Colossians 2:17

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Colossians 2:17

This verse clearly explains what the items mentioned in verse 16 were… mere shadows. Each looked forward to Christ in a unique way, and each found its fulfillment in Christ. The word skia, or shadow, means “the shadow of a looming presence.” Figuratively, it looks to a spiritual reality relating to God’s light or spiritual darkness. The foods prescribed or forbidden under the law, the feast days of the Lord, the New Moon celebrations, and the Sabbath days all only looked forward as shadows, “but the substance is of Christ.” The word substance, or soma, means a physical body. Christ embodies what these things only looked forward to.

Paul is saying that if we have the reality of what these things only pictured, then why would we fall back on the pictures? Why would anyone mandate Sabbath observance, when Christ is our Sabbath rest (Hebrews 4:3)? The author of Hebrews repeats this idea of shadow verses substance as well –

For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this One also have something to offer. For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. Hebrews 8:3-6


For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. Hebrews 10:1

We are being told time and again that we are to put out trust in Christ, and to not fall back on the law, a law which could save no one. It is plain, it is clear, and it is not complicated.

Life application: If you are following a teacher or preacher who reintroduce things from the law as necessary requirements for being saved, you are following a heretic. The law is fulfilled in Christ. Get away from that guy. Run, don’t walk.

Heavenly Father, gracious God, thank You for our ability to pursue knowledge, and to seek out understanding of things. It is always a delight to learn more. And yet, help us to apply our knowledge rightly by seeking out how to correctly apply it towards a proper fear of You, pursuing You because of what we know. Help us to be people of faith, growing in faith, and drawing nearer to You moment by moment. Amen.

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