Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:…
Remembering the evils in the Church at Colossal, namely, the ceremonialism, the asceticism, the appeal to angelic mediators, and at the same time recalling the theme of the paragraph preceding the verses now before us, the complete sufficiency of Christ as man's Mediator, nature's Lord and Consecrator, and the soul's Deliverer from bondage to ceremonies, we are prepared to notice the result of Christ's work for man and over man, as here suggested, and to consider the great theme of Christian independence.
I. THAT CHRISTIAN INDEPENDENCE IS A FREEDOM FROM THE BONDAGE OF CEREMONY AND OF SUPERSTITION. The sixteenth verse suggests what ceremony may bind men; the eighteenth what superstition may enslave them. We notice the Christian's independence:
1. From the bondage of ceremonialism. The form of this bondage varies, but its spirit continues. The form of bondage in those days was
(1) bondage as to food. There were restrictions as to meat and drink, which were rigid as any moral code. They were mostly Jewish, and had wrongly been inserted in the Christian system.
(2) Bondage as to days. These were also mostly Jewish anniversaries, or monthly or weekly celebrations. The claim of their observance was so punctilious as to be a sore bondage. From both of these the Spirit of Christ frees men. As to meats, "nothing was common or unclean;" as to days, the shadow thrown in advance had given way to the substance.
2. From the bondage of superstition. A heathen superstition had intruded in the form of the worship of angels, which led to "a voluntary humility," that is, to an artificial, self-conscious affectation of humility, leading to the prostration of men before imaginary superior beings. From this parade of humility and morbidly fostered prostration Christ delivers by bringing each soul into conscious relationship with the Highest. That lofty relationship enjoyed, there will be no cringing before any who are inferior to him.
II. THAT FALSE TEACHERS SEEK TO DEPRIVE MEN OF THIS INDEPENDENCE. So they did in Paul's day, and so they do now. They "beguile" men, trip them up in the race, and hinder their attaining the prize. Two sets of false teachers so beguile men.
1. The sentimentalist - those who foster among their adherents a pietism under the name of unworldliness.
2. The sacerdotalist - those who exercise over their followers a priestism that makes the man a slave of the institution, instead of the institution being a servant of the man.
III. THAT CHRISTIAN INDEPENDENCE IS DERIVED FROM AND NOURISHED BY UNION WITH CHRIST.
1. The right relationship with Christ gives independence because of the strength flowing from union with the Head, the Source of all power and control.
2. This right union with Christ gives independence because it involves healthy relationship to the body, i.e. all fellow Christians. There is none of the ruptured relationship with Christ or the Church that some count liberty, but which is really only licence. There is rather the being healthily and perfectly united to Christ and to the Church by the ligaments of loving relationship - ligaments these that hold all together and hold all to Christ, and give him the complete control of all. Each soul has liberty, just as the limbs of a healthy man have free play. Moreover, such a soul grows with the growth of God. - U. R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: