Old Testament: Jeremiah 6:16-8:7
Jeremiah 6:16-8:7 Almost Cut Their Hair
Jeremiah continues to warn Judah that if they don’t change their evil ways, they were be destroyed.
Chap. 6:1-21 Yahweh continues to warn Judah but they won’t listen. They are “rejected silver” (v. 30).
Chap. 7 Judgment is coming on Judah and Jeremiah is commanded not to even pray for them because of their idolatry (v. 16). The people are told to cut their hair as a sign of repentance (v. 29). Yahweh says Judah has done “evil” things (v. 30). Judgment is coming (vv. 32-34).
Chap. 8:1-7 The people will be left as “bones” (v. 1) and “dung on the ground” (v. 2). Animals have more sense than the people of Judah (vv. 4-7).
New Testament: Colossians 2:8-23
Colossians 2:8-23 Getting Their Phil
No one hardly studies philosophy anymore but they did in Paul’s age. It didn’t get them anywhere (v. 8).
Christ was completely God as well as completely man. That is how He was able to be the perfect sacrifice for us, representing God as perfection and man as . . . well, man (v. 9). Christ is the supreme authority over everyone and everything (v. 10). Believers are circumcised, spiritually speaking, in that our sin and our old nature are removed from us (v. 11). We were baptized or identified with Christ when we were baptized by the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor. 12:13). God made us alive with Christ and forgave all our sins (v. 13). God “cancelled out” our “debt” and “nailed it to the cross (v. 14). As someone has said, “He paid a debt He didn’t owe, because we owed a debt we couldn’t pay.”
Victorious warriors of that time would parade their captives behind them in parades to show that they had conquered them. Paul portrays Christ as a victorious conqueror who trails the defeated demons behind Him to exhibit His triumph publicly (v. 15).
The Colossians were struggling with asceticism which was closely related to the Greek philosophy of Stocism. Stoics found virtue in abstaining from certain pleasures. On the other hand, Epicureans delighted in wallowing in pleasure.
The Colossians did not have to celebrate any special holidays, the Saturday Sabbath, or abstain from foods or drinks (v. 16). All of the Mosaic law was foreshadowing the coming of Christ and acted as a tutor to show the Jews their need of Christ (v. 17, cf. Gal. 3:24).
Christ should be the center of life. He is the one who causes the fellowship of believers to mature (v. 19). Paul does not want false teachers to lead them astray by imposing legalisms and worship of demons (v. 18). This kind of behavior could lead to loss of rewards at the bema judgment seat (v. 18, “defrauding you of your prize,” cf. Rom. 14:10, 1 Cor. 3:10-15, 2 Cor. 5:10). The legalistic teachers were apparently teaching the Colossians to submit to all kinds of asceticism involving food and behavior (cf. vv. 21-22). They seem to make people more spiritual but really have no effect on our old nature and don’t make us better in any way (v. 23). Today cults may encourage special observances and legalisms but Solomon said long ago, “Be not righteous overmuch, and do not make yourself overwise; why should you destroy yourself? (Eccl. 7:16 RSV).