Weekend Bible Study
Theme of the week: Losing My Religion
Saturday, March 24, 2012
In today’s Key Study Passage, Paul is once again reminding the Colossian church of their freedom in Christ. This passage was written in response to those who were adding religious requirements to the practice of Christianity in order to earn God’s favor. Legalistic regulations were replacing true faith in the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice. These regulations look effective at face value, but they are ineffective for changing hearts.
Key Study Passage:
- What are some rules and regulations that often replace devotion to God?
- How does the Bible address these rules and regulations? (See vv. 13-15, 20-23.)
- How can you tell if you’ve lost “connection with the head” (v. 19)? And how might that connection be restored once it is lost? (See also John 15:1-17; Eph. 4:11-16.)
- What does the way you live your life say about what you believe about the grace of God?
- How can you rest more fully in the finished work of Christ?
Spend Time in Prayer: Ask God to reveal any legalistic tendencies you might have; ask him to give you a fuller sense of his grace that will free you to live for him not out of a sense of duty, but rather out of gratitude for what he has done.
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 disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
16 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. 18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.
20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
Prayer for the Week
Savior, teach me that I cannot add anything to my salvation through my religion and good works. Help me to rest in the freedom of the gospel.
Copyright © 2012 by Christianity Today/Men of Integrity magazine.