Col 2:16-19 “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. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”
In the previous verses of this chapter, Paul has declared how that Jesus put aside the service of legality. He nailed it to His cross and full divested Himself (and us) of it (Col 2:14-15). Jesus, through His death and resurrection, plainly showed that the ordinances of the law service had always been inadequate to put away sin. He, however, was victorious in all the Father sent Him to do.
Seeing that He is triumphant, Paul warns against being unduly influenced by those still seeking justification through law service. Paul does not say these things were never of any benefit, but he does tell us these things were only shadows. In order for anything to cast a shadow, there must be a source of illumination behind it. Shadows are imprecise representations: they lack detail or the ability to have any effect on their surroundings.
While shadows do not have any power in themselves, we sometimes give them power in our minds. If we rely on shadows, things that are small may appear large and vice versa. Shadows will sometimes cause us to frighten ourselves into inappropriate decisions and actions. When we are blessed, by God’s grace, to make a careful examination of the law, we see that it can never make those that come to it perfect (Heb 10:1).
What a great blessing it is when we are allowed to quit jumping at shadows and realize the source. The laws of meat and drink, feast days and sabbaths, had no substance of their own (they were shadows). The substance (body) of those shadows was in the finished work of Jesus Christ, and He is the light of that work. He fulfilled every law of the Father, showing Himself to be the true sacrificial Lamb.
There are still those today that would deceive us concerning the work of Jesus and the reason why we desire to serve Him. They make themselves appear humble while trying to turn us from our faith in Christ. We are presented with a form of worship which is actually designed to honor men rather than God. They would have us worship angels (Strong’s definition – “a messenger; especially an “angel”; by implication a pastor: – angel, messenger”) when Jesus Himself taught us to worship only God (Mat 4:10, Luk 4:8).
These men push their way (intrude) into things they have not truly seen and do not truly understand. They are swelled up with their own sense of importance. The welfare of God’s children is far from their minds. Their thoughts are empty of the things which give God glory. Jesus is not recognized as being the head, and therefore they are not really serving His church (Col 1:18).
The body of which our triumphant Christ is the head is nourished by Him. The body is strengthened by the ministry of Christ in its joints and bands. His body is knit together (united) in the absolute truth that Jesus accomplished everything the Father sent Him to do. We are increased by the will of God in the things of God to the glory of God!
May we seek Him and His judgment in all things without being swayed by the judgment of men of false humility!