Amplified: Therefore let no one sit in judgment on you in matters of food and drink, or with regard to a feast day or a New Moon or a Sabbath. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: Let no one take you to task in matters of food or drink, or with regard to yearly festivals and monthly new moons and weekly Sabbaths. (Westminster Press)
Lightfoot: ‘Seeing then that the bond is cancelled, that the law of ordinances is repealed, beware of subjecting yourselves to its tyranny again. Suffer no man to call you to account in the matter of eating or drinking, or again of the observance of a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
NLT: So don't let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: Stop therefore allowing anyone to be sitting in judgment upon you in eating or drinking or in the matter of a feast day or a new moon, or a Sabbath day (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: Let no one, then, judge you in eating or in drinking, or in respect of a feast, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths,
|THEREFORE: me oun:
MacPhail writes that
The famous pastor Joseph Parker wrote that…
Since Christ is indeed God in the flesh and He is in you as your "hope of glory" and you are "complete in Him" with all that being complete in Christ (Col 2:10-note) entails (Col 2:11, 12, 13, 14,1 5-see notes Col 2:11; 12; 13; 14; 15)… then don't let someone try to bully you or say you are less spiritual because you don't keep "kosher" or keep certain days, etc. Christ has BLOTTED OUT the IOU against us and we are no longer under the curse of the law (Gal 3:13) but we are under grace and should so walk (Col 2:6-note).
Ray C. Stedman entitles Paul's warnings in (Col 2:16-23) "The Things that Can Ruin Your Faith", those dangerous traps that await us on every side as we journey… there are no new heresies. We find the same things that can derail the spiritual life, repeated… Bad theology always leads to bad practice! The mistaken ideas about the work of Christ (which Paul corrects in Col 2:8-15) and His sufficiency have corresponding errors on the practical side and the first one Paul warns against is
DON'T LET SOMEONE
This is ritualism, just a variant form of legalism. (Jesus fulfilled the Law, both it's moral demands and it's ceremonial demands - Ro 8:3, 4-note).
So Paul says don't let anyone put you under legalism or by trying to make yourself acceptable to God on the basis of externals -- by keeping certain laws, rituals or decrees. God "made us accepted in the Beloved" (in Christ) (Ep 1:6KJV-note).
Legalism is bondage! Now that you are free in Christ, why would you want to be enslaved again? (cp Gal 4:9) Peter called such bondage a “yoke upon the neck” (Acts 15:10, cf. Mt 23:4, Gal 5:1, 2:4, Heb 9:8, 9, 10, 11). If keeping the Law could not make us spiritual before we received Christ as our fully sufficient Savior (fully and forever sufficient to save us the first time at regeneration, our new birth, and then by His Spirit in our daily sanctification), why do we think that keeping the law can make us spiritual after we are believers? Or as Paul rhetorically phrased it…
Sadly many genuine believers in America are living under some form of a yoke of bondage, thinking if I just do this or do that, I'll be more acceptable to God. They may not say this overtly but their actions betray them.
S Lewis Johnson introduces his article on the "Paralysis of Legalism" with these comments…
This area of "doing something" to become more acceptable to God is a persuasive ("red herring") argument (Col 2:4-note) that can derail your faith and rob you of your true spirituality. The flesh is weak when it comes to doing spiritual things truly pleasing to God (Mt 26:41), but it is very strong when it comes to practicing religion, especially religious rules and regulations. Somehow, adhering to the religious routine inflates the ego and makes a person content in his self-righteousness (cf. Paul's warning in Romans 10 where he is speaking of the Jews but speaks truth that is applicable to us all when we walk according to the flesh - Ro 10:2, 3, 4-note). And so as believers we must continually recall that truth that we…
Christ's righteousness is the only basis of our acceptability when we stand one day before His holy throne (Jude 1:24,25). The false teachers were saying by their judging believers that Jesus Christ is not sufficient for all the spiritual needs of the Christian. They were claiming a “deeper spiritual life” for all who would practice the Law. Outwardly, their practice may seem spiritual; but in actual fact, these practices accomplish nothing spiritual, for Christ Alone is our "spirituality" and we please God by our faith and obedience (Heb 11:6-note, 1Sa 15:22).
