“Don’t Handle, Don’t Taste, Don’t Touch” ( Colossians 2: 21, NIV ) by Carley Evans

“Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom,” says Paul. However, “they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” (Colossians 2:23) Instead, these rules calling for you to not handle, not taste and not touch create only a “self-imposed worship,” a “false humility” and offer only “harsh treatment of the body” without any lasting effect on the state of the soul. (Colossians 2:23)

“Do not let anyone,” says Paul, “judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17)

People get puffed up with false humility, warns Paul. They go on and on about conforming to rules and regulations, “which depend on human tradition.” (Colossians 2:8) Instead, rejoice that “God makes you alive with Christ. He forgives [you] all [your] sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that is against us and that stands opposed to us; He takes it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He makes a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-15)

Because God cancels the written code, why then put yourself back under that which has no authority?

“Watch Out” ( Galatians 5: 15, ESV ) by Carley Evans

Christ set us free from the law of sin and death and we are “not [to] submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1) Since we have died to the world in and through Christ, Paul wonders why we “submit to regulations” of the world as if we were still alive to the world. (Colossians 2:20) “For [we] are called to freedom, brothers, only [we are] not [to] use [our] freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love [we are to] serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13) In love, we serve one another and so fulfill “the whole law.” (Galatians 5:14)

In our efforts to conform to regulations which “indeed have an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but have no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:23); sometimes we attack one another. “But if [we] bite and devour one another, watch out that [we] are not consumed by one another.” Instead, we are called to “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” (Galatians 6:10) Notice Paul calls us to “do good to everyone.”

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

“Godliness Is Of Value In Every Way” ( 1 Timothy 4: 8, ESV ) by Carley Evans

Paul writes to Timothy, “Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: ‘He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.’ (1 Timothy 3:16) Then Paul warns that some in later times will “forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving.” (1 Timothy 4:3) In his letter to the Colossians, Paul writes, “Let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensual mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.” (Colossians 2:16-19) The rules and regulations these persons demand of you, says Paul, “have an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:23)

“Rather,” writes Paul to Timothy, “train yourself for godliness.” (1 Timothy 4:7) “Godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” “For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10)

The example Timothy is to set is “in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” (1 Timothy 4:12) The godliness he seeks is Christ Himself.

“Seven Abominations” ( Proverbs 6: 16, ESV ) by Carley Evans

“Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.”

God mentions eyes, tongue, hands, heart, feet, lungs, (arms, legs — think about it.) The abominations which God hates are essentially the body parts of people who practice: haughtiness, deceit, wicked scheming, perjury, murder of the innocent, glorying in evil, and the sowing of discord. Their opposites are people who practice: humility, truthfulness, glorying in goodness, faithfulness in witness, protecting the innocent, and the sowing of harmony.

Peter writes that we “through the knowledge of [Christ]” and “through [His] precious and very great promises become partakers of the divine nature.” (2 Peter 1:3,4) Because of this truth, Peter encourages us to “make every effort to supplement [our] faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7) We are not to “forget that [we] are cleansed from [our] former sins.” (2 Peter 1:9)

“Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation — if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3) For “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

“You have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” (Colossians 3:9-10) If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25)

“When We Were Still Powerless” ( Romans 5: 6 – 8, NEB ) by Carley Evans

“For at the very time when we were still powerless, then Christ died for the wicked [that is, for us]. Even for a just man one of us would hardly die, though perhaps for a good man one might actually brave death; but Christ died for us while we were yet sinners, and that is God’s own proof of His love towards us.”

When did God’s Son die for us? “When we were still powerless.” When we were “wicked,” “while we were yet sinners.” Why did God send His Son to die for us? Christ’s death “is God’s own proof of His love towards us.”

We didn’t earn God’s love. Rather, “in Christ He chose us before the world was founded, to be dedicated, to be without blemish in His sight, to be full of love; and He destined us — such was His will and pleasure — to be accepted as His sons through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3-5) “For it is by grace [we] are saved, through trusting Him; it is not [our] own doing.” (Ephesians 2:8) “God, rich in mercy, for the great love He bore us, brought us to life with Christ even when we were dead in our sins; it is by grace [we] are saved.” (Ephesians 2:4-5)

“And although [we] were dead because of [our] sins and because [we] were morally uncircumcised, [God] has made [us] alive with Christ. For He has forgiven us all our sins; He has canceled the bond which pledged us to the decrees of the law. It stood against us, but He has set it aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14)

We are free from the law of sin and death because Christ died for us — the ungodly, while we were still powerless. Praise be to God, our Lord and Savior.

