Self-Worship, Angel Worship, Food, Days, and Other Regulations

Self-Worship, Angel Worship, Food, Days, and Other Regulations

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Colossians 2:16-23Let 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. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
Colossians 2:16-23

banana splitThis isn’t a popular passage for those who push various Old Testament ordinances as though failure to observe them is somehow costing a person their eternal salvation. Here, Paul is extending to Gentile believers the ability to observe or to not observe such ordinances as they choose and not to allow others to judge them for their choices. Unfortunately, we have a lot of people casting negative judgement on each other for not observing this or that day, or this or that ordinance, including what is or is not eaten. Paul had a name for the loudest voices around this in his day, he called them “Judiazers”. Even today, we have groups of people getting into angel worship, regardless of Scripture’s warning not to do so.

The New American Standard Version interprets the Greek for Colossians 2:23 this way:

“These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.”

Will worship, or self-made religion. If I had to rephrase “will worship” as a term myself, I’d reword it to “worship of self” or “worship of self-will”. We sometimes call a person wilful or strong-willed or weak-willed, and there is much self-worship going on these days and even taught in Christian circles, particularly in the counseling and life coaching spaces.

In writing to Timothy his second letter, Paul says:

“II Timothy 3:2 – 9:
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.”

When you'd rather be in the mountains

A Christianity that puts self at the center is not putting Christ at the centre. Today’s counselling and life coaching is all about getting the person to love themselves and put themselves first before anyone else, that God is there to lavish on them whatever their heart desires, that the Christian life should be one of ease and blessing, and the list goes on. I’ve seen meme after meme, quote after quote, and occasionally sat under people teaching these things!

But as much as we live in the age of information now, Paul rails that such people are ever learning and never coming to knowledge of the truth, why? Because they act as Jannes and Jambres did in opposing Moses. They resisted the truth! Paul writes in Romans 1, that those who harden their hearts against God are turned over to reprobate minds to do unseemly things in their bodies and against each other. We are seeing this outside Church walls, but also seeing it inside church walls as people who lead deviant lifestyles are given positions of leadership, allowed to be guests behind the pulpit, etc.

The steadfast believer today, needs to take Paul’s words to heart that much the more, and seek to put Christ where He belongs on the throne of the heart, obeying Him only, living for Him first and foremost, regardless of what others think around them.

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