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Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Sun, Mar 04, 2018

Threats to the Believer’s Freedom in Christ

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56 mins 8 secs
In Col. 2:16-23, Paul mentions three threats that we must be aware of if we are going to keep our freedom in Christ. They are, namely, the teachings that emphasize submission to Old Testament Law; the teachings that emphasize the authority of spiritual experiences; and the teachings that emphasize legalism.

In Col. 2:16-23, Paul mentions three threats that we must be aware of if we are going to keep our freedom in Christ. They are, namely, the teachings that emphasize submission to Old Testament Law; the teachings that emphasize the authority of spiritual experiences; and the teachings that emphasize legalism.

This morning, we shall consider the first of the threats, that is, the teachings that emphasize submission to Old Testament law (Col. 2:16–17). There seems to be a renaissance in the church of being called to practice Old Testament law, including the Sabbath day, particularly in Seventh Day Adventist and Messianic Jewish churches. What the church was being attacked by back then is still attacking us today. In Col. 2:17, Paul said that they were only shadows and pictures of Christ, and therefore, we are no longer bound to them because Christ has come.

When Christ came to the earth, died, and was resurrected, there was no longer any need for the pictures. The reality had come. Does this mean Christians are not under any law or commands in Scripture and therefore are free to do what they want because they are saved? Absolutely not. In 1 Cor. 9:21, Paul declared that he was not under the OT law, but was now under the law of Christ. This means his submission was to the teachings of Christ and his apostles as expressed in the New Testament. We are now under the law of Christ (1 Cor. 9:21), which includes everything Christ taught and his apostles taught.

This is the very reason we are not under the Sabbath law. The Sabbath was simply a shadow of our husband—Christ—who has come. He is the eternal rest that the Sabbath always pictured (Matt. 11:28–29). Contrary to the claims of some today, Christians are not required to worship on the Sabbath day. It, like the other Old Covenant holy days Paul mentions, is not binding under the New Covenant. There is convincing evidence for that in Scripture. First, the Sabbath was the sign to Israel of the Old Covenant (Ex. 31:16–17; Neh. 9:14; Ezek. 20:12).

Because we are now under the New Covenant (Heb. 8), we are no longer required to keep the sign of the Old Covenant. Second, the New Testament nowhere commands Christians to observe the Sabbath. Third, in our only glimpse of an early church worship service in the New Testament, we find the church meeting on Sunday, the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). Fourth, we find no hint in the Old Testament that God expected the Gentile nations to observe the Sabbath, nor are they ever condemned for failing to do so. What, then, are the purposes of the Old Testament law today? There are many applications of the OT law to the church today.

One, the Old Testament law is a reflection of God’s character. If we are going to know God, we must study his commands in the OT law. Two, the Old Testament law is meant to convict and reveal our need for Christ. It was meant to show sinners how bad their sin was and their inability to follow God’s law. It reveals their need for the Savior (Galatians 3:24–25). Three, the Old Testament law gives us universal principles to be applied to our lives (1 Corinthians 9:8–11). The Old Testament law, as all of Scripture, is useful to train the man of God in all righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16–17), though we may not be under it as a covenant with God.

Paul says be careful and be aware of any teaching that calls us back into the Old Covenant. This attack was pervasive in the early church, and it is still here today. Let no one take you captive by it.

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