Colossians 2:11–17 (NKJV)
11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.Colossians 2:11-17
16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
Paul has just completed a discussion of the work of Christ. He fills everything and is the head of the body. Paul continues here with a discussion of the further work accomplished through Christ. The first thing he mentions is the spiritual circumcision. This spiritual benefit replaces the physical act of circumcision. The physical act was a sign of the Abrahamic covenant and ,for Paul, is simply symbolic of the removal of sin by the grace of God through faith. Paul moves on to the image of baptism, symbolizing dying with Christ and being raised with Him again through faith. Being put under the water signifies death, and being brought up symbolizes new life. In these symbolic acts, man had the unnecessary and perhaps unclean thing removed by a sharp weapon (blade), and was washed of his uncleanness by water. In the spiritual realm, man enters into covenant with Christ and has his sins taken away, and is washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ.
The result of this forgiveness and justification is that all the requirements, or resulting punishments of sin (including death), are wiped out. The charges against a man or woman are removed, as if they never existed. They are nailed to the cross, never to be remembered. Jesus disarmed all the enemies of the soul, having paraded them around in a public display, so to speak. Jesus triumphed over sin and our weaknesses when He died and rose again! Paul sums up this passage with an encouragement: Let no one judge you. What you eat or drink is not a bondage to be worn. Whether you celebrate a certain day or festival is not a salvific issue. Even the exact day of sabbaths or planned retreat is not an issue for public debate. These are all shadows of things to come, just like circumcision was to the Jews. The substance of Christian existence is Christ. Walking with Christ daily and living in relationship with Him is the truly significant part of being a Christian.
Often, Christians today see church as the ultimate expression of Christianity. Go to church, pay tithes and give offerings, sing the songs, and go home to your “real life.” However, church should simply be the public, corporate celebration of your individual daily walk with God. Coming together with others to worship is part of being a Christian, and is taught in the Scriptures. However, it is the tip of the iceberg. The deep, meaningful, essential part of Christianity is living an intimate relationship with Christ. Do not get hung up in ritual so much as in relationship. Relationship revives the weary Christian, vivifies the lost soul, and makes clear the purpose of one’s life. Don’t let the symbol suffice as the reality when the reality is so much greater. Be baptized, take communion, pray corporately, join the church, GO TO CHURCH, but do not let your Christianity end there. Live it every day and see the glory of the Lord! The saved should not live with the stench of death, but must rise up daily to live the life of Christ!