The Power of Treasuring Christ


As we continue to look at Colossians 2, we look specifically at verses 18-19 today. In order for us to grow as believers and experience real power and change in our lives, we must individually and corporately hold fast and treasure Christ and the gospel as the real source of power, which means humbly letting go of human traditions and wisdom as a means of progress and holiness in the life of a believer. Christ is enough. Unrivaled.

Though there are many substitutes and counterfeit things that grab our focus and attention and undermine the sufficiency of Christ and His work, Paul is focused on one particular area here as we have seen, that of legalism. What Paul says here is that we must loosen our grip on self (legalism) and grab tightly to Christ, cling to Christ (faith).

Satan seeks to do anything he can to get us to loosen our grip and hold and trust and reliance upon Christ in any way he can, even as subtly as simply trusting in our obedience to make us righteous before God. Satan does this thru trickery and schemes and masquerading as angels of light. Seeking to defraud us of our true freedom and completeness we have in Christ by looking somewhere else for true fulfillment and completeness apart from Christ.

The goal behind all of this is to take our focus off of Christ and His sufficiency and supremacy and the completeness of His work. We allow Christ to have rivals in our lives, namely self. Our own power and ability begins to rival Christ’s. We become our own idol. We begin to be lord of our lives. A pride is wrongly sourced.

Back to the sublety of legalism and how Satan is a schemer and so slick in his deceptions – legalism doesn’t explicitly deny Jesus – the legalist won’t say it is laws instead of Jesus. They are not saying that, “It is the law of Moses instead of Jesus.” These false teachers in Colossae are not saying, “Forget about the cross. Forget about His life. Forget about His resurrection. It’s all about circumcision. It’s all about keeping the Law of Moses.” They weren’t saying those things. They were saying, “it’s Jesus plus circumcision. Jesus plus keeping the law of Moses.” They weren’t setting out to deny Christ in and of Himself. They were just saying, “He is not enough. It’s Jesus plus something.” And something else supplants Christ as supreme and sufficient.

Look at v. 18 – we begin to delight in and the focus becomes what self can do and accomplish. The word there literally points to a “wrongly directed humility”. It is pride in self-discipline. Flesh is trusted and relied upon versus Christ. Again, externals are in mind here. We take a stand (v. 18c) upon things other than Christ alone. Sourced in the flesh and human wisdom.

Why are we so tempted here? Legalism is rooted in our desire for acceptance before God. We want God to like us. We want God to approve of us, and we know that God likes holiness, and God likes righteousness, and God likes all of these things.

So, we just connect the dots and say, “You know if God likes that, and if I do more of that, then God’s going to like me more, and God’s going to love me more, and God’s going to approve of me more, and He’s going to think of me more, and He’s going to accept me more if I just do all these things.” Every believer here tends towards that. Even good things can become bad here because they lesson the work of Christ.

And in any case, whatever form it may take on in our lives, it is attacking Christ as our treasure. Christ ceases to be unrivaled, number one, supremely adequate. We begin to doubt His goodness and sufficiency and replace our dependency upon Christ with self-dependency. Mere externals we can do in our flesh and own strength become our identity and source of security.

What this exposes is unbelief. The root of all legalism and self-righteousness is unbelief. Hear this. See it in the text. Self-orientation of legalism and externals. Power of self over the power of God thru Christ. We fail to rely upon God’s power and replace it with our own. We do not believe Christ is enough. So we help Him out. Not totally deny, just help out.

The root is unbelief – unbelief in regards to the truth that it is truly God who is at work in us and unbelief in relation to others that God is working in them also. And so we make up all these extras to get us to where we think we need to be thru external rules and such rather than trusting God to get us there. Christ is enough for us and others

Acts 15:11; Gal. 2:16 – do we trust this?

Beyond simply initial salvation, Paul is saying, don't sacrifice your freedom in Christ as a believer by submitting your life to a bunch of man