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Tuesday, February 13th, 2024

Scripture: Col. 2:20 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,

Col. 2:21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!”

Col. 2:22 (which all refer to things destined to perish with use) – in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?

Col. 2:23 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.

Teaching: Last week, we saw that Paul here is calling the Colossians to see that the legalism being enforced on them is needless and foolish in light of their already being complete in Christ by faith. His point here is that these self-enforced and false-teacher enforced rules, ostensibly for the purpose of making one more righteous, are nothing but mere teachings of man. Though they may seem wise, they hold no power. In verse 23, Paul essentially says that it may look like a good idea to treat one’s flesh severely – fasting, punishing oneself, denying oneself – as a means to tame one’s flesh; however, an over-obsession about one’s flesh doesn’t lead to Christ, it only leads to fleshly indulgence. Case in point, if one wants to lose weight, but obsesses over calories all day every day, what they are actually doing is just thinking about food all day every day. It is no way to live for Christ because it is not living in Christ.  

Takeaway: When we come to faith, we are given the Holy Spirit to indwell us, make us new creations. Jesus calls us to abide in Him, and the Spirit living inside us enables that. We have died with Christ and are now raised to life in Christ, which makes us complete in Christ. Paul’s point here is that because we are already complete in Christ, live in Christ! Focus your attention on Him rather than on the flesh. Follow Christ, and you will flee the flesh. But apart from Christ, if you simply flee the flesh, you will not escape the flesh.  

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