In the first chapter of Colossians Paul was laying a foundation of the supremacy of Christ. Paul continues to combat the false teaching that was influencing the church in Colosse by getting them focused on Jesus and having a clear identity in Christ. God ultimately wants us to grow in the fullness of Christ. The enemy will always try to derail us, but Paul helps through this letter to resist the enemy by having a clear identity Christ.
I. What does it mean to grow in our Faith?
Colossians 2:6-10: And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
Rooted is in the past tense, implying their first conversion and vital grafting “in Him.” Built up is present (in the original Greek), implying their progressive increase in faith by union with Him.
Progress in faith consists of deepening, not discarding, the basic truth about Christ. What the false teachers call enlightenment, liberating Christianity, Paul terms basic principles of this world. The Elements of the world are actually evil spirits that use the rituals of the Law to enslave and condemn. The only way we will go deeper in Christ is simply through hearing His voice and doing what He tells us to do.
Colossians 2:9-10: For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
This can’t get any clearer than this verse. The fullness of God is in Christ. We must pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus so that we can walk in the fullness of God.
II. How to walk in the identity of Christ
Colossians 2:11-15: When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
The Old Covenant was based on our own efforts of righteousness. Outward appearances and rituals, for example. Christ dealt with our sin nature through the cross. He circumcised our hearts and broke the power of sin in our lives. We were dead because of sin, but now we are alive with Christ.
How are we alive with Christ?
Verse 14: Handwriting - A word commonly used when monetary obligation was acknowledged by a debtor. It means a signed confession of indebtedness (an IOU or a self confessed indictment).
The Jewish people believed that their sins were forgiven when they repented; records of sins would be blotted out on the annual Day of Atonement. Paul says atonement occurred when the debt was nailed to the cross in Christ and thus paid. Since our debts are paid and we are without fault, the enemy has no ammo to hurl at those in Christ.
Verse 15: The cross devastated principalities and powers of the uncontested rule and authority over redeemed people who live under Christ’s lordship. The fact that He made a public spectacle of them affirms that they are not annihilated, but that their authority has been curbed. Satan is the accuser. His goal is to make you feel unworthy.
III. Am I giving in to the enemy?
Colossians 2:16-23: So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
Paul urges the Colossians to resist legalism, angel worship and asceticism that was being forced upon them by false teachers. Such exercises deny Christ’s supremacy and sufficiency, rob Christians of their liberty, and are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.
We give the enemy power over us. He is going to put ungodly thoughts in our minds. He is going to remind us of past sins. His goal is to make us feel unworthy or to get us to earn what has been freely given to us. We can’t add anything to the work of the cross.
You have died with Christ and He has set you free from the powers of this world. Don’t get tied up in the self-serving teaching. Pursue Jesus and do what He did.
God wants us to walk in the fullness of Jesus. There is so much more to God than what we are experiencing right now. We are never going to get there if we are not firm in our identity in Christ. It’s more than reading the Bible or other Christian books. I have read more than I ever have since moving to Sioux Falls. God wants to give us a deeper revelation of truth and that can only come through intimacy with Jesus.
Fasting is a great way to grow, but even that can become something it is not. Go after Jesus, not just what He can do for you. Listen to His voice and do what He tells us to do. See what happens! I guarantee we will never be the same.