The Superiority of Christ to Legalism – Colossians 2:16-17

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Pastor Scott L. Harris

Grace Bible Church, NY

October 3, 2010

The Superiority of Christ to Legalism
Colossians 2:16-17


Epaphras and reported to Paul about clear and present dangers facing the church in Colossae. The result was Paul’s letter to the Colossians to commend them for their response to the gospel and present faithfulness, but to also warn them of the dangers that were present due to those among them that were advocating false doctrine. In the first part of Colossians 2 Paul gave general warnings. He did not want them to be deluded with persuasive argument (Colossians 2:4). False logic and skilled speech can cause confusion and even sway some to wrong belief and practice. The defense against that was to walk in Christ just as they had received Him, for the Lord had firmly rooted them in the faith and was building them up and establishing that faith even deeper so that they could respond with overflowing gratitude (Colossians 2:6-7) (See: The Superiority of Walking in Christ).

Paul also warned them about being taken captive, being carried away as booty, by empty and deceptive philosophy which was rooted in the tradition of men and the elementary principles of this world (Colossians 1:8. – See: Avoiding Capture by Philosophy). The defense against this was to be captured by Christ who is superior in every way. Jesus is superior in His nature, His work in the believer, His position and He gives to the believer a superior circumcision, baptism, life and victory. We examined each of those in some detail last week. (See: The Superiority of Being in Christ).

Jesus is superior in position because the full measure of the essence of deity dwells in Him permanently. He is both fully God and fully man. He is superior in His work in the believer because we are made complete in Him. He has redeemed us, forgiven us our sins, reconciled us to the Father and supplies all we need to become godly though His divine power and precious and magnificent promises. He is superior in position being the head over all rule and authority. He provides a circumcision superior to that given Abraham because He circumcises the heart as part of the new covenant. His baptism is superior since it is the baptism with the spirit and fire that makes us part of His body, the church. Jesus provides a superior life making us alive together with Him though we had been dead in our sins. He has forgiven all our transgressions having paid the penalty of them and satisfying the decrees against us when He died as the atoning sacrifice on the cross. And finally, Jesus is superior because He has triumphed over the devil and death giving us a hope for the present and an eternal future with Him.

This morning we are going to start examining the specific warnings Paul gives to the Colossians at the end of chapter 2. It is from these specific warnings that we know what three types of false doctrine were being taught there – legalism, asceticism and mysticism. This morning we are going to concentrate on the legalism, but please follow along as I read the entire section in Colossians 2:16-23 to set the context.

16 Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day– 17 things which are a [mere] shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on [visions] he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

20 If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, 21 “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!” 22 (which all [refer to] things destined to perish with the using)– in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? 23 These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, [but are] of no value against fleshly indulgence.

License and Legalism

There have always been two great errors that have occurred in the church which are at opposite extremes from each other. One is legalism and the other is licentiousness. One places all sorts of restrictions on conduct while the other removes those restrictions. Legalism focuses on keeping law as a means to godliness while licentiousness rejects law believing they have spiritual license for the things they practice. Both claim to be the expression of true spirituality, but the reality is that both are poor substitutes for true spirituality often leading to blatant sin.

Licentiousness. The rise of Gnostic thought increased the practice of licentiousness because in making a dichotomy between the material and spiritual, there were those that reasoned that since the material was evil by nature and could not be changed, then it did not matter what you did physically. They viewed salvation in Christ as only a spiritual issue with little to no effect on behavior. The apostle John corrected this error stating in 1 John 3:9-10, “No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.”

