Romans 14:5-6; Galatians 9:10-11; Colossians 2:16-17

 •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Is there any contradiction in the teaching of these several passages? That is impossible; but it is exceedingly interesting to trace out their connection. In. Col. 2 we have the consequence for the believer, in one aspect, of death with Christ. In Rom. 6 we are delivered from sin -in chap. 7 from the law— through having died with Him. But in Col. 2 we are delivered from man, whether it be on the side of philosophy or of religion. As dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, we are not "as alive in the world" to be subject to ordinances. No human precepts or religious rites or observances have thus any claim upon the believer, because, through death with Christ, he has passed altogether out from under the yoke of the first man. He acknowledges, on the new ground of death and resurrection with Christ, the authority of Christ alone. Everything else, however, sacred from long usage, all "the traditions of the elders," he entirely refuses, even the meats, drinks, holy days, new moons, and Sabbaths of Judaism; for they have now become to him but "rudiments of the world," and were never, at any time, more than a shadow of things to come, while the body is of Christ. (v. 17)
In Galatians the apostle had to encounter a strenuous effort to re-impose the yoke of Judaism on the saints, and this he would not bear with for a moment. It was a total denial of grace, and hence he does not hesitate to withstand even Peter to the face, "because he was to be blamed" for countenancing the Judaistic spirit, which led to a distinction between Jewish and Gentile believers. (See chap. 2) When therefore these teachers of the circumcision made Jewish observances obligatory, the apostle declares that they were turning again to the beggarly elements, unto which they sought again to be in bondage; and he says, "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain." (Chapter 4:10,11) No quarter would he give to the imposition of such a yoke.
Passing now to the Romans, the case is very different'. It is here a question of one who was "weak in the faith" (v. 1); and such was to be received, but not "to doubtful disputations." He might as yet be undelivered from many things, as was often the case with Jewish converts; he might still be entangled with many a Jewish habit as to meats, and as to the observance of holy days. Still, such an one was to be received, borne with, even while seeking to lead him on to the full truth of the Christian position; and the apostle reminds us that we are not to judge another man's servant, or' set at naught our brother, or put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his way. In a word, weak consciences are to be respected (vv. 20, 21), and the strong must bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please themselves, incited to this course by the blessed example of Christ, who pleased not Himself, but, as it is written, ".the reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me." (Chapter 15:1-3)