There was a lot of numptiness in Paul’s day just as ours. Paul warns his readers not to get taken captive by them. Then he lists what some of the numptiness is…
- Docetic Jesus, v.9 – Some people believed that Jesus wasn’t fully in the flesh, he just looked like a person;
- Jesus not God, v.9 – Some people believed that Jesus wasn’t fully and eternally God.
In Him, all the fullness of deity dwells bodily. Jesus is 100% God and 100% man.
- Circumcision, v.11 – Some were insisting on Jewish identity markers to show a Christian was part of the people of God. No! External circumcision was a picture, a shadow of circumcised hearts.
We are fully identified with Christ – not by externals, but by faith, which means:
We have been buried with Him in baptism – your old ‘you’ is dead and buried;
We have been raised with Him – your new self is born again!
We were dead in sin and are now alive in Christ;
All your sins are forgiven;
The debt of sin is cancelled once and for all;
The devil’s hold and power over you was disarmed when Christ made a spectacle of him and triumphed over him.
- Food and drink laws – more external markers. Peter saw a vision (Acts 10:10-16) that released us from food law – enjoy the hog roast, local Norfolk mussels and black pudding on your fry up. Hallelujah!
- Sabbaths and festivals – again more external markers to show that you were part of the old covenant people of God. If you don’t take a day off a week, you will burn out and get ill. But we are not marked out as the people of God by rigidly following the Sabbath – that was just a shadow of the permanent sabbath rest from work that we enjoy by being saved by grace.
- Asceticism – people seemed to go from licentiousness – anything goes sexually, to asceticism – self denial and abstinence to make you holy. Neither is good. Sex within marriage is wonderful. Enjoy!
- Angel worship – We worship Jesus, not his special messengers. We don’t boast of any experiences like trances or visions as marks of being holy, puffing ourselves up with what encounters we have had. Encounters are great, but they are not markers of how spiritual or holy you are.
None of those things are of any value in your walk with Christ or resisting the flesh. Faith in Jesus and being filled with the Spirit are what counts!