Being a follower of Christ does not immunize us to the constant pounding of the world’s philosophies or new normals. If we are not hearing this on the tv then we are surely reading it online, in magazines, in newspapers and hearing it from those around us. We shouldn’t be surprised or shocked. The Bible warns us that as time draws close to Christ’s return we will see sin and destruction abound. We surely are seeing it now.
Though it may from time to time upset us, we can take heart knowing that the Word of God told us these things would happen. We can put confidence in the One who knows the beginning from the end. Through Christ and the prophets, God gave us the heads up of what is to come and therefore we know He wins! Christ is returning for His church, a church of which the gates of Hell shall not prevail! That’s pretty awesome news!
When we see this world of ours grow darker in sin and vain philosophies and when we see natural disasters increase in frequency, we can rest knowing that He is still in control. He warned us that these things would happen before His return. So how are we to respond to what we are hearing and seeing? Are we to try and legislate the gospel by becoming more legalistic? Are we to just accept the new normals, philosophies and lifestyles that go against the Word of God?
Apostle Paul gives us the answer in his Epistle to the Colossians in chapter 2.
Colossians 2 NKJV
2 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh, 2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
4 Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. 5 For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.
6 As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.
8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths,17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. 18 Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.
20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion,false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
This chapter shows Paul’s knowledge of the human heart. He knew that our most natural response to spiritual oppression from the world is to either become accepting of it, or to become legalistic against it. Neither are correct! He makes clear that Jesus Christ is to be the focus of our response! We are to remember that it was through Him we are saved and it is through His defeating sin and death on the cross that we are free! We are to stand firm in what Christ has done for us! We are not to veer from the gospel of truth.
We are to stay rooted in the truth of the gospel of Christ, knowing we have been made complete in HIM. Not by the law, not by vain philosophies but by Jesus Christ alone, who is the head of all principality and power.
We will never combat the sin of the world with legalism. It is only through the power of Christ that anyone will be free. 20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— 21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”22 which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion,false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
This is such a practical word for our day. Too often, we the church, react with either acceptance or legalism to the ways of the world. Paul tells us neither are the correct response. We are to remember that Christ and Christ alone has saved us and freed us! It will take Christ and Christ alone to save others. Legalism will not change their behavior and acceptance will only encourage sin. Our response is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with those who need Him. To stand firm in the uncompromising truth of the gospel, not being rocked to and fro. To remember that trying to enforce holiness through works won’t cut it and to rest in the knowledge that in Him dwells all the fullness of the God and we are complete in HIM.
Lord, please forgive us for being accepting of things we know displease you. Forgive us for being caught up in things that draw us away from You. We know You alone can save us and You alone can change us. If we slide into legalism, draw us out. Forgive us for trying to replace You with a set of rules. Help us to live in the truth of the gospel, knowing that You and You alone are Savior, deliverer and the One we can trust in. Keep us close to You Jesus as we wait for Your return. In Your precious name, Amen.