Colossians was written by the Apostle Paul because the Colossian church was deluded and confused by heretical teachings. The teachings of heresy extend in many directions. This time it will be more about the details. Last time, I wrote about the big points (reference: https://canaan.blog/victory-over-the-devil ). What are the characteristics of heresy in modern times? I said there are two. One is to deny that the Bible alone is canonical, and to have a book that is more authoritative than its own Bible. The other is to deny the Trinity (God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit), especially the divinity of the Lord Jesus. In these confusing times, we must beware of Christian heresies. The outside looks like Christianity, so it’s easy to be deceived.
Then, titled “Victory Over Satan,” we saw the “armor of God” that God has given us to overcome Satan in spiritual warfare. Right now, even at this very moment, there is a spiritual battle going on in the unseen world. Satan is working, of course God is at work. All we need to stand up to the Satan’s schemes is the “Armor of God.” No one goes into battle empty-handed. We too need the armor of God. God has provided seven weapons. The belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit, and prayer.
Now let’s get to today’s point. The heretical teachings that infiltrated the Church of Colossae appear to have been ascetic. Food regulations, etc. (verse 16). However, I think that this alone cannot be called heresy. But when there is a deviation on two points (non-biblical authority, denial of the Trinity), in many cases heretical teachings tend to diverge on other points as well.
16 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. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 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. 19 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. 20 Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (Colossians 2:16-23)
It is a teaching to strictly follow the rules regarding food and drink. It appears in Leviticus chapter 11 of the Old Testament. Clean animals that can be eaten, unclean animals that cannot be eaten. Some churches have this kind of regularity even in modern times. It’s like don’t eat this meat, don’t drink this alcohol. How did Jesus teach? All food was made clean (Mark 7:19). This is no good, that is no good. No, this is okay, that is okay.
When food is excreted, it is finished, but what enters the mind has a long-term effect (Mark 7:20-23). Jesus teaches that the inner rules of the heart are more important than the outer rules. Connecting to Jesus Christ is far more important than a restraining order against doing. What did the apostle Paul think? Romans 14:5,6 says: Some people think that some days are more important than others, while others think that they are all the same. Let each be sure in his own heart. Those who keep it for the Lord. Those who eat for the Lord. Because I thank God. Those who do not eat thank God for not eating for the Lord’s sake. Paul taught that when it comes to matters that are not fundamental to faith, each of us should walk where we are sure.
So are festivals. The Jews observed Passover, Pentecost, and Sukkot. What Paul is saying here is that they are shadows and the substance is in Christ (v. 17). With the coming of the real Jesus Christ, those things became a thing of the past. So why not study the Old Testament? That’s not true. The Old Testament, like the New Testament, is the Word of God. The difference with the New Testament is that the Old Testament is a shadow, a type. Through the stories and characters of the Old Testament, we can see Jesus Christ more clearly and vividly. For example, father Abraham sacrificed son Isaac. Here we see God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. A father gives his son. This description makes the cross more vividly approach us.
We must not be bound by legalism. We are set free by the gospel. However, even in the modern church, there are people who lead cramped and inconvenient Christian lives because of legalism. At the other end of heresy is the orthodox doctrine, the gospel. It is the cross and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Jesus came not to abolish the law or the prophets, but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17).
The gospel sets us free. Then, of course, it doesn’t mean that we can do whatever we like, or that we can commit sins. But the truth sets us free. We are set free through Jesus Christ who is the truth. We are called by God to be free. Galatians 5:1 says, Christ has set us free for our freedom. Therefore, stand firm, lest you again bear the yoke of slavery.
How does the devil first try to keep us from the truth? By the philosophy of deception. Verse 8 tells us to beware of the “philosophy of deception.” Beware of the knowledge-centered & anthropocentrist Greek philosophy, Paul wrote. True knowledge, true wisdom is in Jesus Christ (2:3). In modern times, it would be secular humanism. We have to pay close attention to them. It is an idea that is constantly being circulated through the mainstream media of the world. Focus on what we can see above all else. Deny the invisible God. Materialism, excessive money-seeking, God-excluded anthropocentrism.
