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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

“All Authority”

Col. 2:16-23

 

Paul now expands on the freedom we have in Christ.  The Pharisees with their overly zealous view of the law were quick to condemn anyone who did not follow their same rigid standard (Matt. 15:1-9).  Paul speaks of those who would condemn others in everything from food and drink (alcohol?) to religious observances.  There is a danger here of being “puffed up” by a human way of thinking.

There are two dangers here.  First, there is “self-abasement” which Paul concedes has the dubious advantage of “promoting self-imposed piety” which quickly leads to “self-indulgence.”  Paul accepts no rule for the Christian life except the rule of love (Rom. 13:9-10).    He further states that he is convinced that nothing is wrong (or in Jewish terms, “unclean”) in itself.  He further states that “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving” (I Tim. 4:4).   Second, Paul adds that the primary reason for refraining from indulging in practices that are not the obvious “works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21) is the concern for weaker believers who may not be ready or able to experience their full freedom in Christ (I Cor. 8).  A recovering alcoholic may be offended by seeing other Christians indulge in drinking.

Paul calls us to stand firm in the freedom we have in Christ (Gal. 5:1).  The rule of love is a very broad one.  Christianity throughout its history has suffered from a condemning legalism.  This turns many people away from the gospel.  Freedom is not to be used for self- indulgence.  Yet freedom is still truly free (John 8: 36).

Gracious and loving Lord, may I live in the freedom you have given me to enjoy with thanksgiving all that is part of your creation.  Give me the grace to act in love especially with others who may not yet be ready for the full freedom you provide.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.