An error that developed among the Corinthians resulted in them living in licentiousness. They became spiritually proud thinking that they had all spiritual gifts and were living spiritual lives even though their church had developed many factions and some of their practices were blatantly sinful. Paul had to correct their practices and explain the true nature of spirituality in 1 Corinthians 12-14 is expressed in godly love for one another (See: True Spirituality). Such love corrects sin instead of tolerating it as they were doing (1 Corinthians 5). Such love would not be taking one another to court before unbelievers in legal actions nor visiting the temple prostitutes (1 Corinthians 6). Such love uses liberty in Christ properly in consideration of seeking the good of other believers rather than flaunting it to their detriment or in acting sinfully (1 Corinthians 8-10). Tragically, the error of the Corinthians is still common
ly found today with many doing whatever they would like claiming they have liberty in Christ to do so with some making it even worse by claiming they were following the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Over the years I have heard people claim the Holy Spirit’s leading in trying to justify their sinful behavior. It is simple. The Holy Spirit does not lead people to violate the commands, principles and precepts of God’s word. The Holy Spirit does not lead you to abandon your spouse and shack up with someone else as one woman claimed. The Holy Spirit does not lead people into idolatry, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, theft, coveting, greed, materialism, drunkenness, reviling, lying, or any other sin. Christians who practice sin and seek to justify it instead of repenting of it have stepped into licentiousness and will experience the Lord’s chastening if they are legitimate believers (Hebrews 12:4-8).

Legalism. Legalism is the opposite of license. The term legalism has been used in a variety of ways within Christianity and there are a lot of different ways in which it expresses itself, yet, it is always the same at its core. It defines spirituality by a strict code of conduct determined by men instead of God. To be sure, those holding to these codes can often cite particular Scriptures to back up particular rules, but even in those the context is ignored so that God’s actual commands are overturned and replaced by the code of men. Jesus had strong words for the Pharisees for doing this. In Matthew 15:9 He gave a strong warning against them saying, “But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.” In Matthew 23:23-24 Jesus pronounced a woe the religious leaders saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

An examination of the lives and practices of the Pharisees reveals that they were not purposely trying to replace what God had said with their own teachings nor were they purposely trying to neglect anything in the law. They were actually, as Paul describes in Romans 10:2, zealous for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. Paul describes himself in similar terms. In Galatians 1:14 he states he had been extremely zealous for his ancestral traditions. In Philippians 3:6 he explains that it was his zeal as a Pharisee that had led him to persecute the church because he thought the followers of Christ were opposing Judaism and therefore God. All of their various teachings and traditions started as an effort to obey God. They were greatly concerned for what God had commanded and thought of all sorts of ways to protect themselves from breaking a command even by accident if possible. For example, they would not use God’s covenant name for fear they might use it improperly and so take it in vain breaking the third of the Ten Commandments. Even when reading the Scriptures they would say “Adoni,” meaning Lord, instead of saying “Yahweh,” God’s covenant name. But zeal without proper knowledge can be very dangerous.

The strongest language Paul uses was expressed in the book of Galatians concerning a legalism that had arisen there that was placing them in danger of turning their backs on the grace of God that comes through faith in Christ. There were those advocating a return to earning righteousness by works of the Mosaic law. Paul called what they were teaching “another gospel” and said that those that preach it should be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9). Such a serious condemnation demonstrates the danger of such an extreme legalism.

The situation in Colossae was serious, but not as severe as what Paul was battling in the book of Galatians. There was a legalism being advocated, but it was not so extreme as to threaten the replacement of the message of the gospel that man is saved from sin by God’s grace through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. This legalism sought to define godliness according to adherence to religious rituals, self-denial and practices arising out of mysticism. In other words, the legalism in Colossae was not attacking how you get saved, but it was redefining what it means to be a Christian who was living a godly life. It was a redefinition of righteous living from living in submission to the Spirit of God to living according to their code of conduct and practices. The particular practices Paul mentions in verse 16 fit well with practices that occurred within Judaism and especially those of the Essenes. In fact, some commentators have suggested that it may have been someone with an Essene background that was causing the problems.

Legalism still exists today in a variety of ways ranging from the extreme of distorting the gospel itself, as had occurred among the Galatians, to those that push a little too hard with their personal convictions about the manner in which a righteous person will live. But again, the common element among all of them is defining spirituality by some code of conduct determined by men instead of God through His word.

The Command

Paul begins this section with a command instructing them to not let anyone act as their judge in regard to particular things Paul then lists out. The common position of legalists is to set themselves up as judges who render verdicts without a trial and condemn those who do not keep the same standards of conduct that they do. Jesus spoke against this mindset in Matthew 7:1-4, “Do not judge lest you be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?”

