The trappings of religion – Impressive priestly garb, prescribed and esoteric ceremonies, exquisite and ornate temples, rigorous food restrictions, and religious holy days – all of it impressive, but ineffective in fundamentally transforming people’s lives!
That’s the inspired message Apostle Paul communicated to the Colossian believers… and its the message we need to hear and heed today! Here’s what Paul said in Colossians 2:16-23…
“LET NO ONE PASS JUDGMENT ON YOU in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. LET NO ONE DISQUALIFY YOU, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, WHY, as if you were still alive in the world, DO YOU SUBMIT TO REGULATIONS — “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used) — ACCORDING TO HUMAN PRECEPTS AND TEACHINGS? THESE HAVE INDEED AN APPEARANCE OF WISDOM IN PROMOTING SELF-MADE RELIGION AND ASCETICISM AND SEVERITY TO THE BODY, BUT THEY ARE OF NO VALUE IN STOPPING THE INDULGENCE OF THE FLESH”
Bottom line, the only thing that will fundamentally and effectively transform a life is full identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus! He is the One that has the power to liberate and transform a life from the power of Satan and sin! Everything else is just deceptive and distracting trappings! (Read the very next passage – Colossians 3:1-17! I sneaked a peek this morning and found myself rejoicing in what Christ has provided!)
So here’s the deal… Christ is the answer! His death, burial and resurrection – embraced in faith – is sufficient! He has the power to liberate from sin and transform your life and mine! Hey, it works (and the change is not simply cosmetic)!