The Things That Can Ruin Your Faith

Text: Colossians 2:16-23

Threatening Themes Paul Has Been Confronting:

  • checkedIntellectualism: (2:8)
  • uncheckedRitualism: (2:16-17)
  • uncheckedSpiritualism: (2:18 & 19)
  • uncheckedLegalism: (2:20-23)

Some Things That Can Hurt Christ-followers:

  • Empty ritualism.

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in question to food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” (v. 16-17)

Aren’t some of these observances given to us by God to remind us of truth? 

Isn’t there some value to mental or physical health to be gained by doing them?

Paul’s answer: “These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” (v. 17)

  • Mysticism/Spiritualism

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.” (vv. 18-19)

  • Asceticism/Legalism

20 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— 21 “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” 22 (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? 23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” (vv. 20-23)

What’s wrong with asceticism/legalism?

  1. It shows you don’t understand your death with Christ.
  2. Whatever benefits these things may bring is only temporary.
  3. These things are of no value in restraining the indulgence of the flesh.
  4. These four threats have one thing in common: they lose Christ.

These four threats would crush the life out of the Colossians’ faith if they had continued in those practices, and they will do the same to you!