Colossians 2 - Steve Wiggins Daily Devotional
“If you died with Messiah to the elemental forces of this world, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations: “Don’t handle, don’t taste, don’t touch”? All these things refer to what is destroyed by being used; they are human commands and doctrines. Although they have a reputation of wisdom by promoting ascetic practices, humility, and severe treatment of the body, they are not of any value against fleshly indulgence.” Colossians 2:20-23
Paul begins (what we know as) this second chapter by encouraging the Colossians to pass his letter on to the Messianic congregation at Laodicea. Interesting, the congregation at Laodicea has become synonymous with “lukewarm-ness”.
“I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth.” Revelation 3:15-16
We are aware, from Paul’s previous letters, that there were groups of false apostles whom Paul called “Judaizers”. At least one of these groups came from the heart of James’ Jerusalem congregation. The Judaizers were traveling about, telling Gentiles they had to convert to Judaism before they could accept Yeshua. It is speculated by some theologians that the Judaizers were, themselves, Gentiles who had converted to Judaism. This made their testimony all the more powerful among other Gentiles, and no doubt prompted Paul to underscore that he was “born a Jew” in Philippians 3.
By nature, most people would rather seek a compromise than take a stand. It is the underlying reason for the emergence of the “Tea Party” movement n American politics. Taking a stand means declaring absolutes, and possibly polarizing people. Our “post modern” culture rejects the notion of absolutes, so “not offending” has become the goal.
The Apostle Paul, on the other hand, was willing to go the extreme for his convictions. His convictions went beyond some personal preference, or natural bent towards extremism. Paul believed in G_d, and his foundation for belief was the Bible, matched with a personal saving relationship with Yeshua.
The problem with the church at Laodicea was that they tried balancing Paul’s “extremism” with that of the Judaizers. Their compromise, garnered them a Yeshua-themed paganism, which wasn’t true religion at all. It overlooked certain sins, which G_d would never allow, and it placed emphasis on disciplines G_d never commanded.
Any religion worth hanging your eternal “hat” on had better be true. And if it’s true, then it should be able to be defended. If it can be defended, then it must come from a list of absolutes. And if those absolutes come from anywhere other than G_d’s Word, they may have a reputation of wisdom, but they deny the power of G_d’s Spirit, given to all true believers, to enable them to discern the Bible’s truth, resist temptation and build His Kingdom. That’s exactly why we read His Word everyday. To know, live and share it!
~Steve Wiggins, Associate Leader, Worship Leader
Daily Devotional, Wednesday, October 16, 2013