Blaise Pascal rightly declared that…
True Christianity is living under submission to and in the power of the Spirit of God and the grace of God and realizing that we are acceptable to God because of the internal change God has wrought in us when He caused us to be born again to a living hope (1Pe 1:3-note) - viz (to wit, namely) "Christ (is) in you (and He is) the hope of glory" (Col 1:27-note) and you are complete (completed filled to the brim) in Him (Col 2:10-note). So in the next section (cf. Col 2:20-note) Paul again points back to our position in Christ and says let no one put you under the law!
Beloved, if you are wrestling with the subtle snare of legalism, let me recommend Dr Ray Stedman's excellent message entitled Legalism (in transcript format) or click here to download the Mp3 - hint right click and select Save Target As and then you can listen on your Ipod
Jesus dealt with the law when He canceled out the debt consisting of decrees against us, for as Paul reminds the Roman saints
Why was the Law against us? Because we could not keep the law. Because you could not live up to them.
As James teaches
God's requires absolute righteousness but our corrupt nature inherited from Adam prevents us from keeping the law perfectly. God said
That curse is death, so we have to die. But Jesus took on flesh and blood and
In light of what Christ has done on Calvary, the Colossians were to let no one "judge" their standing before God on the basis of their observance or nonobservance of the regulations of the Mosaic law. In such matters the principle of Christian liberty comes into play.
As Paul reminded the Galatians who were so prone to slip back into legalism
Elsewhere Paul insists that under some circumstances Christian freedom should be voluntarily limited by one's respect for the tender conscience of a weaker brother or sister (see Ro 14:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8ff-note; 1Cor 8:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13). This caution is necessary for those inclined to assert their liberty without regard of the potential damage their actions might bring to a "weaker" brother or sister in Christ. In the church at Colossae, it was actually Christian liberty that was to be asserted (albeit of course still with the weaker brethren in mind) in order to counter the subversive attempts of the false teaching that sought to undermine the believer's freedom in Christ.
You've probably heard the expression "red herring." This term was coined from a method of training hunting dogs to follow the scent of their prey. Once the dogs were following the proper scent, their trainers would draw red herrings (a stinky fish) across their paths. Initially, the dogs would be diverted by the scent of the herring. They had to be trained to ignore that scent and instead stay focused on the scent of their prey. So a "red herring" is something that is introduced which diverts our attention from what we should be pursuing. Paul's thesis is that the key to authentic spirituality is pursuing Jesus Christ, because He alone is the Source of all true spiritual knowledge,
We pursue Him (Col 2:6-note) by "receiving Him" into our hearts (Jn 1:11, 12, 13), and by "walking in Him" (which practically means learning about Him [read, meditate and memorize the Book], following Him [obeying His Word] and enjoying Him - cp Gal 5:16-note).
The Amplified version says
In order to effectively pursue Christ, you have to be able to identify spiritual red herrings and turn away from them. Paul identifies some of them in this section, which is very apropos to the modern church for "stinking herrings" are still very much present today.
In summary, we note that in Col 2:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23 Paul take us from the truths primarily about Who Christ is and our POSITION in Him to our PRACTICE in Him and in this section he begins with the negative side of our spiritual practice by warning us about what not to do.
THE DANGER OF RITUALISM IN THE CHURCH
G Campbell Morgan (From his notes on 2Chronicles) has a pithy description of the dangers of ritualism (formalism) in the modern church…
LET NO ONE ACT AS YOUR JUDGE (sit in judgment) IN REGARD TO FOOD OR DRINK : Me oun tis humas krineto (3SPAM) en brosei kai en posei: (Ro 14:3, 14:10 14:13 1Cor 10:28, 29, 30, 31; Gal 2:12;13 Jas 4:11) (Lv 11:2-47; 17:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15; Dt 14:3-21; Ezek 4:14; Mt 15:11; Acts 11:3-18;15:20; Ro 14:2,6,14, 15, 16, 17,20,21; 1Cor 8:7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13; 1Ti 4:3, 4, 5; Heb 9:10;13:9)
Lightfoot says let no one "take you to task".