The Pharisees often condemned Jesus and His disciples for the things they did. Matthew 15:1-9 records their condemnation of the disciples for eating without ceremonially washing their hands first. Something that is not required in the Mosaic Law. Jesus pointed out that while the disciples may have been violating Jewish traditions that had developed, the Pharisees were violating the Lord’s commands in preference to their traditions. By comparison the disciples had a speck in their eye of being indifferent to the Pharisees cultural sensitivities while the Pharisees themselves had logs in their own eyes of violating God’s word and yet they were judging the disciples for the speck.

In Matthew 12:1-2 the Pharisees accused the disciples of breaking the Sabbath when they were picking heads of grain and eating them as they walked on their way. What the disciples were doing was directly in keeping with the Mosaic Law in Deuteronomy 23:25, but the Pharisees had made up many of their own rules of what it meant to keep the Sabbath. Later in the same chapter Jesus purposely healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath to teach them that God desires compassion, not sacrifice (Isaiah 1:17; Micah 6:8) and that He, the Son of Man, is Lord of the Sabbath. They then condemned Jesus not only of breaking the Sabbath, but also of healing a demonized man who was deaf and blind by the power of Beelzebul – another name for Satan. Legalism can become very vicious.

It is very important at this point to examine the rest of what Jesus says in Matthew 7:5 because many people have concluded that Christians are never to judge one another which is not true. Throughout the Sermon on the Mount Jesus is contrasting the actions of self-righteousness and true righteousness and He is doing the same here. Jesus continues saying, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of
your brother’s eye.”
Jesus was not prohibiting all judgment, but was rather warning against a certain manner of judging. We could never help a brother who is in sin as Jesus commands in Matthew 18 without being able to first determine that what they are doing is sin. This is a call for the righteous to be humble when helping others with their sin issues recognizing that they probably have their own. Paul expands on this same principle in Galatians 6:1-4 in calling on those who are spiritual to help restore those who are caught in any trespass by helping to bear their burdens, but to do so with a spirit of gentleness and examining themselves first.

The Pharisees had placed greater importance on keeping their traditions than in obeying God and showing compassion. That is the nature of legalism for it removes context from what is being done and places higher value on traditions developed by men than what God has actually said. This still commonly occurs today and it occurs among both the theologically liberal as well as theologically conservative. The only difference is the particular traditions that are being used as the standard.

We also recognize that the opposite problem also occurs in which people demand the right to do nearly anything they want and then intimidate those who question it accusing them of judging. Our pursuit as Christians is to walk with our Lord in holiness and righteousness that we might glorify His name while showing love to our brothers and sisters in helping them to do the same.

Food Restrictions

Paul mentions several particular areas in which the Colossian legalists were judging others. The first issue was in regard to eating. This would encompass both what they would eat, the manner it was prepared and how they would eat it. There are dietary restrictions in the Mosaic Law and some commands concerning the manner in which certain foods would be prepared or meals would be eaten such as Passover (See Exodus 12:43-49). There were two issues that would bring about the judgment of the legalist. The first was actual violation of dietary laws in the Mosaic code, and the second was violation of traditions that had been developed around those laws.

An example of the manner of eating is the tradition of ceremonial washing hands before you eat that the Pharisees condemned the disciples about that was mentioned earlier. An example of food preparation is Deuteronomy 14:21 which prohibited boiling a kid in its mother’s milk. From that verse arose a tradition in which two sets of cooking ware and dishes had to be used. One used for things that had milk in them and the other for things that did not. Paul’s command is to not let others judge you according to their traditions of how to prepare food or the manner in which you eat it. The Christian is not obligated to keep the traditions of men. We are obligated to submit ourselves to the Holy Spirit and obey the Lord.

Violation of Mosaic dietary laws is a slightly different issue because there were clear restrictions placed on the nation of Israel of what they could and could not eat as part of making them distinct from all other people as a people holy to the Lord. Leviticus 11 records particular kinds of animals they were not to eat including mammals such as pigs, rabbits and rock badgers as well as moles, and mice, aquatic animals that do not have fins or scales, birds such as eagles, vultures, pelicans and storks and reptiles such as geckos, crocodiles, lizards and chameleons. (I am sure that some of those restrictions may have even been welcomed – you might like the fact that you will not get a gecko for dinner). They were generally restricted from eating insects except locusts, grasshoppers, crickets (The exceptions may not have been considered good news by some). In addition, those animals that they did eat had to be killed in a certain fashion and they could not eat what they found dead.

