Let No One Judge You
So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17, NKJV)
The opening “so” is important. It connects this thought with the previous thought. Because Jesus won such a glorious victory on the cross, we are to let no one judge you in food or in drink or in other matters related to legalism. A life that is centered on Jesus and what He did on the cross has no place for legalism.
“It would be preposterous indeed for those who had reaped the benefit of Christ’s victory to put themselves voluntarily under the control of the powers which he had conquered.” – F.F. Bruce
The Old Testament law had certain provisions that are done away with in Jesus, regarding such things as food and sabbaths. It isn’t that those laws were bad, simply that they were a shadow of things to come. Once the substance, Jesus Christ, has come, we don’t need to shadow anymore.
The point is clear: days and foods, as observed under the Mosaic Law, are not binding upon New Covenant people. The shadow has passed, the reality has come. So for the Christian, all foods are pure and all days belong to God:
For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. (1 Timothy 4:4-5)
Christians are therefore free to keep a kosher diet or to observe the Sabbath if they please. There is nothing wrong with those things. However, they cannot think that eating kosher or sabbath observance makes them any closer to God, and they cannot judge another brother or sister who does not observe such laws.
“The regulations of Judaism were designed for the period when the people of God consisted of one racial, cultural, and geographical unit, and are simply put out of date now that this people is becoming a world-wide family. They were the ‘shadows’ that the approaching new age casts before it.” – N.T. Wright
Holy Father God, thank You that You are the only Judge. Thank You that You have judged us through the atoning sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.
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