"Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." Colossians 2:16-17
We have just finished the Book of Colossians in our weekly Bible study. The book was written by Paul during his first imprisonment in Rome after he announced to the chief of the Jews:
"Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it." Acts 28:28
Just as the resurrection of Christ brought the New Covenant to the Jews and was a pill that was hard for them to swallow, the salvation of God (which had always been in the hands of the Jews; [John 4:22] being transferred to those who were once heathen was even a greater change.) The Jewish religion, which was steeped with all kinds of traditions, holy days, sabbath days, new moons, rituals and special diets were stopped and replaced by One Individual, Jesus Christ.
"Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but CHRIST IS ALL, AND IN ALL." Colossians 3:11 (caps mine)
Man is basically religious. He always worships something, even if it is himself. Every nation, every country, every state, every village and every tribe worships. They might worship a cloud, a totem pole, a rock or a picture, but they worship something. The most backward man understands some things are right and some things are wrong. Man also wants to have a part in his salvation…he wants to do something or refrain from doing something. The hardest thing for men to do is to simply trust Jesus Christ, His death, burial and resurrection, for their salvation. Man feels he must assist in some way in his salvation. If he cannot do that, he feels that when he is saved, then he must be responsible for staying saved. Under the law of Moses, men were accountable for "…meat…drink…respect of an holyday…new moon…sabbath days."
During Paul's ministry there were certain men (Pharisees who believed) from Judea who taught the saved Jews and Gentiles that "Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses ye cannot be saved" (Acts 15:1.) All the believers gathered at the home church in Jerusalem to discuss this matter and a great deal of debate and arguing ensued. James, the pastor of the Jerusalem church, issued this decree to the saved Gentiles:
"But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood." Acts 15:20
Not only was this the decision of the apostles and elders, but it also "seemed good to the Holy Ghost" (Acts 15:28.)
These four decrees were the last ties between Jews and Gentiles under the new covenant. Sabbath keeping and circumcision, the requirement for the Gentiles under the law, had become issues of the past in the church at Jerusalem. The observance of these four decrees met with approval from the "apostles of the Lamb" (Peter, James, John, etc.) and also with the new order of apostles (Paul, Barnabas, Silas.) Notice that the Jewish church at Jerusalem, along with all the Jewish leadership (James, Peter and Paul) that gave the edict regarding the four decrees. No Gentile had a vote or a voice.
After the salvation of God was sent to the Gentiles (Acts 28:28,) the Gentile, who had no covenants, no promises, no hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12,) did have Jesus Christ. Nothing else mattered. Jesus Christ, "by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:16-18)
He is the "Author and Finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2.) John said that He is "the Alpha and the Omega," "the Beginning and the End," "the First and the Last" (Revelation 22:13.)
Not only is Jesus Christ all that we have. He is all that we will ever need!
Keep Looking Up!