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6 Responses to Shadows No More

  1. kaylened says:

    Here is a little different perspective on Colossians 2. If it is true that Paul was dealing with asceticism which focuses on punishing the body into submission and false humility that actually made them proud of themselves.. And he was reminding them to focus on Yeshuah and His true transforming power as the Head of the body.

    Then regarding, “Let no one judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.” What if Paul was encouraging the Colossians to continue in doing what they learned from Epaphras, to keep the feasts and Sabbath etc…and not to listen to the Acetics?

    In Paul’s letter to Corinth he tells them to keep the feast

    “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:7,8

    We are to check every new teaching to the Torah and prophets, like the Bereans did, Isaiah says YHVH’s Sabbath to be called a delight, honored and kept holy, or set apart from the other six days, Isaiah 58:13, 14

    I noticed Mark 7:19 even adds a note that Jesus declared all foods clean and I have studied Acts 10 and the other obscure New Testament verses that don’t match Torah.

    I am not saying I know, I am saying I have enough question that I continue to keep Sabbath, Passover and avoid unclean food.

  2. Great reminder! Good scripture. Simply love it.

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