All the restricted animals were considered to be unclean and this gave the early church a difficulty to overcome because a large portion of it was Jewish. We know from Acts 10 how hard it was for even Peter to understand that the ceremonial laws would not be required for salvation and those who would make up Christ’s body, the church. This was a point of contention that the Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem dealt with in Acts 15 concluding that Mosaic Law did not have to be kept either be saved or be good Christians. Paul’ went on his second missionary journey in large part to spread the news of their conclusion. However, many of the Jews that professed faith in Jesus still had a hard time with the idea and would put a lot of pressure on others to still keep those dietary restrictions. In Galatians 2 Paul recounts that he even had to oppose Peter on this issue because he no longer ate with the Gentiles, but had withdrawn and become aloof, fearing the party of the circumcision.

It is important to note that there is no requirement anywhere that the dietary laws must be disobeyed. People can still voluntarily follow them if they desire as long it does not become a requirement for themselves or others or a point of pride. Dietary restrictions neither bring additional favor from God nor make someone spiritually superior. Paul addresses this issue in Romans 14:1-4. “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, [but] not for [the purpose of] passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables [only.] 3 Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

Paul’s own practice was to use his freedom in Christ with wisdom to further the gospel. He explains in 1 Corinthians 9 & 10 that he would voluntarily restrict himself when he was with Jews since they were under the law and he did not want to unnecessarily offend them. He would use his freedom to eat when with Gentiles so as to not appear aloof. In addition, he would also voluntarily restrict himself whenever it might cause someone else to do something which would violate their conscience because their faith had not yet matured in that area (Romans 14).

Those who demand that dietary restrictions be kept, whether they arise from the Old Testament or some other source or tradition, tread on dangerous ground. Paul warned Timothy about them in very strong terms in 1 Timothy 4:1-5. “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 [men] who forbid marriage [and advocate] abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; 5 for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.” Most of you can think of religious groups that have fallen to the doctrine of demons as explained here.

Drink Restrictions

The second issue Paul warns about is in regard to drinking. The same principles that apply to eating also apply to drinking. As Paul said in Romans 14:17, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” True righteousness is not a matter of keeping dietary laws. It is a matter of walking in the Spirit of God. As Paul summarized in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

However, I must caution here that this does not mean that the strong Scriptural warnings about wine and strong drink are to be ignored. While true righteousness is not determined by wha
t you drink or the manner of its preparation, consuming an intoxicating drink to the point of drunkenness is sin (Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3; etc.). Be wise and heed the warnings such as in Proverbs 20:21 and 23:29-32. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.” It is a viper that brings on woe, sorrow, contention and wounds. If you drink wine, beer or liquors beware of their dangers and use utmost caution.

Calendar Duties

The third area Paul warned them not to let themselves be judged on by others is in regard to holy days which he lists out in three specific types – a festival, a new moon and Sabbath. The Mosaic Law designated quite a few feasts or festivals that were to be kept which include Passover, Unleavened Bread, First-fruits, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Feast of Booths. In addition to these there were monthly sacrifices to be made at the new moon, and the keeping of the weekly Sabbath. In many ways Jewish life centered around these calendar events, but a major change was made with the coming of the Messiah. There would be a freedom of worship that came with the Holy Spirit that would supersede calendar worship.

Paul explains in Romans 14:5-9, “One man regards one day above another, another regards every day [alike.] Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. 7 For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; 8 for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died and lived [again], that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

Again, Paul is in no way telling them they must disregard the festivals, in fact we know that Paul continued to observe many of them after he became a follower of Jesus. In addition, those of Jewish descent have every reason to continue to observe them as part of their heritage and God’s grace to their people. What Paul is saying is that how well someone observes any of them, if at all, was no longer an indication of true spirituality, so they were not to be used as a basis for judging. Most people seem to understand this principle in regards to the festivals and new moon observances, but there has been and is a greater difficulty concerning the Sabbath.