“God Himself Keeping You Sound And Blameless” ( 1 Thessalonians 5: 23-24, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

“Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”


What a comforting thought Paul presents to us here, assuring us that God Himself sanctifies us “completely” — not partially. God is not halfhearted in the performance of His plan to make us holy. God also keeps our “spirits, souls, and bodies” “sound and blameless” in anticipation of the return of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul drives home this glorious truth by reminding us that God “who calls [us] is faithful.” Because God is faithful, He “will do it.”


“May [we] be strengthened with all power, according to [God’s] glorious might.” (Colossians 1:11) With God’s strength — His mighty power — we will walk according to His will, to the praise of His glory.


Jesus says, “You can do nothing without Me.” (John 15:5) And, He also commands,”Produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples.” (John 15:8)

“God’s Purpose Will Not Fail” ( John 1: 1 – 3, NEB ) by Carley Evans

John tells us: “When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was. The Word, then, was with God at the beginning, and through Him all things came to be; no single thing was created without Him.”


Paul reiterates that “it is in Christ that the complete being of the Godhead dwells embodied.” (Colossians 2:9)

Therefore, since Christ is God, “our release is secured and our sins are forgiven through the shedding of His blood.” (Ephesians 1:7) “In Christ indeed we have been given our share in the heritage, as was decreed in His design whose purpose is everywhere at work.” (Ephesians 1:11)


We need not worry. “We are citizens of heaven, and from heaven we expect our deliverer to come, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) “The Lord is near; have no anxiety.” (Philippians 4:6)


“Of one thing I am certain,” writes Paul, “the One who started the good work in you will bring it to completion by the Day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

“All Else Is Sinking Sand” ( Colossians 2: 6 – 7, NEB ) by Carley Evans

“Therefore, since Jesus is delivered to you as Christ and Lord, live your lives in union with Him. Be rooted in Him; be built in Him; be consolidated in the faith you are taught; let your hearts overflow with thankfulness.”


“In Him you are brought to completion,” writes Paul. (Colossians 2:10)


Add nothing to Christ. Live united to Him as a plant is to its root. He is your foundation; you are His building. What does a plant add to the root? What does a building do for its foundation? Christ is the vine; we are the branches.


“Christ has forgiven us all our sins; He has cancelled the bond which pledged us to the decrees of the law. It stood against us, but He has set it aside, nailing it to the cross. On that cross He discarded the cosmic powers and authorities like a garment; He made a public spectacle of them and led them as captives in His triumphal procession.” (Colossians 2:13-15)


The law has no power over us because Christ removed it “like a garment.” He literally tossed “it aside, nailing it to the cross.”


We live by faith. We are made complete in Christ.

“Aspire To The Realm Above” ( Colossians 3: 1, NEB ) by Carley Evans

Paul calls us to “aspire to the realm above.” John the Baptist says, “The kingdom of Heaven is upon you.” (Matthew 3: 2) Jesus says, “Is there a man of you who by anxious thought can add a foot to his height?” (Matthew 6: 27) Jesus points to the impossibility of anxiety changing our circumstances. He tells us our worries accomplish nothing of value, asking: “And why be anxious?” (Matthew 6: 27)


As we set our minds on things above, we are called to leave bitterness behind. Paul writes, “Have done with spite and passion, all angry shouting and cursing, and bad feeling of every kind.” (Ephesians 4: 31) We are instead to “be made new in mind and spirit, and put on the new nature of God’s creating.” (Ephesians 4: 23-24) We are not to lie but “speak the truth to each other.” (Ephesians 4:25) Whatever comes from our mouths should be “only what is good and helpful to the occasion, so that it brings a blessing to those who hear it.” (Ephesians 4: 29-30)


Jesus tells us, “‘You have learned that they were told, ‘Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you this: Do not set yourself against the man who wrongs you. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him your left. If a man wants to sue you for your shirt, let him have your coat as well. If a man in authority makes you go one mile, go with him two.’ ” (Matthew 5:38-42) Jesus commands us not to judge; rather we are to forgive. “For if you forgive others the wrongs they have done, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, then the wrongs you have done will not be forgiven by your Father.” (Matthew 6: 14-15)


As we “aspire to the realm above,” the things of the world become less compelling. The “bad feeling of every kind” is — hopefully — lessened.


Jesus asks us, “Why are you such cowards?” He exclaims, “How little faith you have!” (Matthew 8: 26-27) Yet, He calls us friends, saying, “Follow Me.” (Matthew 8: 22)


As Jesus’ friends, we need only pray: “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17: 5) Help us, Lord, to “aspire to the realm above.”