Thursday, September 27, 2012
Continuing the theme that Christ is the center of all things, Paul addresses the false teachers in Collosae by pointing out that what they are teaching is not necessary. In 6-7 we learn that in Christ is the fullness of life. I remember that great passage in John 6 where many of Jesus disciples have deserted him and he turns to the 12 and asks if they are going also and they reply -- where would we go, you have the words of eternal life. This is the argument Paul is using against the false teachers. Christianity is not a philosophy nor is it a set of rules and regulations or religious behavior -- Christianity, at its heart and core, is a relationship. Because this relationship with God through Jesus Christ is at the core all of the rules about "handle not, taste not, touch not (21)" are irrelevant. Likewise, the regulations of Sabbaths, festivals, new moons, etc. (16) also become trivial. The only thing that matters is the spiritual circumcision (11) that is our baptism -- the symbol of our newly entered relationship, that marks us and seals us as followers of Jesus. Paul argues that these apparent "religious" behaviors, have the form of godliness (promoting self imposed piety -- 23) but completely miss the point and the relationship and, in the final analysis don't accomplish what they are said to accomplish -- that is they are "of no value in checking self indulgence (23)."