The Colossian Problem
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. 17 These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding 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. -Colossians 2:16-19
Passing judgment is a popular hobby. Of course, nobody calls it that. They call it people watching. What else are people watching than judging people based on their appearance? People pass judgment all the time, though they would never call it that. What about all the gossip on social media? People are judged superficially without knowing the facts and details.
We should expect as much from the people of our world. But not from the people of the kingdom. Yet that was just the problem in Colossae. Christians were making judgments on other Christians, based on what they ate and on whether they kept the old Jewish festivals and sabbaths – “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.”
Christianity is not yet another religion about keeping ceremonies, traditions, and human rules. You don’t have to follow a certain diet. You don’t have to keep religious festivals of the Old Testament. You don’t have to live as a monk (ascetic), or worship angels, or give credence to visions. No, all that matters is holding fast to the Head, who is Christ.
There were those in Colossae who insisted that Christians were still obligated to follow the Old Testament Jewish dietary laws. No pork! No shellfish! They taught that Christians were still obligated to keep the Old Testament festivals like Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles. Paul states to the contrary that we are free. Let no one judge you.
Let no one judge you. Rather, let your judgment be the Word of God. If God’s word says you should do it, then do it. If God’s Word says you should not do it, don’t do it. Hold on to Christ who has set you free from the Old Testament ritual law and from merely human rules, rituals, superstitions, and traditions.
Finally, don’t be among those who pass judgment. Accept everyone as a child of God. If you spot sin in someone, go to him and discuss it (Matthew 18:15-17). Talking to anyone BUT that person is gossip, and gossip is sin. It is passing judgment where you have no authority to pass judgment.
Rejoice in God’s judgment. Through faith in Christ and because of his merits, you are declared righteous in God’s sight. God does not judge you by how you look, or what you do, or by your past sins. He judges you by your faith in Christ today. How can we justify judging people any differently?
That was the Colossian problem. Let’s not tolerate it as our problem.