Let (no one) act as… judge (krino) primarily signifies to distinguish, separate or discriminate; then, to distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong, without necessarily passing an adverse sentence, though this is usually involved and certainly is in the present context. The false teachers were judging the saints and passing judgment on whether they were truly "spiritual" or not. These false teachers used non-Biblical criteria (legalism, mysticism, ritualism) by which to judge the saints. Paul presents the truth about the saint's position in Christ in order to counter the lies of the adversaries.
Remember if you you don't stand on the truth, you're in danger of falling for the lie. Stated another way, keep the truth and the truth will keep you (from falling prey to the lie).
As John Blanchard says "Whatever you add to the truth subtracts from it… Truth is objective, not subjective, so sincerity or passion is no guarantee of a claim's validity."
A T Robertson says the Greek here is a
Stated another way, the negative particle ("me") used in combination with the present tense (continuous action) imperative mood (command) means they are to stop allowing this to happen, implying that some of the saints in Colossae were already recipients of and falling prey to this destructive judgmental attitude.
The false teachers were telling the Colossians the lie that CHRIST IS NOT ENOUGH but that they also needed to keep the Jewish ceremonial rituals and legalism, as commanded in the Mosaic Law.
Paul counters with the argument that
As A T Robertson puts it
The gospel of Christ does not pronounce condemnation like the Law. The function of the gospel is to pardon while the function of the Law is to condemn.
What Paul is warning about is still with us today. For example, some would say if you want to be "spiritual" then
Paul says don't let someone come along and say you need to keep certain laws, even "good" ones (like you must have a 15 minute devotional time every morning [it's not a bad idea but it won't make you any more acceptable to God for you are already "complete in Christ"], etc), if you want to be really spiritual.
Paul says these are "externals" but you have true spirituality already resident within, for you have Christ within "you the hope of glory" (Col 1:27b-note) and He is the only One Who is truly spiritual. Now put this truth into practice and walk by faith in the Spirit of Christ (Col 2:6-note, cp Gal 5:16-note) and He will daily set you apart from the world and unto Himself. (cp Ro 8:13-note, cp Php 2:12-note, Php 2:13-note)
The truth cannot be repeated too often that as a believer, you are now and forever complete in Christ (Col 2:9, 10-note). You possess all the "spirituality" (and all the resources to be spiritual) that you will ever receive or that you will ever need in this life or the one to come! Christ is totally and forever sufficient. Meditate on the great truth about Christ in Colossians 1 and Colossians 2, allowing the Spirit to transform and renew your thinking (2Cor 3:18, Ro 12:2-note), and practice walking forth in obedience to the truth, confident in our Lord's promise that the truth (Personified in Christ - see Jn 14:6, cp Rev 19:11-note - His name is called "Faithful and True") will set you free (Jn 8:31, 32) and when the Son sets you free, you are free indeed (Jn 8:36).
As Os Guinness says…
The goal of spiritual discipline now is to
Lightfoot says believers should exhibit
As Robertson quips
Peter would add that
Our object is now not to please men by keeping certain externals but to please God by our obedience which is rooted in (motivated by) our filial love for Him and is enabled by His Spirit. Jesus summed it up by declaring that
True spirituality is obeying our Father as we are led by His Word and empowered by His Spirit. It is when we are walking "in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Col 1:10).
God has taken the "IOU" representing our sin debt owed to God because we have broken His Law and nailed it to the Cross of Christ. Don't let anyone delude you about this glorious truth. Remember that because you are complete in Him you don't need to "keep" certain days or "eat certain foods" to be "spiritual" or make yourself "acceptable" to God. Don't let someone come along and say that if you were really spiritual, you'd not eat meat on a certain day like those "men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods (1Ti 4:3).
Regarding food and drink…
Jesus explained to the woman at the well that the water men need to be "spiritual" is spiritual water declaring that…
In regard - Literally "in" and here the idea is "in the matter of".
Food (1035) (brosis from bibrosko = to eat) literally means something that eats ("an eating") or gnaws. The main NT use refers to the act of partaking of food (eating) (Ro 14:17-note, 1Co 8:4, 2Co 9:10, Col 2:16-note). Brosis can refer to that which one eats (In Lxx - Ge 25:28, Jer 41:20, 2Sa 19:43), and thus can mean a "meal" as in (He 12:16-note). Jesus uses brosis to mean food but with a figurative meaning in Jn 4:32; 6:27, 55.
