Colossians Bible Study The Truth about Religion
Proving the Lie –of Worldly Reasoning Part One
Proving the Lie – of Worldly Rituals
Ceremonialism – What was Discarded
Colossians 2:11 (KJB) “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:”
In the Old Testament believers were supported and sustained by many rituals. These rituals revolved around the temple in Jerusalem and priest’s in elaborate clothes to perform elaborate ministries. Sacrifices, special days, annual feasts rules for their diet and initiation ceremonies such as circumcision and ordination were all given by God, and all had a spiritual and typological meaning. It all pointed to Jesus Christ! Most of this was hidden to the Old Testament believers but is an open book to those who understand the New Testament.
When Jesus Christ died that ended the Old Testament ritual, it is obsolete. But ritualism dies very hard. We can see in the New Testament as Jewish people became Christians they tried to add in their rituals to Christianity. We see this today in some cults like Hebrew Roots and Messianic Christianity. The Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15), the book of Galatians, and the book of Hebrews demonstrates the fact that Judaism is now over and done.
Here in Colossians, Paul is dealing with the ritual of circumcision. Paul had already fought and won this battle at Jerusalem and Galatia. Circumcision was a ritual administered to an infant and was the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant (Gen. 17). Gentiles who became Jews were required to be circumcised which was a major stumbling block to conversion to Judaism. If the Jews had been successful in demanding this ritual it would have driven Gentiles away and significantly decreased the growth of Christianity. The problem was in their failure to understand the church was not founded on the Abrahamic Covenant but upon the New Covenant.
Jeremiah 31:31 (KJB) “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:”
Matthew 26:28 (KJB) “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
The cult here at Colosse like some today was trying to bring the Old Covenant ceremony into the church. Christianity is not an extension of Judaism. The church is NOT “spiritual Israel” as some people imagine. The church is supernatural! The creation was supernatural, and the end will be supernatural when Jesus comes down during the Rapture and removes the church and takes it with Him.
The ritual of circumcision is no longer needed. Circumcision was instituted by God to be a seal of the Abrahamic Covenant. We no longer need this because the reality of Jesus Christ replaced the ritual. The physical has been replaced by the spiritual. We become partakers of the New Covenant through the Cross. No religious rite (baptism, circumcision, nor any other work) can bring a person into the New Covenant. The blood of Jesus Christ does that.
Colossians 2:12 (KJB) “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”
Ceremonialism – What is Mutal
Baptism is not related to Circumcision one is a Christian ordinance and the other a Jewish rite. Jesus Christ gave the church two ordinances, baptism & the Lord’s Supper both of which speak to Christ and the Cross. In Baptism, believers proclaim the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The idea of infant Baptism is not found anywhere in the New Testament. Infant Baptism has its roots in Romanism. The New Testament knows no more about infant baptism than it does about Roman Catholic priests being able to consecrate wafers and turn them into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ.
Baptism, in the New Testament, is intended to be the outward expression of an inward experience. When we are baptized we stand in water. Water is an element that spells death to all we are by natural birth. We cannot live in water. We are immersed in water, but under the water, symbolically buried. We are then raised by the power of another’s arm to stand on resurrection ground and to walk in the newness of life.
Baptism is a picture, an ordinance, that symbolizes to the world our identification with Jesus in death, burial, and resurrection because this is what we have mutual with Christ. He not only died for me but also as me. Because I believe, when He died, I died. When He was buried, I was buried, when He arose, I arose. This is a divine operation and not a mere ritual; it’s a reality.
Colossians 2:13 (KJB) “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;”
Ceremonialism – What is Demonstrated
The Cross becomes God’s instrument for dealing with all that we are by natural birth. We who were dead because of our sins are now alive! We are “quickened” with Him! Our “uncircumcision” was the witness of our condition of being lost. We had no covenant relationship with God or Abraham. Circumcision provided for the Jews the opportunity of becoming a beneficiary of the Abrahamic Covenant. We as Gentiles had no such chance. Many gentiles in Paul’s time, sickened by paganism, examined Judaism closely, but most balked because of circumcision. The uncircumcision of God-fearing gentiles excluded them from participating in the Abrahamic Covenant.
Hebrews 10:20 (KJB) “By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;”
Calvary changed all that. Calvary seals the New Covenant. God gives equal opportunity to gentile and Jew alike to lay aside the ritual for the living reality of Jesus Christ. When you see a modern day, cults post about the Law know in your heart that Jesus has once and forever set aside those things. The next verse tells us:
Colossians 2:14 (KJB) “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”
Conclusion – Jesus Christ has erased the ordinances that were against us, He has nailed it to His Cross. Do you know Jesus Christ? Is Jesus your Saviour? If you don’t please do not wait another minute find someone right now start a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
1 Timothy 3:16 KJV — 1 Timothy 16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. — 1 Timothy 3:16 KJV