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. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 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. 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.
Remember that we left off with God’s triumph over the law, the authorities and powers at the cross, and now we draw some conclusions. Since we are newly alive in Christ, have died to sin and have our sins forgiven, and since we have the fullness of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we are not to allow people to criticize us for what we eat, drink, or observe, as they might have done under the Law.
Pay careful attention to verse 17: These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. All of these festivals, customs and regulations were at best but a shadow of what was to come in Christ, and we often miss that fact. Many elements found in the Old Testament are like that, but we want to focus on them… and that includes the Temple itself, according to the author of Hebrews. Jesus is the reality, and all the old forms were a mere shadow of what He would bring us, and He has now brought us the reality.
In verse 19, Paul refers to the kinds of people who are always critical of a person who has found the liberty that is in Christ. They are puffed up, falsely humble, etc., etc. At the end of this brief passage comes the part that will really give us insight about this sort of thing. People who are hanging on to the forms of religion and seeking to impose them on their brother or sister have sadly been cut off from the Head of the Body. Since we know that Christ is the Head, these poor folks who seek to impose rules are not growing with the Body, being cut off. Maybe God has put them in our path so that we can help them get back in touch with the Head.
Oh, that would bring us back to the concept of relationship, love, serving and making disciples, wouldn’t it?
Yes dear reader, most lessons come right back to that.
In Zechariah’s speech after John was born, he said, “Light has come to the shadow of death.” Always loved that.
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