Spiritual, not physical *Verses in New Living Translation*
Read Colossians 2:11-17
#1. Your spiritual flesh being cut away, not physical.
– Col. 2:11, When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.
– “Sinful nature” Literally: “cutting away of the body of the flesh”, believers have metaphorical flesh cut away.
– This was the symbol of the covenant that God made with Abraham in Genesis chapter 17, to make him father of many nations. All boys from then on would wear this symbol. This symbolizes removing the old identity, and now being identified as one of God’s children.
– But even for then, this physical act was not intended to be all God required.
– Deuteronomy 10:12-16, 12 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you? He requires only that you fear the Lord your God, and live in a way that pleases him, and love him and serve him with all your heart and soul. 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good. 14 “Look, the highest heavens and the earth and everything in it all belong to the Lord your God. 15 Yet the Lord chose your ancestors as the objects of his love. And he chose you, their descendants, above all other nations, as is evident today. 16 Therefore, change your hearts[c] and stop being stubborn.
– Literally: “Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer.”
– Even from the beginning, this ritual was not about the ritual; it’s about what it represents.
– Romans 2:25-29,The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God’s law. But if you don’t obey God’s law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised Gentile. 26 And if the Gentiles obey God’s law, won’t God declare them to be his own people? 27 In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God’s law will condemn you Jews who are circumcised and possess God’s law but don’t obey it. 28 For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. 29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praisefrom God, not from people.
– You must “cut out” all of the old flesh, giving it no chance to grow back:
– EXAMPLE: YouTube, Dr. Pimple Popper, you have to remove the whole cyst sack or it will return, and fill up with puss again.
– Romans 6:2, Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?
– When you are “saved”, it means you are New, and your life should change. You resist sin, and fight against the old sick and sinful flesh!
– 2 Corinthians 5:17, This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!
#2. Spiritual death and burial, not physical.
– Col. 2:12-15, For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. 13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmedthe spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
– These are the foundational concepts of our Christian beliefs:
– You were spiritually dead in your sin. Jesus physically died on the cross to become the all sufficient blood sacrifice for you, and all sin of the world.
– Jesus’ blood forgave your sin, and cancelled our debt, and Him rising from the dead brings you eternal life too.
– Through baptism, you ceremonially experience Christ’s physical death, and “buried” under the water, then raised out of the water to a “new life” lived for Jesus.
– But just like with circumcision, it is meaningless as a ritual by itself, and only has meaning when combined with true faith and heart change.
– EXAMPLE: Getting married to Shonda Otis in middle school “Home Ec” class. Full ceremony, said all the words, but it was meaningless because our hearts were not in it. It was just for show.
– Romans 6:3-6, Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. 6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.
#3. Spiritual reassurance, not physical rituals.
– Col. 2:16-17, So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality.
– In this culturally and religiously diverse area, many of the people’s past practices have worked their way in to their new Christian faith. Condemning others for not adopting their rituals is like peer pressure. The more rituals you observe, the more holy you must be, right?
– EXAMPLE: Fire Service culture: “100 years of tradition unimpeded by progress.”
– You are not a real firefighter unless you… drive a big red truck, have a mustache, know construction… you are a big, tough, smoke eater who fears nothing!
– After house fire, shoring floor for investigators, I wore an SCBA which was NOT the norm!
– Why are you doing what you are doing? Because everyone else is? Personal conviction? Or to honor God? Intent is the important thing.
– Romans 14:2-3,For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them.
– This passage is NOT about being a vegan. It has to do with religious reasons.
– Romans 14:5-8, In the same way, some think one day is more holy than another day, while others think every day is alike. You should each be fully convinced that whichever day you choose is acceptable. 6 Those who worship the Lord on a special day do it to honor him. Those who eat any kind of food do so to honor the Lord, since they give thanks to God before eating. And those who refuse to eat certain foods also want to please the Lord and give thanks to God. 7 For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. 8 If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
EXAMPLE: Amish, willing to resist all modern culture to honor God and obey the Bible, but even then, motives matter, and observances in themselves do honor God without the right heart condition.
– “So don’t let anyone condemn you…” because Christ is all sufficient:
– 1 Peter 1:3-4,By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
– Man’s rules and the culture’s expectation can’t make you more holy or more loved by God.
– Galatians 3:3, How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?
– Grace motivated obedience to Jesus Christ is the key. Pray, Fast, Read, and seek Him.
– Alter call and closing prayer –
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