Legalism’s Crippling Grip

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[As a help with this passage, I have shared a copy of one of my teaching charts that I use in our Bible Institute to help us understand the way the Word divides things. We could add all these items mentioned in the verses below plus many, many more. I just thought it might help.]

16So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths, 17which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.” Colossians 2:16-17 NKJV

The last few posts here have been about the glorious victory that we have as believers in Christ. It might be good to review those if a refresher is needed, before reading this post. Actually, these two verses are really a “therefore.” When we discover a “therefore,” we then need to know what was written previously and attach it to this section.

Since we have such overwhelming victory in Christ Jesus, “therefore,” or in this version “so,” do not let someone judge you about these various items. It is interesting to note that each of these items is something that the Old Covenant had rules and regulations about. Here, Paul, says they no longer apply, and in fact, they can lead us right back into rules, regulations, and how-to-do – all with emphasis on “do,” instead of into intimacy in Jesus with His emphasis of “be in me.”

Our favor (grace) is given to us freely as we have seen. We do not do anything but receive it! Our lifestyle will then reflect this gift as we “be” in Him. But that is done as a response and an empowering in Him, not a “do to receive.”

So many folks get hung up on this very thing. We embrace Him, and then get side-tracked with the multitudes of Christian teaching from our favorite teachers on “how to get closer” or “how to conquer” this that or the other. I am not negating the process we all go through in learning Christ and His heart. But we get so caught on “being like Him” that we try things “like Jesus did” – keep the Jewish festivals, Sabbaths, kosher laws, and a myriad of law empowered items. These actually hinder our life in Him, not enrich it.

None of that effort does anything in the Spirit. We have Jesus living inside of us – we literally cannot get any closer. We can become more focused on that reality, but not in the “if I spend more time doing this and so,” or reading the Bible, or praying, or and or and or. While much of that is important, it doesn’t create what is not already in existence. We are in His heart, and we are responding to His voice and His ways and His will, on the basis of relationship – not action.

The “Crippling Grip” is at every turn of the road and advocated by many beloved believers. Dear reader, let’s get to know Him through His presence, Word, and love. Then much of this will fall by the wayside, and we will discover that His gift is so sufficient. Talking with Him, fellowshipping through His Word, and enjoying today day in His heart, not as a legal requirement, but as an expression of our love and thankfulness – is quite sufficient to bless Him and release us into life over and over and over again.


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