Don’t Let Anyone Disqualify You (Colossians 2:16-3:4)
CrossWay Community Church
September 4th, 2022
“…Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). We often like to change this positive “do” into a negative “do not”–“do not do anything which is ‘de-glorifying’ to God; don’t do anything sinful.” How often have you heard things like, “don’t do this or that because it’s not glorifying to God”? The danger here is succumbing to the mindset that a lack of error and refrain from sin is all that Paul intended by these words (→ 1 Cor 10:31). But to leave the positive assertion untouched (as a positive assertion) is far more challenging–everything we do is to be for the purpose of or aim of glorifying God. As Paul said earlier in verse 23, not everything that is permissible is beneficial. How often do we think in terms of “permissible” rather than “beneficial,” allowing ourselves to think in terms of what’s allowable v. what isn’t, and thereby making 1 Cor 10:31 into a negative command to refrain from certain activities rather than a positive command to “do”–do what brings glory to God, or more so, do what brings the most glory to God? We are drawn towards thinking in terms of “permissible” (in either form: a legalistic moralism or a carnal antinomianism) because it’s much easier. But this doesn’t necessarily entail the radical discipleship of “do” which scripture commands and is therefore terribly insufficient.
On Sunday, August 26th, my pastor preached an excellent sermon from Matthew 15:1-9 at Lake Drive. The question he posed was, “What hold’s authority for the Christian?” The topic of the sermon was God’s word and man’s word—that is, God’s truth, His teaching, His commandments versus man’s teaching, man’s instruction, or man’s tradition. Allow me to share with you some thoughts I had or that pastor Curt Leonard brought out in his message.
God’s word is authoritative. It is perfect, it is true, and it is binding. As such it is the believer’s ultimate authority of faith (what to believe) and practice (what to do; how to live). A parallel truth to this fact is that God’s word is sufficient to instruct us on how to live godly lives in our present age or generation, which implies the concept of making direct applications of its truth to our contemporary setting.
Colossians 2:20-23 – 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.
The following is an illustration from Michael Horton’s book, Introducing Covenant Theology. Horton’s illustration can be found in his chapter entitled “New Covenant Obedience” and under the subsection “What the Law Still Cannot Do.”
It’s an illustration of a sailboat. It’s an illustration I have never forgotten, probably never will forget, and come back to time and time again.