Church Education Resource Ministries



Freedom from Legalism through
Freedom in Christ
Col 2:8,14,20-23


Theme- Legalism is unbiblical


Introduction- Paul in the passage is addressing the Colossian Heresy. Some of the elements of the heresy are Ceremonialism, Asceticism, Angel Worship, Depreciation of Christ, Secret Knowledge and Reliance on human wisdom and tradition. Although the Colossian Heresy is no longer being taught today, some forms of the lie still exist in movements like Seventh-day Adventism and Christian Fundamentalism. Legalism must be combated and opposed for it leads people astray and apart from Grace.


I. Refraining from legalizers (v.8,14).
A. The legalizers sought to take people captive through their philosophies that depended on human tradition and the principles of this world (v.8).
B. Christ gives the believer freedom from legalism by his bloodshed death on the cross. He canceled all the rules and regulations that were to be kept prior to his death (v.14).

Seventh-day Adventists and Christian Fundamentalists may not believe that one needs to hold to tradition in order to be saved, what they do believe is that one needs to hold to their traditionalism in order to be holy and sanctified in God’s eyes. For example there are Seventh-day Adventists that wont condemn others that eat meat to hellfire, what they will do is separate from them, because they are “weaker disobedient brethren.” Fundamentalists on the other hand may not associate with believers that worship in a contemporary style and or go to movies. Neither approach is Biblical.

II. Believers have died with Christ and are no longer under the power of the evil powers of this world (v.20-22).
A. Paul was addressing the lies of the Colossian Heresy, which addresses asceticism in this passage.
B. Asceticism arises out of guilt, but Christ has taken away all human guilt by his death (Col 2:13-14).

III. Asceticism and other legalistic teachings are man-made system of rules based on human commands and teachings. (v.23).
A. Man made moral rules and religion has an appearance of wisdom, but cannot restrain sensual indulgence.
B. Legalist types do not understand grace, liberty, freedom nor principles, but instead have to live by tons of rules and codes.
C. The message of the cross is grace and freedom from human regulation through Jesus Christ.


Conclusion- Legalists try and be more righteous than others by all their rules and codes of conduct. But what they are really missing is GRACE and FREEDOM. In Christ there is no longer any need to live by man-made religious rules. Laws that are not based on scripture should be dismissed. The Bible does not teach that Christian must abstain from certain foods, practice asceticism, Christians must wear a suit and tie to church, must only worship in a traditional form without emotion, or other such man made rules. Jesus himself broke traditions and culture norms left on right, and followers of Christ must not be bound by them, but must have freedom in Christ, as long as that freedom does not equate to disobedience of the scriptures.

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