January 2 in Christmas

Colossians 2:16-3:4

Seeking the Things that Are Above

We return to Paul’s letter to the Church at Colossae, and to the same theme we previously discussed.  That day I discussed how so many Christians are guilty of looking for something more than what the Christian faith provides – for instance, ascetic practices, worship of angels (which violates the First Commandment), and visions.  And as for visions, Hebrews 1:1 tells us that God did indeed speak to the prophets long ago through many ways but that in these latter days, God has spoken to us definitively by His Son, who is “the exact imprint of His nature” (1:3). Therefore, we are to hear the Word now in the pages of Scripture as His Holy Spirit breathes to us its meaning as we hear its words in a saving and spiritual way.  Today, we note that Paul recites more of these rules which some were imposing on others, rules concerning food and drink, festivals, new moons, and even Sabbaths.  (As for Sabbaths, it is hard to tell if Paul meant the one day in seven as prescribed in the Fourth Commandment, or the imposition of the special Sabbaths of the Jewish calendar.  I tend to think the latter as the former is one of the ten moral laws.)  Paul further relates how these rules regarded matters such as “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch.”

The trouble with all of this is that it entirely misses the point – which is Christ who is the substance of our faith.  Indeed, Paul says that all this other is related to the “sensuous mind” as it focuses on the body and the things of this world.  Yes, it appears religious but it has no power to stop the indulgence of the flesh; indeed, it furthers it by serving it.

Paul’s remedy is what we need to hear: “Seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”  Why?  Because “you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”  But what does this mean and how does one do it? Abiding by rules and regulations is so much easier!  I don’t profess to be an expert on this but I believe it is about meditating on Christ himself – that he is the Lord who assumed our humanity so that he could take our place; who intercedes on our behalf before the Father even now; who will return to receive us unto himself; who is our very life.  All wisdom and knowledge abides in him who is God’s word to us revealed in Scripture.  So if one wants to fast, if one wishes to honor a day, well and good, but do so unto the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31).  Understand that these are means to the end of knowing and serving our Lord.  The substance belongs to Christ.  And as he said to Peter, “You follow me” (John 21:22).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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