Why don’t Christians observe the Sabbath? First, it is not a requirement under the New Covenant as already alluded to in citing Romans 14 and the freedom the believer has in regard to the observance of days. There are no New Testament commands for Christians to observe the Sabbath, and there are no commands in the Hebrews Scriptures for the Gentile nations to observe the Sabbath, which give strong indication that it was a part of God’s covenant with Israel and not a universal requirement. In addition, neither the Jerusalem Council imposed it nor did Paul ever warn about not keeping it. In fact, here in Colossians and Galatians 4:9-11 he warns about requiring such observances since they are “worthless elemental things.” Why do most Christians worship on Sundays? Only because it became the practice of the early church in honor of Jesus’ being raised from the dead on a Sunday (Acts 20:7), though there is nothing wrong for observing a different day if so desired (Romans 14:6). In other words, there is nothing wrong for Messianic congregations gathering to worship on Friday evenings, or for Seventh Day Adventists gathering on Saturday mornings, or for other churches to meet Saturday night as they desire as long as they do not make that a requirement for all Christians to observe.

Shadow vs. Substance

Paul points out in verse 17 the very practical reason not to let others judge you on these issues of eating, drinking or observance of holy days. They are “things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” A shadow can reveal the basic shape of the reality that casts the shadow, but it has no substance in itself. The substance is only in the reality that cast the shadow, and in this case, that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul’s point is simple, why let someone judge you based on shadows when you have the reality?

Jesus is the fulfillment of the types and shadows of the old covenant. He is the bread of life who came out of heaven that satisfies our hunger and brings eternal life (John 6:35-58). He is the one that provides the living water that satisfies the soul so that the one who believes has a spring of water springing up to eternal life (John 4:10-13; 6:35; 7:37-38). He is the fulfillment of the feasts for He is our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7). He is the first-fruits from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20-23). He poured out His spirit and gave birth to the church on Pentecost (Acts 2). He atoned for our sins and redeemed us, forgave us and reconciled us to God (Colossians 1:13-22; Hebrews 9, etc.). He is the life and the light of the world (John 1:4). We have the reality, don’t trade it for a shadow.


Legalism is dangerous because at minimum it replaces the reality of true life in Christ by walking in His spirit with the shadow of religious observances. It can be so severe as to replace the gospel of God’s grace with the false gospel of self-righteousness by works which Paul warned about so strongly in Galatians.

And while we do not want to fall into legalism, neither do we want to stumble into licentiousness which is just as much a problem, perhaps even more so, in American Christianity. We are not under the law of Moses, but we are under the law of Christ learning to obey whatsoever He has commanded (Matthew 28:20). Therefore let us walk by the Spirit of God, and not in our flesh, and bring glory to our God by living holy lives reflecting our Lord living through us.

FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION on the topics of legalism and licentiousness, see the sermon series  Holy & Free


Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – 1) Write down all the verses mentioned. 2) Count how many times the word “legalsim” is used 3) Talk with your parents about how to avoid legalism


Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. How is Christ superior to philosophy? What is licentiousness? What was John correcting in 1 John? What was Paul correcting in 1 Corinthians? How does true spirituality manifest itself? What would be a good indicator that a Christian has stepped into licentiousness? What is legalism? What are some of the warnings Jesus gave to the Pharisees about their legalism? How did the legalism of the Pharisees develop? Are there similarities between the Pharisees and legalists of our own time? How did the legalism among the Galatians manifest itself – how did Paul react to it? How was the legalism in Colossae manifesting itself? How does Jesus’ command in Matthew 7:1-4 explain Paul’s command in Colossians 2:16? What are some of the ways that the Pharisees accused or condemned the disciples and Jesus Himself? Does Jesus prohibit Christians from judging others? Why or why not? Explain Matthew 7:5 and Galatians 6:1-4. What does the legalist value more than obedience to God and showing compassion? What were some of the Mosaic Law’s restrictions on what they could eat, how it was to be prepared and the manner of eating? What are some Jewish traditions that go beyond the Mosaic Law? What is the Christian’s obligation toward the traditions of men? Why was it so hard for the early Jewish Christians to give up their dietary practices? What is the principle Paul teaches in Romans 14 about eating and how to treat one another? What was Paul’s own practice concerning dietary restrictions? Why did he do what he did? (See 1 Corinthians 9 & 10). What religions do you know would fit the warning given in 1 Timothy 4:1-5? Must Christians abstain from alcoholic beverages? Why or why not? What warnings do the Scriptures give concerning intoxicating drink? What were the Mosaic requirements regarding festivals, new moons and Sabbaths? What principle guides in the observance of days – Romans 14? Must Jewish people cease celebrating the festivals? Why or why not? Why do Christians not have to observe the Sabbath? Why do most Christians observe Sunday as a day of worship? How are the dietary restrictions and the holy days shadows of what is to come in the reality of Christ? How does Jesus fulfill the various Jewish festivals? How can you avoid legalism? How can you avoid licentiousness?