And it teaches that people are saved by “good works” and that God’s salvation is not necessary. physical suffering, etc. The Reformer Martin Luther was an exemplary monk, superior to other monks in his deeds alone. But he had no peace, no freedom, no joy. In the monasteries, Luther takes prayer and Bible study very seriously, fasts, and a pure life. As a result, as early as two years later he was ordained a priest and began to celebrate Mass. However, although he had lived an impeccable monastic life, he looked inwardly and became depressed and suffered from sin before God. He struggled because he didn’t have the assurance that he had received forgiveness. He struggled to overcome sin by his own strength without Christ.
Despite this, Luther did well in his studies, and at the age of 29 he became a doctor of theology, and from the following year he began teaching the Old Testament as a Bible professor, and three years later he was in charge of the New Testament. And in his lecture on “Romans,” Luther ponders the “righteousness of God,” which has long made him uneasy.
Martin Luther (1483-1546)
What baffled Luther was the Word of the Bible, ” In the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed ” (Romans 1:17). Because it contradicted Luther’s experience. For Luther, “God’s righteousness” meant that the more he tried to fulfill it, the more he was tormented by the culmination of his own sinful nature. However, he noticed the Word of the Bible that follow, “The righteous shall live by faith ” (Romans 1:17). A righteous person is not a person who lives by his own righteousness, but a person who lives by faith, in other words, a person who lives in gratitude for God’s recognition of his righteousness. By the grace of God, Luther realizes the “righteousness of God” already provided by the cross of Jesus Christ. When he correctly understood the “righteousness of God” revealed in the Gospel, the problem of sin that had afflicted him was resolved and he could rejoice in his complete salvation. He had already rediscovered the gospel that he had revealed in the Bible (Paul’s letters). This is the great gospel, this gospel is the power of God. Contrary to the corrupt Catholic Church and the Pope’s teachings at the time, Luther protested that “salvation is not by works, but only by faith.” Reform has happened.
Some people realize that the visible things are unreliable, and some people try to turn their eyes to the invisible things, God. How will the devil work then? He tries to lead us to false spirits. Angel Worship, etc. (verse 18). Only God and Jesus should be worshiped. It would be nice if people who were not satisfied with material things turned to the true God, but unfortunately in Japan, many people turn to the wrong spiritual world. The Apostle John wrote. loved ones. Do not believe in all spirits. See if those spirits are from God. Because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). Not all spirits are good. There are many things that come from false spirits, evil spirits.
False visions, deviations from Scripture, lead people away from God and Jesus. Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, and the Old Unification Church, which are said to be the three major heresies, are exactly the same. It comes from the wrong spirit. This is evident in heretical teachings. After all, they deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. The outside uses the words church, Christian, and Bible, but they are completely out of line. And they try to scare the believers. And what happens? It becomes inconvenient. Heretical teachings cripple and enslave people instead of giving them freedom.
Modern people think they are wise (v. 23). It’s the same now as it was in the past. It was the same with Adam. The fruit of the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil” looked clever. And they mistakenly thought that they could become like God, and they sinned. We can judge right and wrong by ourselves, we don’t need God. But these philosophies, morals, ethics and religions cannot free man from sin. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ can set man free. Through the cross of Jesus, sins are forgiven and freed from guilt.
We can be free in Jesus Christ. have already been set free. Do not be crippled or enslaved by various things. From what have we been set free by Jesus Christ?
① Free from sin, guilt, and failure. Debts, unpayable sin debts were shredded. Jesus Christ paid all our debts on the cross.
②Free from inferiority complex. Free ourself from comparing ourself to others. No need to compare ourself to others. We are loved by God and created as unique beings. Nor do we need to be crippled by the pressure of others. It is important for each of us to live the mission that God has given us.
③ Free from death. Freedom from the fear of death. Because the Lord Jesus overcame death and rose again. Those who believe in Jesus Christ are given resurrection life, life overcoming death, and eternal life.
④ Free from the control of the devil. We have escaped from the rule of the devil, the gods of this world. and was transferred to the rule of God. We made a spiritual exodus. Once we have managed to escape, don’t let ourself be pulled back into this world (the world of sin) and the devil.
Let’s stay in “freedom in Christ.”