In Mt 6:19, 20-note brosis is used figuratively to describe that which causes erosion or corrosion (Compare the interesting derivation of the English word corrode from Latin rodo = to gnaw.)
Brosis - 11x in 10v - Matt 6:19, 20; John 4:32; 6:27, 55; Ro 14:17; 1 Cor 8:4; 2 Cor 9:10; Col 2:16; Heb 12:16 NAS = eating(2), food(6), meal(1), rust(2).
Brosis - 35x in non-apocryphal Lxx - Ge 1:29, 30; 2:9, 16; 3:6; 9:3; 25:28; 47:24; Lev 7:24; 19:7; 25:7; Deut 32:24; 1 Sam 2:28; 2 Sam 16:2; 19:42; 1 Kgs 19:8; Job 33:20; 34:3; Ps 14:4; 44:11; 53:4; 78:30; 104:21; Isa 55:10; Jer 7:33; 15:3; 19:7; 34:20; Lam 1:11, 19; 4:10; Ezek 47:12; Dan 1:10; Hab 3:17; Mal 3:11
David Holwick on food and drink…
1) Food long associated with religion.
a) Taboos on what you can eat or must avoid.
b) Most famous - kosher laws.
c) Muslims - daily fasting during month of Ramadan.
2) Early Christians.
a) Many followed Old Testament food rules.
b) Further issue - food offered to idols.
3) Paul's conclusion.
a) All food is good and from a good God. 1Timothy 4:3, 4
1> Eat anything, with thankfulness.
b) But if someone is offended, abstain. 1Cor 8:9
1> We are free, but we don't hammer people.
Drink (4213) (posis) means the action of drinking or what one drinks (a drink).
There are only 3 uses of posis in the NT…
Paul echoed the warning about foods in his letter to the saints at Rome writing…
Many saints today practice giving up certain pleasurable activities (especially certain foods) during the 40 day period ( "Lent") preceding First Fruits (Easter), because they think that will improve their relationship with God. Some seek to become more acceptable to God by wearing special clothing or uniforms. Many Jews keep a kosher kitchen although many of them do not even know why.
When one Jewish woman was asked why she kept a kosher kitchen she replied,
The Mormon cult teaches that a person cannot be a member in good standing if he drinks tea or coffee. Seventh Day Adventists, insist that a person must keep the Sabbath in order to please God. Paul says don't let anyone judge your spirituality on the basis of these shadows because you have the "substance", the "body", Christ dwelling in you and He is your hope of glory.
What saith the Lord about food? Under the Mosaic Law certain foods were classified as “clean” or “unclean”
But Jesus made it clear that food was neutral. It was what came out of the heart that made a person spiritual or unspiritual, teaching that
Peter had to be told three times that
People who religiously observe diets and days give an outward semblance of spirituality (before men but not before God), but these practices cannot change their hearts. Legalism is a popular thing because you can “measure” your spiritual life—and even brag about it!
Paul describes such teaching that forbids certain foods as the "doctrines of demons” (1Ti 4:1) whom Christ has disarmed (Col 2:15).
Self-denial can be merely a cover for self-promotion as the following true story illustrates: The proprietors of the “Worst Food in Oregon” restaurant say that what they serve in the “worst food you ever ate, and the service is even worse.” Actually, the restaurant is unusually clean and the food is very good. Diners are served generous portions, and the prices are very reasonable. The name is just a gimmick. It was the idea of the owner who, when tempted to call his food “the best,” figured he might get more attention by calling it “the worst.” His strategy worked. Customers who come the first time out of curiosity soon come back for more. They like the food so much that they even ask what the chef recommends. With a twinkle in his eye he tells them to “take their money and spend it at another restaurant down the road.”
