What Does Colossians 2:22 Mean?

All these [regulations] refer to what is destroyed by being used up; they are human commands and doctrines.

Colossians 2:22(HCSB)

Verse Thoughts

There are many appealing philosophies; human commands; Jewish procedures and aesthetic practices that can deceive a believer into wrong thinking and cause them to adopt unbiblical ways, particularly with regard to food and drink; customs like circumcision; a fascination with angels; visions and feelings or the requirement to adopt sabbath-day rules or the mandatory participation in feast days.

However, Paul warns us that these are not things that make us better Christians or develops spirituality. He counsels us not to be tricked into adopting them as a barometer for spiritual maturity, which can only be found in Christ. He is the Head of the Body, which is the Church, and it is thorough Him we are nourished and knit together as we grow in grace and in a knowledge of our Lord and Saviour.

Paul warns that such rites, rules, rituals and regulations are human commands; man-made doctrines and deceptive arguments, designed by the enemy to neutralise our faith; entice us away from the truth of the glorious gospel of grace; destroy our testimony and dishonour the Lord Jesus. They are simply a shadow of what was to come - a schoolmaster to point us to Jesus Christ, Who is the substance of all things

Rather than being the means towards spiritual maturity and a closer walk with God, man-made procedures and practices, like "do not touch" and  "do not taste", together with the worship of angels; obligatory attendance at certain festivals; Sabbath days rules or new moons regulations are legalistic practices that will only place us back in bondage.

Paul had already made it clear, in this passage that such activities are worldly philosophies, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not founded on Christ, Who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. He explains the only way to attain spiritual maturity is through faith - first:- being justified by grace through faith in Christ and second:- by living a sanctified life of faith in Christ, day by day - through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Although there is nothing necessarily wrong or sinful when participating in certain ceremonies or eating particular foods, the problem arises when a believer thinks religious rules and regulation must be added to our initial salvation, or the process of sanctification - where we are conformed day by day into the image and likeness of Christ, through the power of the indwelling Spirit.

There is nothing wrong with the Law. Indeed, the Law of the Lord is perfect and was given by God to Moses, but any law, whether man-made or given by God to Israel, cannot bring us to perfection, which comes by faith in Christ alone. The Law was given as a means to identify man's sin - not as the ways to forgive man's sin, which is through faith in Christ alone.

Reconciliation is an accomplished fact, not something that needs to be added to. The Lord Jesus effected reconciliation through His death on the cross, when He shed His human life-blood for us, and NOTHING can be added to His finished work of reconciliation. NONE of the religious rules and regulations; appealing philosophies; human commands; Jewish procedures or aesthetic practices, however appealing, can be added to Christ's finished work - for they are nothing more than human commands and doctrines, and irrelevant to our salvation.

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, Thank You for the ministry and epistles of Paul and for the many truths that I can learn, when I have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart that is willing to learn. Keep me from getting deceived by any appealing philosophies; human commands or religious procedures which I realise can so easily pull me into  legalistic practices. Thank You that reconciliation with God is an accomplished fact, and that nothing needs to be added to my faith in Him for the forgiveness of sins - thank You in Jesus' name, AMEN.

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