Misunderstood Verses of the New Testament - Week 10
In this, the final week of our series Misunderstood Verses of the New Testament, we are going to briefly look at the common misunderstandings of Colossians 2:16 and James 2:14-26. Is Colossians 2 really indicating to no longer observe the dietary instructions, feasts of God and His Sabbath? Is James really saying salvation comes by works?
Let us know your thoughts on this week's posting and the series in general. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!
Problem: So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
Some read this verse then say, “You don’t have to let someone judge you because you’re not following the Sabbath on Saturday now or what you are eating. Now it’s all about following Christ”
Solution: Colossians 2:8 - See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on HUMAN tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.
Colossians 2:16 is actually Paul encouraging the believers to not let people judge them because they ARE observing the right day as found in the instructions of the Lord. We must not forget the instructions of Paul just 8 verses before in Colossians 2:8, it’s the context...The instructions of the Lord are not even close to being hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world. For more on this topic please see our teachings: Colossians 2, Brit Hadasha Series part 3: Nailed to the Cross, and The Sabbath Day.
Problem: verse 24 - You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
Some believe James is saying salvation comes only by faith AND works.
Reread verse 24, it is not saying anything about salvation. This subject of this verse is justification, being shown as righteous. According to Deuteronomy 6:25 righteousness is observance/walking in/obeying the Torah. James identifies this as the “works”. One is not saved by what they do. One is saved by faith as explained Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 4:5. What one does, their works, proves their faith. Thus, if someone has no works in their “faith,” then that faith is dead. As we often say, “Faith is the root. Obedience is the fruit.”