Sermon Notes – 10/3/2010

The Superiority of Christ to Legalism – Colossians 2:16-17


Paul warns the Colossian believers of clear and present ____________ in their midst

He warned them about being ________by persuasive argument or be captured by empty, vain philosophy

Jesus is ___________by His nature, work & position giving a better circumcision, baptism, life & victory

Paul warns about _________, asceticism and mysticism – Colossians 2:16-23

License and Legalism

    Licentiousness rejects law believing they have spiritual ___________ for the things they practice

1 John is written to correct the error of _____________ based licentiousness – 1 John 3:9-10

1 Corinthians corrects the licentiousness based in spiritual ________.

True spirituality is expressed in Christian _________ – 1 Corinthians 12-14

Some people ____________ their sinful behavior by claiming the Holy Spirit’s leading

Christians who sin and try to ____________ it instead of repenting have stepped into licentiousness

    Legalism defines spirituality by a strict code of conduct determined by _________ instead of God

Jesus ___________ the Pharisees for it – Matthew 15:9; Matthew 23:23-24

Legalists are often __________for the Lord, but are ignorant of His will (Rom. 10:2; Gal. 1:14; Phil. 3:6)

Most legalistic traditions start as a means to _______________ breaking one of God’s commandments

The legalists in Galatia had perverted the _____________ – Gal. 1:8-9

The legalists in Colossae were only redefining righteous ____________, not the gospel itself.

Legalism still ___________ today in a variety of ways and extremes

The Commandlet no one act as your judge in regard to . . .

    ___________ spoke against this kind of judgmentalism – Matthew 7:1-4

Matthew 15:1-9, the Pharisees condemn the _____________

Matthew 12:1-2, the Pharisees ___________ the disciples of breaking the Sabbath

Jesus heals people and the Pharisees accuse Him of healing by the power of _______________

Matthew 5:7 – Jesus was not prohibiting all ________, but only the wrong manner of doing so (cf. Gal. 6)

They placed greater importance on keeping ______________than obeying God and showing compassion

Food Restrictions – what was eaten, how it was prepared, and how it was eaten

Traditions: washing hands (Matt. 15), __________ sets of dishes to avoid violation of Deut. 14:21

The Christian is not obligated to keeping the traditions of ____________

Mosaic Law – restrictions on particular animals (Leviticus 11) considered ______________

Early Christian ____________ had a hard time letting go of the dietary restrictions of the Mosaic Law

It is not required to _________Mosaic dietary laws, but keeping them must be voluntary & without pride

The principle – Romans 14:1-4

Paul’s use of his _____________ in Christ – 1 Corinthians 9 & 10

1 Timothy 4:1-5. Paul’s warning about the ___________ of legalistic practices and God’s view of food

Drink Restrictions

Romans 14:17 – True _________________ is not a matter of dietary laws, but of walking in the Spirit

1 Corinthians 10:31 – living for God’s ____________

_________against intoxicating drink: Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3. Proverbs 20:21 and 23:29-32

Calendar Duties

Three specific types in the Mosaic Law – a _____________, a new moon and Sabbath

The principle – Romans 14:5-9

They do not have to ________________ the festivals, but they are not required to keep them.

Keeping the Sabbath is not part of the _________ covenant

Most Christians worship on Sunday out of honor for Jesus’ __________________ (Acts 20:7)

Shadow vs. Substance

Why let someone judge you based on shadows when you have the _____________?

Jesus is the ________________ of the types and shadows of the old covenant

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