The power of the cross changes life on earth for all who rest in the work of Christ. The Colossians experienced the change yet they encountered people with various motives who tried to hinder them. Seeds of false doctrine blew, unsettling the young in the faith. Paul wrote to them to establish them in Christ and to help them to stand in spite of false doctrines. In Colossians 2:16-23 Paul, after describing the power of the cross, writes “Therefore,” and teaches them that Christ is the substance, Christ is the head and Christ is the liberator.
Christ is the Substance
“You can’t eat that, it is meat that was offered to idol.” “Why do your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” There are always those who want to judge others. It becomes personal. Paul says “Let no one judge you.” These things won’t even matter someday. Rather remember the work Christ did for you on the cross. He is eternal. Hold fast to Him. Hear his voice to your heart. He is the real. He is the substance.
Christ is the Head
Still, others were affected by those who stood in the square and recited long and holy sounding prayers. Or perhaps they heard someone talk about this wonderful experience they had while worshipping the angels. It caused them to question if what they had was real or if they were doing enough. Paul wrote, “Let no one defraud you of your reward.” Their doubts disturbed their peace and caused them to look inward to themselves apart from Christ. Growth is in Christ. He is the head. It is in holding on to Christ and following the leading of His Spirit that makes the body grow and be knit together with the increase that God gives. He is the Head.
Christ is the Liberator
Finally Paul writes “Therefore if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world why do you subject yourselves to regulations.” Sure these things look to be wise, and make you look to be holy and humble. However, “They are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” To the Romans Paul wrote, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Christ is the liberator.
The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” We too, must watch diligently. “Therefore” refresh your soul in these truths, Christ is the substance, Christ is the head and Christ is the liberator.