“Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Col 2,14-17)
Now what is problem with this text, some try to say (by this verses) that God’s Law (The Ten Commandments) was nailed to the cross (i.e. jehovah Witnesses), it’s important to notice that Paul here speaks about ordinances, not the commandments.
A New Testament study on the word “ordinance” as used in Colossians 2:14 reveals that the word is from the Greek “dogma” and refers to man written rules and regulations, not God’s. Throughout the New Testament where “ordinances” has been translated from “dogma,” the meaning is a civil, ceremonial, or ecclesiastical law, Strong’s Greek Dictionary No. 1378. The word has been used in only five other places in the New Testament and always refers to man-written laws.
If one were to say that these blotted-out ordinances were the Law of God, then we would be living in a totally lawless society. We are told in 1 John 3:4 that sin is the transgressing of the law. If we take away the law, we have nothing left to transgress; consequently, there is no sin.
When we come to verse 16 we understand on what kind of ordinances he speaks about, if we trust what Bible says, they are to do with:
d) new moon
e) sabbath days
Obviously these ordinances were in connection with the law of Moses. How can we know that? Bible speaks about it!
“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. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.” (Hebrews 10,1-4)
About which law does Paul talk when he speaks about ordinances (v. 14), meat, drink, holyday, new moon, sabbath days (v. 16) and sacrifices and goes on to say that they were “shadow of things to come” (v. 17)? It’s obvious that he speaks about the “law of Moses” and not about the Law of God – Ten commandments, that help us realize what the sin is (Rom 3,20)
Now the question comes, when Paul speaks about “sabbath days” (plural) is he speaking about the law of Moses, which was given after the fall in sin, with it’s many ordinances (including many yearly sabbath days), or about the “sabbath day” (singular) which was part of the God’s Law (Ten commandments) that existed long before those ordinances were given and which defines what the sin is?
Look at this! When God in Exodus 16 wanted to see if His people will obey His Law or not, he checked it out with Sabbath commandment. On sixth day they had twice as mana as usually, so they didn’t need to gather mana on Saturday (Sabbath).
This happened long before God gave to Moses list of holidays in Leviticus 23. Those holidays were known as yearly “sabbath days” (plural) and included “passover” (v. 5), “the feast of unleavened bread” (v. 6), “pentecost” (v.16), “day of atonement” (v. 27), “the feast of tabernacles” (v. 34) and were indeed part of the law of Moses, which was written by man, fulfilled in Christ and no more binding for Christians.
Those sabbath days have had only symbolic purpose, Christ was the perfect passover lamb, and he was the one who made real atonement. These holidays, “sabbath days” indeed were “a shadow of things to come”, just as were sacrifices which priests “offer continually year by year” as Paul says. This things were poinitng toward Jesus Christ and were just shadow, when the perfect Lamb came those “ordinances” lost their purpose.
However the “ordinances” were not “Ten commandments“, nor those yearly “sabbath days” are weekly “sabbath day“.
Many Christians today believe that “Ten commandments” are still in charge, I am the one of them. God never spoke about 10% discount so I keep the 4th commandment too (the one about sabbath). “God’s law” (which is perfect by the way) is still binding for Christians.
However we are not saved by keeping it. The Law tells us what sin is, and when we realise that we broke it we also relize that we need mercy. if there was no Law to condemn us, there would be no need for mercy.
Question that comes is following. Can we live in lawlessness and have assurance of salvation? God says no. The reason why jesus says that in the time just before he comes back there will be massive lawlessness is not the fact that Law was no more binding, but that people have rejected it. Many of whome were Christians.
Faith in Christ comes with obedience not lawlessness. If you want to be saved we need to “repent, and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:15), not just believe. Ofcourse God is the one that helps us to get rid of sins in our life, we don’t do it in our strength but in his.
Remember: “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” (1. John 3, 3-6)
John didn’t speak about beeing saved by keeping the Law, he spoke about the fact that those who are really in Christ, live according to God’s Law, not in lawlessness. later he explains that it is impossible to live in sins and in the same time be considered as a child of God. God wants you to repent and sin no more, no mather on what other people tell you.
Christians who reject Sabbath comandment simply ignore all this facts, and turn a blind eye toward this few verses and their context. One by one they websites use Col 2,14 to prove that Ten commandments are abolished (i.e. bible.ca), and Col 2,16 to prove that weekly Sabbath is no more to be kept (i.e. jesus-is-lord.com). However, understanding these verses on such a way has no basis in Scriptures and could, without a doubt be called “twisting” of God’s word.
There is even a gay Christian website (?!?!) that claims that Sabbath observance is no more, becouse of Jewish law (Law of Moses) is no more http://www.gaychristian101.com/Sabbath-keeping.html