John MacArthur says in this section what Paul is talking about is…
OR IN RESPECT TO A FESTIVAL OR A NEW MOON OR A (the) SABBATH(s) DAY(s): e en merei eortes e neomenias e sabbaton: (Lv 23:1-44; Nu 28:1-29; Dt 16:1-17; Neh 8:9; 10:31; Ps 42:4; Ro 14:5,6) (Nu 10:10; 28:11,14; 1Sa 20:5,18; 2Ki 4:23; 1Chr 23:31; Neh 10:33; Ps 81 :3; Isa 1:13; Ezek 45:17; 46:1, 2, 3; Amos 8:5; Gal 4:10) (Lev 16:31; 23:3,24,32,39)
All Jewish males were required to attend Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles but there is no such stipulation under the New Covenant. On the other hand keep in mind that Paul is not forbidding us to have ''special days or diets'' but just that we don't rely on those to ''make us spiritual'' or do them to please (impress) men rather than God, no matter how sincere we might appear. (See Romans 14).
The reference to Sabbath day points clearly to the Jewish calendar, for only Jews kept the Sabbath. That being the case, "religious festival" and "New Moon celebration" must also point primarily to the ritual calendar of the Jews. Paul's thought is that the Christian is freed from obligations of this kind (Gal 4:9, 10, 11). No one, therefore, should be permitted to make such things a test of piety or fellowship (Ro 14:1ff-notes).
John Eadie comments on true Christianity that
In the early 1900's few Christians who were evangelicals would travel on Sunday because they were taught that Sunday was a carry-over of the Jewish Sabbath and that it was wrong to work or travel on that day.
The movie Chariots of Fire illustrates how strongly that view was held. These are modern day examples of what Paul is warning against (although clearly Eric Liddell's heart was right in refusing to race on the Sabbath). Any man-initiated performance that is done without meaning with the goal of seeking to please God or make one's self more spiritual is what Paul warns us about.
Commenting on the new moon, Vincent writes that
Those men who would bring Christians under the bondage of the Law make artificial distinctions between the “ceremonial” and “moral” law, and so they say the Sabbath has not passed away. That this is a false notion can be seen from the fact that
The devil wants our MINDS. He knows he can't have our HEARTS, because they already belong to Jesus (Col 2:15-note, Heb 2:14, 15-note, 1Cor 6:20, etc). He wants to distract our minds from the completeness we have in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Remember the enemy works upon the minds of those who are not FIXED UPON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. Satan loves to get a Christian who is not in the WORD, not focused on the Lord and who does not understand that he's complete in Jesus. He can use such an individual to bring DIVISION to the body of Christ. So we've got to be SENSITIVE to his schemes ---- it may even be that Satan will use a Sunday School teacher, pastor, or someone else in leadership (cf Paul's solemn warning in Acts 20:28, 29, 30, 31, 32). The key is not so much what they look like or how they speak, but WHAT THEY ARE SAYING, is it "sound doctrine" (1Ti 4:6, 2Ti 4:3-note, Titus 1:9-note, Titus 2:1-note)? We need to be sensitive to the CONTENT (and the CONTEXT) of what they say… is what they are saying "according to Christ" Col 2:8-note) and what is ERROR.
In Col 2:14 (notes) we learned that Jesus
He didn't do away with it, but He fulfilled the Law (Ro 8:3, 4-see notes Ro 8:3; 8:4, Gal 3:13) by putting Himself in the place of the Law. When I obey the Lord Jesus, the Law is being fulfilled, because He is the embodiment of the Law. Since He is, now I don't need to relate to a plan or a formula, but simply to Him and to walk worthy of Him, pleasing Him in all things. So that as you obey Him, the Law is being fulfilled through your obedience, which equates with righteousness. Remember that the Law itself cannot produce righteousness, but Jesus can for He became to us righteousness (1Cor 1:30) and through my obedience to Him the "fruit of righteousness" (Php 1:11-note) is worked out in my life.
Jesus has conquered all the forces of evil so it follows that no person has a right to JUDGE me as to whether I do or do not observe the tenets of the Law of Moses. No one can judge me, because the Law was already judged in Him. He became that curse for me (Gal 3:13) and when I receive Him, I receive what He did for me -- I died with Him, was buried with Him and was raised to walk in newness of life (Ro 6:3, 4-see notes Ro 6:3; 6:4) so that the Law no longer has claims on me (Ro 7:4,5,6-note). Jesus has claims over me, but the Law does not. Beware when you hear someone say "Jesus is not enough… you've got to do this or that." Your spiritual "antennae" should stand up as you recall that you have been made COMPLETE in the Lord Jesus Christ and as you obey Him, He takes care of the righteousness that the Law demands but could never produce in my life. Keep in mind Paul seems to be talking primarily to Gentile believers. It may be that some leader was trying to draw them under the Law.
