The Berean Expositor
Volume 25 - Page 68 of 190
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things, why are you submitting yourselves to ordinances such as touch not, taste
not, handle not, things which, as they are used, pass away? These things are
merely the commands and doctrines of men. The whole thing is the form without
the power: a show of wisdom, but really self-imposed systems of worship that
cannot prove acceptable. The Father must be worshipped in Spirit and in truth by
the true circumcision, who have no confidence in the flesh.
All this harsh treatment of the body and enforced humility is vain. It does not
render the honour that the body of the redeemed should have, and, by the fact
that it attempts that which Christ alone can accomplish, really ministers to the
satisfying of the flesh, in spite of all protestation to the contrary.
We now have to consider the positive aspect of the apostle's teaching, which
commences with Col. 3: 1, and shall learn that there is a true "mortifying of the flesh",
but that it comes in its true and significant order. This we hope to take up in our next
#31.  The only true ground for sanctification.
"Things above . . . . . where Christ sitteth" (3: 1-4).
pp. 89 - 94
With the opening sentence of Col. 3: the apostle turns from "warning every man" to
"teaching every man", that he may "present every man perfect in Christ Jesus"
(Col. 1: 28). His warning has taken into account philosophy, tradition and the "elements
of the world", and has shown them to be vain. All rites and ceremonies give place to
union with the risen Christ and must be relegated to the past; they are but shadows of
things to come. Neglect of the body and mere asceticism are but a show of wisdom and
humility; sanctification is not found in that direction. Sanctification, as Col. 2: reveals,
is intimately associated with the fullness of Christ. This we shall see as we proceed.
Glancing back to the passage already alluded to (Col. 1: 28), we observe that the apostle
does something more than "warn" and "teach", he prefaces both with "preaching":
"Whom we preach."
True assurance comes from the acknowledgment that Christ fills out the secret
purpose of God (Col. 2: 2). Subsequent "walk" is but the everyday apprehension of what
Christ is and can be to all His own:--
"As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus for your Lord, in Him walk" (Col. 2: 6).
In place of philosophy, tradition and the "elements of the world", the apostle places
Christ. He meets all their empty claims with the words, "And not after Christ"
(Col. 2: 8), stressing His "fullness" as over against the vanity or "emptiness" of all
besides. Instead of vainly attempting in the strength of the flesh (religious though that
flesh may be, and as unsparing to itself as the most extreme asceticism would demand)
the apostle speaks of "putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ"