Believer, you are saved. You are saved by Jesus Christ once and for all. Your salvation is a miracle. It is huge. You don’t have to fall prey to a list of rules, rituals, or regulations to maintain your religion. You don’t have to question your salvation because someone says that if you’re saved then you will do this or do that. You have a relationship with God. Your salvation shows itself and you can be confident in it, because you can be confident in Christ.
Are you part of a local body? Believer, you are part of the body and in order to experience the wholeness of that, you need to be part of a community of believers. Paul put it like this in verses 2-3,
“that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, which is Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
When you are with other believers you are with people who reflect Christ, who are filled with the Spirit, who are seeking the same thing as you are, the Kingdom of God. You are knit together with them. You are interwoven with them inextricable from them. Being with others who share the same Spirit, the same goal, and the same Lord creates an environment where you are free to grow and mature in Christ and where you get to know God more intimately than you could ever get to know Him walking the path alone. And you are less likely to fall for wacky doctrine.
The Gospel is the gospel. It doesn’t change after you’re saved. Nothing gets added to it. Jesus Christ doesn’t change. You were saved by grace. You won’t lose your salvation due to hidden rules or rituals. Hebrews 13:8-9 say,
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9 Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them.”
Stay rooted in the truth. Keep walking in truth. Get to know God more and more. Let your relationship with Him grow deeper, not broader. Pulling beliefs from religions, adding philosophies that sound good or make us more acceptable to the world make for a wide shallow relationship. Traditions, festivals, and ceremonies have nothing to do with grace, truth, or faith. Verses 6-8 read,
“Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
There are people out there who feel the need to force wacky doctrines on others. They’ll tell us that you must pay attention to this spirit or that spirit, that we must give up all material possessions, seek prosperity, punish ourselves, follow a set of strict rules, or live liberally without caring about how our actions affect others. We’ve seen people who drift from belief to belief, trying this one on, checking that one out, and trying to get to know God by following a worldly religion.
To know God, we only have to follow Christ. He is God. To know God we only have to realize we are have His Spirit inside us. He is God. He saved us by a miracle. He changed us wondrously. He didn’t just say, “You’re saved. Good luck with that, see ya in 60 years, hope you do well.” He made us a new creation. He transformed us and transforms us. He is with us. We were sinners, now we are blameless, forgiven, and righteous in His sight. We were dead, now we are alive. We are saved! Verses 9-15 read,
“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”
It doesn’t say, we were dead, raised to life and now have to stay on life support, following rules in order to stay born again. It says we were raised to life by faith in the powerful working of God! It says all our sins are erased. It says our debt is paid and we have no legal demands on us. God saved us supernaturally, He circumcised our hearts. No physical ritual can trump that or do what God has already done. Why beat ourselves up for sins that God has expunged? Why give license or power to the devil, demonic powers and worldly spirits when we have already triumphed over them through Jesus Christ?
Jesus is our Lord. We follow Him. There is one command. 1 John 3:23-24 puts it this way,
“And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.”
Don’t give in to someone telling you that you must follow a set of rules or customs to be saved. Follow Christ. You have His Spirit. Your Brothers and Sisters have His Spirit. Follow Jesus. Verses 16-19 read,
“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.
People come to us and say, “You’re doing it wrong! Christians can’t drink that, eat that, or go there.” They follow customs and philosophies. They follow ideas that sound good but are not from Christ. The Pharisees added rules and traditions in an attempt to ensure they were keeping the law and they ended up worshipping the laws and traditions instead of the Lord. Verses 20-23 say,
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.”
Following all those rules, might make us look more “Christian” but they won’t makes us more Christ-like. Severe self-discipline and forgoing all pleasure like asceticism seems right, but Jesus didn’t tell us to never enjoy life or to live in perpetual punishment. Where is the joy in that? There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. We are set free from the law of sin and death by the law of the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-2).