Legalism-Colossians 2:6-10

Colossians 2:6-10 “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.”

Colossesi 2:6-10 “Come dunque avete ricevuto Cristo Gesù, il Signore, così camminate in lui; 7 radicati ed edificati in lui, saldi nella fede, come vi è stata insegnata, e abbondando nel ringraziamento Guardate che nessuno faccia di voi sua preda con la filosofia e con vani raggiri secondo la tradizione degli uomini e gli elementi del mondo e non secondo Cristo; 9 perché in lui abita corporalmente tutta la pienezza della Deità; 10 e voi avete tutto pienamente in lui, che è il capo di ogni principato e di ogni potestà;”

     Last week we looked at the first deception that had tried to take the Colossian church captive: Gnosticism. Now the second deception they faced was that of legalism. What is legalism and what kind of legalism did they face? The term generally conveys the idea of a preoccupation with form at the expense of substance. It can occur in different ways but the Colossians were facing an attempt by some to return to the Old Testament legal system which Paul calls “human tradition” rather than depending upon Christ. The issue: Was salvation possible for Gentiles apart from observance of the law (e.g. circumcision)? The Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 affirmed that it was. Although the message resounded throughout the churches Paul founded, it was still difficult for the Jewish converts to accept this decision.

     Legalism still exists today although it comes to us in other ways. Instead of developing the heart and mind of the believer, sometimes people define what a believer is by what they wear or how holiness is characterized. All this can fall into “a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). It is still form over substance. We must remember that the substance is Christ and nothing else can save us.

Pray with me: Lord, I want grow solidly in the grace and knowledge of Jesus. Help me to serve You not because of legalistic forms but because I want to know You and Your guiding Word. 

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