The false philosophers were saying that you can only eat and drink certain things if you want to be really SPIRITUAL. Lev 11 describes foods that were clean and unclean. The LAW had a definite purpose for the Israelites----to keep them SEPARATE from the other nations. The LAW also probably had them eat certain things for nourishment reasons. The Israelites couldn't even associate with the people of other nations because their diet was so different. Look out when you're sitting down and eating with someone--watch how quickly your convictions go out the door. How quickly you can become one of them when you eat with them. When we come to Jesus we don't look at things as clean/unclean because that has been done away with in Christ.
The following Scriptures illustrate how in Christ dietary laws are done away with:
So what you eat no longer affects your standing with God. Now on the other hand "Rules" by themselves do not necessarily signify that something is LEGALISM. The problem is when the RULES become the mode, measure, method by which you come in right standing with God, by which you become "spiritual". Jesus is the means of our spirituality. Isn't it interesting that since Jesus is the Bread of Life, that we would need to eat and drink certain things. He is our food as He stated when He told them that He had food to eat that knew not of and that His food was to do the will of Him Who sent Jesus (Jn 4:34).
The FEASTS are listed in Lv 23:2ff "Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, 'The LORD'S appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations-- My appointed times are these: SABBATH, PASSOVER, UNLEAVENED BREAD, FIRST FRUITS, WEEKS, ATONEMENT, BOOTHS. Paul teaches that the shadow of the feasts has become the substance in Christ in [1Co 5:7] "Christ our Passover" Jesus is the One to Whom all the OT feasts pointed. Festivals were celebration times pointing to what God had done and to what He was going to do. Today there is no specific day, but in fact we should celebrate Christ every moment of out life because He is the embodiment of all the feasts.
1Chr 23:31 which in reference to when they gave their SACRIFICES- they were given "on the Sabbaths, the new moons and fixed festivals… " Here is what God thinks about KEEPING THE NEW MOON and W/O OBEDIENCE FORM THE HEART:
Christians can do the same thing by coming every Sunday to give their offering, unemotionally mouthing the words to the hymns, giving their token time to the church and leaving feeling that they've done all that God wants them to do. Remember all the SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM was pointing to the Lord Jesus Who has become a sacrifice for us. He reconciled us by the blood of His cross. He nailed those decrees to His cross.
So how do Christians now SACRIFICE and CELEBRATE? See Ro 12:1-note
"… your spiritual (logical) service of worship"
You don't just PRESENT your bodies once a month at the "new moon", but you do so moment by moment, (aorist active infinitive ) as a conscious attitude by one who has been made complete in the Lord Jesus Christ. Don't let anyone trap you into adding anything to Jesus.
Amplified: Such [things] are only the shadow of things that are to come, and they have only a symbolic value. But the reality (the substance, the solid fact of what is foreshadowed, the body of it) belongs to Christ (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
Barclay: These are only the shadow of things to come; the real substance belongs to Christ. (Westminster Press)
Lightfoot: These are only shadows thrown in advance, only types of things to come. The substance, the reality, in every case belongs to the Gospel of Christ.
NLT: So don't let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Wuest: which things are a shadow of those things about to come. But the body belongs to Christ. (Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: which are a shadow of the coming things, and the body is of the Christ;
|THINGS WHICH ARE A MERE SHADOW OF WHAT IS TO COME (coming things): a estin (3SPAI) skia ton mellonton (PAPNPG): (Jn 1:17; Heb 8:5; 9:9; 10:1)
Things which are - Those things just mentioned in Col 2:16. Literally this reads "the coming things" -- these are the spiritual blessings made possible for all believers today (in this present life) by the New Covenant in Christ Jesus (i.e., Paul is not referring solely to blessings that are yet to come in the future at the Second Coming of Christ).
