Hold Fast to Christ, Continued
We return to 2:19 which is the focal point of our passage: “[Hold] fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.” So many Christians get duped at some point in the lives into thinking that there is something extra in the Christian faith that if they only possessed, well then that would make them that much holier and closer to God. For some it’s an extra or second work of the Spirit beyond regeneration and for others, as we see here with the Colossians, some particular lifestyle involving food or the way things should be handled or special days to observe. And as I said yesterday, Paul wouldn’t care whether one was a vegan or declined to celebrate Christmas; these are matters of prudential judgment on the part of individuals and their own consciences. What Paul would not allow is forcing such peculiarities and matters of indifference upon others. (By the way, I am excepting from matters of indifference the worship of angels and vision-chasing which are just plain sin.)
But there is a matter here that is not a matter of indifference—and that is holding fast to the Head, that is, Jesus Christ. And this is sin—when we place anything ahead of Christ—be it some practice, some diet, some anything—nothing comes before him. And better yet, when I cling to him, I realize that all these matters which I thought mattered really don’t matter. In Christ is the substance, the essence, the source of our faith; when we have him, we have all we need. Indeed, Paul takes it one step further: “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…according to human precepts and teachings?” He elaborates on this in the next chapter but he insists here that believers are dead to the things of this world—of which these matters pertain.
In Christ “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (2:3). In Christ, “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him who is the head of all rule and authority” (2:9-10). To even suggest that we need something more flies in the face of our Lord’s deity and sufficiency for all our needs. Quite frankly, it is spiritual adultery, which is a temptation which ever crouches at the believer’s door. We must resist this. We do so by acknowledging our death to the self-made religions and “wisdom” of this world, and clinging to Christ who is the Head of the Church, where we may grow to maturity and be shielded from such nonsense.