Text: Colossians 2:8-15, Matthew 15:1-9, Romans 7:4
Have you ever seen a throw pillow with something like “sticky baseboards and messy laundry means you really love your family” embroidered on it? That kind of talk really burns my buttons. I like to think there is a direct correlation between clean floors and a well-loved family. I feel this so strongly, I have tried to enforce daily cleaning chores.
EVERYONE MUST CLEAN, I declare, and start drilling my six-year-olds on sanitation protocols and urging my four-year-old to truly attend to the crumbs under the chair legs. By the time the house is clean, my oldest is a griefy mess and my long-suffering husband wishes I could have just let well enough alone. I am a ridiculous Faires-Pharisee about the whole thing. (My last name is Faires. Sometimes the pun is a little too close for comfort.)
When all is said and done, my house is very clean, doggone it. But my people are all wilted and miserable. In my passion to love my family by working together and making our home clean, I can totally miss the point of loving my family. I get all turned around and fixated on the sticky floors and the messy laundry instead of the people. Clean floors are so awesome, but in getting there, I lose sight of why we clean floors in the first place—for people.
The folks in Colossae were missing the point too. It’s so easy to do. They were fixated on checking off their boxes on their salvation to-do list. Those guys couldn’t let go of their idea of how salvation ought to be achieved—through the law. So instead of looking up from their busy law-attending to see the true freedom given through Christ, they created more and more rules for themselves.
The Colossians believed their salvation was incomplete without a little extra action on their part. In effect, they were saying, Christ did a great job and all, sure, but we still need to hustle and bustle to complete the salvation package. But this is not only exhausting, it’s heresy (Galatians 2:16).
Paul said we are complete in Christ. Christ erased the certificate of debt (Colossians 2:14). We can’t erase our own debt, but Christ wiped away everyone’s outstanding balance in one fell stroke. We couldn’t pay our own debt because we were dead in our trespasses.
We can’t climb out of our own graves by trying really hard—we are dead. Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah in Matthew 15:8 when he reminds us:
“These people honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. They worship Me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commands of men.”
What simultaneous censure and freedom is found in these words! Don’t worry, Christ has already fulfilled the law for you. So keep your britches on and don’t go out and create your own pseudo rules for salvation.
Therefore, my brothers, you also were put to death in relation to the law through the crucified body of the Messiah, so that you may belong to another—to Him who was raised from the dead—that we may bear fruit for God.
- Romans 7:4
Gimme that embroidered on a pillow!