John wrote that…
In Hebrews we read these parallel passages…
Eadie writes that…
Skia is used of a literal shadow (the shape cast by an object as it blocks rays of light) in Acts 5:15 and of literal shade in Mark 4:32 (Here skia refers to the shelter from light and any heat associated with it), but the other 5 NT uses are figurative. Two uses describe the "shadow" of death, that sphere of existence which of men in which they are alienated from God (Mt 4:16, Lk 1:79) and into which Messiah comes as the Light of the world. Poetically the OT Septuagint speaks of the sheltering shadow of God's wings. Other OT uses speak of human transitoriness (Job 8:9 and Psalm 102:11, 144:4). The Jewish historian Josephus uses skia to in his description of a besieged city in Jewish War 6.194 where only the shadow of food seemed to be available.
Skia - 7x in 7v - Matt 4:16; Mark 4:32; Luke 1:79; Acts 5:15; Col 2:17; Heb 8:5; 10:1
Wuest paraphrases Expositor's Greek Testament which explains that skia in Hebrews 8:4-note is
Bible Background Commentary
The Law was "weak" in regard to the flesh which is why Jesus took on the likeness of sinful flesh and allowed for the requirement of the Law to be met in believers (Ro 8:3,4-note). The Old Testament ritual observances were dim outlines of the redemptive truths that came to full light in the New Testament. The offerings were reflections of the one genuine saving offering at the cross, the priesthood was a foreshadowing of the priestly ministry of Christ, and the kings of Israel faintly suggested the coming King of kings and Lord of lords.
The problem we must always be alert to is the danger of performing "religious" rituals mechanically and simply going through the motions. Paul says in essence that this can destroy the true vitality of faith.
But someone will surely say,
Paul addresses such an objection by emphasizing that rituals are mere "shadows" and that the reality is found in Christ. Once the reality has been realized, shadows are of no value whatsoever. Shadows are pictures, given in advance, designed to prepare us for something. But if you have found Christ, you do not need the shadows any more. Paul includes the Sabbath day as an example of a shadow.
Ray Stedman has an excellent exposition on this section writing…
Bob DeWaay in his section on Three Warnings about Spiritual Elitism writes…
BUT THE SUBSTANCE (body) BELONGS TO CHRIST: to de soma tou Christou: (Mt 5:17, Ro 8:3, 8:4, Mt 11:28,29; Heb 4:1-11)
Literally the Greek can be read as "the body of the Christ".
Substance (4983) (soma) can mean a literal living human body but here is used figuratively as the reality which stands in contrast to the shadow.
The Law of Moses and the Levitical sacrifices, rituals and feasts are all shadows pointing to Christ. The Colossians, who possess the reality as members of the body of Christ, would be foolish to return to the shadow. The ritualistic and ceremonial trappings of religion, the esoteric doctrinal extremes of cults, and the deceptive philosophies of secular faiths are not the essence of or basis for true faith. The reality is to be found only in Jesus Christ, Who is in us the Hope of glory. We are righteous (and spiritual) before a Holy God now not because of what we do or don't do but because we are COMPLETE IN CHRIST, Who has become to us Righteousness (1Co1:30). That is our position. We work out that "positional" righteousness by faith and obedience, motivated and empowered by His Spirit. Colossians 3-4 emphasizes the practical side of "righteousness", showing what a righteous life should look like in ways that can be applied to our everyday life.
H. C. G. Moule writes that (Colossians 2:17,18) is
In a sense, the person who judges a believer because that believer is not living under Jewish laws is really judging Jesus Christ. He is saying that Christ did not finish the work of salvation on the cross (cp Jn 19:30), and that we must add something to it. He is also saying that Jesus Christ is not sufficient for all the spiritual needs of the Christian. The false teachers in Colossae were claiming a “deeper spiritual life” for all who would practice the Law, keep certain days, etc. Things haven't changed much in over 2000 years.
Let's look at a modern spiritual "Shadow", the Sabbath. Many Christians still ask "Aren't we still supposed to meet on the Sabbath?" Paul addresses this question in this section explaining in Colossians 2:17 the Sabbath is a Shadow which is just a picture of something else. When you see a shadow, you know that there is something behind that shadow and the bigger the shadow gets the closer you get to the substance of that shadow. When the person walks in you don't need the shadow anymore! The command to observe the Sabbath is the only one of the 10 Commandments not repeated after Pentecost.
