What Does Colossians 2:20 Mean?

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as,

Colossians 2:20(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

Every member of the human race is connected to Adam by birth. All are imputed with a sin nature and the wages of sin is death. As members of the first, fallen creation we are all irrevocably identified with Adam and the eternal consequences of his rebellious fall.

Through spiritual rebirth, however, we are immutably connected to Christ and imputed with His perfect righteousness. Our sins have been forgiven by faith, and our eternal citizenship is secured for us in heaven. The moment we were saved we were transferred into the body of Christ and became members of a new creation in Him. Today we are permanently identified with all that He is and all that He has done, through time and into eternity.

As members of His body we are to hold fast to Christ, our living Head, and draw all the strength we need from Him. His death on the cross separated, forever, those that trust in His Person and Work. His grace is sufficient for every eventuality we may face. His resurrection from the dead imputes His resurrected life into those that are His - for His eternal life is a free gift of God's grace, through faith in Him.

As individual members of His body, every believer is identified with His death, for Jesus went to the cross on our behalf. His death became our death and His resurrected life became our life. His deathless life became our everlasting and abundant life. By faith we are forgiven of our sins and identified with His perfect righteousness. By faith we transferred our allegiance from Satan, our citizenship of this fallen world system and the punishment that follows, into the kingdom of God and the glorious future we have in Him.

But the influence of the world is very strong and religious formality resides deep in the heart of all humanity. Participation in man-made rules and regulations and adherence to legalistic practices combine with men's imputed sin nature, causing many believers to be pulled back into worldly ways and revert to the basic rudiments of this world's religious systems. But Paul scolds such shallow resolve in our Christian commitment. 

If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why are you living like the world? is Paul's challenge to each of us. Why do you submit to regulations such as "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?  he continues. Paul is pointing out that because we are "born-again" and "in-Christ", we are dead to prideful principles, man-made customs and religious practices of the world. 

We are called to examine our lives and ask: "WHY am I living as though I am still part of the world? WHY am I still behaving as if I am a member of this world's system? Why am I continuing to adhere to worldly practices and religious ordinances?"

Religion is the false gospel the world has adopted to save itself. Religion is man's attempt to save himself without being accountable to God. It is adherence to man-made rules and regulations, but faith in Christ is the only way that God ordained for man to live.

As members of Christ's body, it is by His grace we are saved - through faith in Christ, and it is also by grace through faith in Him that we are to continue to live our lives. May we live each day through faith in the Person and work of Christ Jesus, our God and Saviour.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me to reject the basic principles and religious practises of the world, that are so strong in the heart of fallen man. Thank You for reminding me, once again, that by faith I died with Christ and my life is hid with Christ, in God. May I never forget that I am no longer part of this fallen world system, but a citizen of heaven and identified with Christ's righteousness. Keep me from being influenced by the elementary principles and practices of this fallen world and may I live in a way that demonstrates that I am part of the new creation in Christ, and one with Him, in thought, word and deed. This I ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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