Colossians 2:13-17 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Chapter 2 is marked by 4 instructive warnings vs.4 “This I say, lest any man should beguile you.” Vs. 8 “Beware lest any man spoil you.” Vs.16 “Let no man therefore judge you.” Vs. 18 “Let no man beguile you of your reward.” Paul is very concerned with The Colossians not losing any ground to the heresy that is on the rise. These four warnings are timeless and apply to us today, we are probably in more danger than these were. In the above verse, Paul informs us first of what Christ has done and then instructs us as to what we should do with that information.
The “Therefore” in verse 16 ties everything said in the previous verses to the statement made in Verse 16. We should not let men judge us in religious traditions and ordinances because Christ fulfilled all traditions, ordinances, and the law as a whole. This was an issue in the 1st-century church and today, many people want to annex the fulfillment of the law, or traditions with saving grace, supposing that it was faith in Christ plus baptism, plus circumcision, or in the Gnostics case, it was Christ plus knowledge and wisdom and enlightenment, and Christ plus other spirits and emanations. The reoccurring theme of Paul’s letters is that Christ is complete, his work is complete and in him we are complete. That is the reality that should guide our minds and protect our hearts, That when we “received Christ Jesus the Lord”[2:6] we received a complete work of Salvation, not lacking in the least! Our faith must grow, of course, but as a son is as much a son as he will ever be at birth as when he is fully grown so are we just as saved at the moment of the new birth as we will be when we have lived and matured in the faith for 40 years.
We should not let any man, including our own hearts, judge us when it comes to religious traditions because we have been “Quickened together with Him” and He has “Forgiven you all trespasses.” He goes on to tell us how this was accomplished, The Cross. Everything that was contrary to us in the Law, Calvary has taken out of the way. Between me and God, there were many things, my being dead in sins, Jesus removed that barrier, and I was quickened together with Him when I believed unto the new birth. There were many trespasses, I had broken so many of his commands, He forgave me ALL TRESPASSES! Not only past ones, but all. There were many ordinances that were contrary to me. There were many ordinances, but they have one thing in common, the wages of Sin is death. We have that very first ordinance with Adam when after their sin an animal died in their place to clothe their nakedness. We have the ordinances contained in the Law, that there must be a spotless lamb to die in the place of the offeror. Every ordinance, whether contained in the moral law or ceremonial law has been blotted out! Not because they were useless, but because they have been fulfilled! We have no need for sacrifices or a list of traditions of signs and shadows, we have the very object and person of every one of the ordinances, Jesus; “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” Notice what is said in Hebrews concerning these ordinances in comparison to Jesus:
Hebrews 10:11-12 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
Dear Christian, Calvary fixed it all! As He said in ch.1:20 “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself.” All the broken laws, all the unfulfilled ordinances, our death sentence, our shame, everything that was contrary to us was nailed to the cross in the person of Jesus Christ, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” [2 Cor 5:21]. We are completely saved, we are completely secured, nothing or no one makes us more saved or more secure. The complete work of Christ is completely finished and we have become partakers with him and we are “complete in Him!”
Now that we know that nothing adds to Christ, nothing adds to our salvation, not even keeping commandments, now that we know that everything that was contrary to us has been removed at Calvary, we should not let men judge us according to these things. Rather, we should not be affected by their judgment of us, we can’t stop them from judging but we can control how that affects us. The Colossians were dealing with Gnostics and Jews who judged them because they didn’t observe their traditions. They likely ate meat that Jews wouldn’t eat, didn’t observe sabbath days, new moons, or holy days, and therefore they weren’t real Christians in the eyes of those who judged them, or they were less than the observers of these traditions. How timeless is this issue! Keeping the Sabbath does not make you a better Christian, wearing a tie to church does not make you a better Christian, neither does wearing a t-shirt make you a better Christian. Have your traditions so long as they don’t contradict God’s word but the second we begin to judge men by our traditions then we are in danger. Remember the man who asked Jesus why he didn’t wash his hands before he ate? Jesus rebukes him sharply, not because he hates washing hands, but because he hates when we take traditions and make them a rule that men should be judged by. Without fail, you are going to meet this group of people who want you to be “entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” When you do, remember that the cross of Calvary completed your salvation and your observance of traditions cannot add one iota to the work that Christ completed. Ye are Complete in Him!