Jesus is no shadow but is the Substance Who has in fact become our "Sabbath rest" and in that "Sabbath rest" moment by moment we can cease from fleshly works. Now our "works" come out of loving obedience to the One Who lives in us. The Sabbath was intended to be a day of rest, but the legalistic Pharisees perverted this day to mean that man was made to keep the Sabbath rather than the Sabbath being made for man (Mk 2:27). And to promote their false religion, they came up with over 600 laws including many that applied to the Sabbath.
In place of the joy, they imposed a yoke of slavish sabbatarianism which made the Sabbath an end instead of a means, hampered the spirit of true worship, and laid greater stress upon a punctilious obedience to human regulations ("according to the traditions of men" see note Colossians 2:8) than upon the commands of the Law.
Some of the ridiculous man made prohibitions included…
It was because of this perversion of the Sabbath Rest that the Lord Jesus refused to sanction such legalism and vigorously defended His Sabbath miracles.
In short, now that the Substance has come, there is no need for the shadow. Jesus has now become our "Sabbath Rest" (Mt 11:28, 29, 30).
What "Shadow" might be our "Sabbath" today (even in modern evangelicalism)? Many things could be turned into "modern day Sabbath keeping". For example, even going to church might become a person's "Sabbath", in the sense that they legalistically dare not miss that day! Sure it is best to try not to miss going to church on Sunday (cp Heb 10:24). But if you think that by your going to church on Sunday, you will be "more spiritual", then you need to reassess your motives. The point is that going to church does not make anyone spiritual. The point is what is your motive for going to church? Are you going because you love God and His people or are we going to prove that you are spiritual or to earn favor from God? Legalism says "Do This" so you can prove to others that you're spiritual. Grace says "Rest in Him", fully confident of the truth that you are complete in Christ (Col 2:10-note). When you come to Him and obey His Word, walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, you can rest assured that He will take care of the rest! (Col 1:10-note).
Do you know if you have your Rest in the Lord Jesus? You can tell in 5 minutes when a person is resting in Him. Rest is not passivity. In fact, Jesus may burn you out physically and you may be absolutely exhausted like Paul who said "I agonize". The Lord's "Rest" means you are occupied with His business and you are functioning in His spiritual strength with which He infuses you. You can be physically worn out, but inwardly rejoicing when you've found your rest in the Lord Jesus Christ (Mt 11:28, 29, 30). When you have one of those days in which inner turmoil dominates you, you have most likely lost your "Rest". Outside turmoil has nothing to do with your inner rest, for this inner rest is supernatural and is independent of your circumstances.
Remember that the whole Old Testament ritual system was a divinely inspired "multi-media" presentation which communicated "pictures" of God's desire to dwell in His people (Picture = the Tabernacle), pictured our sin preventing access and fellowship (Picture = the veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of holies), and pictured his future provision of forgiveness through Christ's death which would make it possible for him to dwell in us (Picture = the holy priesthood and the entire sacrificial system). God wanted His people to be constantly reminded of these vital central truths. (cp Gal 4:4, 5, 6) Through His death, Jesus has provided complete forgiveness and adoption into God's family so we can be indwelt by his Spirit and know him as "Abba." Once you receive Christ, you can relate to God wherever you are--heart to heart, sharing your problems and joys, asking Him for the help you need, thanking Him for His work in your life, etc. His Word comes alive to you as a personal love letter. His Spirit communicates God's love (Ro 5:5-note).
Paul goes on to say that for Christians to revert to ritualism is spiritual regression (Cp Gal 4:9, 10, 11). Imagine a girl separated from her father from birth. She has only pictures of him, which she treasures and looks at constantly. Then he returns. Will she relate to the pictures differently? She wouldn't hate them or throw them away, but she wouldn't relate to her father through them anymore. What if she still preferred her scrapbook to relating to her father?
So avoid the red herring of ritualism! This does not necessarily mean that people who practice ritualism cannot be Christians, but that ritualism is a red herring that draws us off the path to spiritual maturity.
Eadie elaborates on Colossians 2:17 explaining that the Old Covenant law and ritual