If you have died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why do you subject yourself to man’s regulations of do not touch, do not taste, do not handle, only worship on this day, only wear this type of clothes, don’t wear makeup, etc?
Colossians 2:20-23 “20 Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-- 21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," 22 which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”
Verses 20-22 present a hard question which flies in the face of many Christians holding on to the doctrines of men called denominations. All of the rules and regulations, regarding our “can and can not’s”, are manmade and have not come from God. Since they came from man they came from man’s mind which is enmity to God, Romans 8:7, and therefore anti-Christ, Matthew 24:24. 1 John 3:23 – 4:3 is very clear that the only commandments for us today are to believe on the name of God’s Son Jesus, and to love one another as Jesus loves us. If we keep His commandments we abide in Him, and if we follow another doctrine with rules and regulations we are following after an antichrist. If we blend a mixture of the gospel of Jesus’ perfect work on the cross with any legalism, rules, regulations, or doctrines we are actually blending the gospel of Jesus with an antichrist. I wish I could make it softer than it is, but this is life threatening. This concept and understanding is at the crux of what Paul was confronting nearly 2000 years ago in both Galatians and Colossians, and the Devil has managed to keep it alive in the minds of spiritually weak men and women through the centuries. Many Christians fall prey to keeping up their godly appearances for other Christians and people in the world, over walking in Godly principles before their Lord. A person who confesses Jesus as their Lord and Savior with the full understanding that He died for their sins, rose again and now sits at the right hand of God, has on that belief died to their own sins. Romans 6:6, “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin”. Christians are spiritually brand new; it is our minds that need renewing daily and not our spirit. How can Christians having confessed Jesus as their Lord and Savior read these verses and count the blood of Jesus as “less than” and go back into don’t touch, don’t look, don’t listen, dress this way, say these things, worship on this day only, don’t do that, you must do this, etc, unless they have bought the deception of false teachings from the Devil delivered by a preacher. We are called to walk by faith and not by sight, (2 Corinthians 5:7). In Galatians 2:20 Paul states, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” This “live by faith” Paul has mentioned is the faith that if I stumble into sin, Christ has paid the price for and the Devil cannot hold it against me to keep me from God. If the Devil can no longer hold you’re stumbling into sin against you, why are you allowing a man or man’s doctrine to do the same? Why do Christians strive to maintain their appearance of righteousness, instead of resting in Jesus’ righteousness? In fact Christians stumble into sin because of the law, but the power of God’s grace will help them live in His presence and absent from the call of sin. Christians striving to maintain an appearance of righteousness are actually putting on a show to the world around them about how righteous they “think” they are. It is all about show! There is not another price to be paid, it’s done! If you stumble all you have to do is get back up and keep walking in the faith of our Lord Jesus and trust in His love for you and stop leaning on your own works. If fact the more you lean on works the more likely you will fall into sinful actions, but if you are leaning on Jesus where do you think you will fall; into His arms.
Indulgence of the flesh is the primary reason man falls into a “works” mentality or lifestyle in effort to be godly; this will not work, even a little. If there is even the tiniest remote possibility that a person on their own can abstain from sin and thereby make themselves worthy of being in the presence of God, then Jesus died in vain and the Law of Moses would have not been replaced. Is it good to learn and practice godly habits as a Christian, yes? Will practicing Godly habits increase your faith, no? Hearing the word of God, (Romans 10:17) and looking into Jesus through studying the word of God, (Hebrews 12:2) coupled with the Holy Spirit revealing the word of God to you, (John 14:26) is the only way to increase your faith. In fact we do not need more faith, we need less doubt in our lives and sin and legalism both breed doubt. The more you learn of how much God loves you; that increase of understanding will strengthen you the next time sin tries to entice you.
I believe Christians continue to stumble and even stay in sin because they do not have the full understanding in their hearts regarding what God has done for them or the price Jesus has paid for their sins. This is nothing more than sheer spiritual ignorance which can be overcome. Living by harsh rules in effort to destroy the power of sin over oneself only increases the sin consciousness and thereby increases the strength of sin over the flesh, (1 Corinthians 15:56). Constantly looking at what you do, and do not want to do in effort to not do it, only keeps you focused on what you do not want to do and interferes with your focused on Jesus. This is summed up best through Romans 8:5-8, “5 For those who live according to the flesh (sin consciousness) set their minds on the things of the flesh (how to overcome their sin), but those who live according to the Spirit (walking by faith), the things of the Spirit (Jesus Christ and Him crucified). 6 For to be carnally minded (thinking of things in the natural) is death, but to be spiritually minded (meditating on the things of God) is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh (working out their own salvation in their minds and living by their harsh rules) cannot please God. 9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. (Emphasis in bold are mine)
With God all things are possible, but I do not know how a Christian can live in the spirit without having the Holy Spirit present and allowing Him to be active in their lives. I tried for the first ten years of my born again life while attending a denomination church that did not teach about the Holy Spirit. Teaching about the Trinity and not including the power of the Holy Spirit is like trying to ride a tricycle without the front wheel. It can be done, but the rider has to stay perfectly balanced in a wheelie and constantly peddle to maintain. Where is the rest in Jesus while in that state? That is the reason works appear to be the easier way to righteousness over walking by faith because works gives you something to do, but God simply wants you to “be” in Christ Jesus.
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