Only God Can Judge Me
"Therefore do not let anyone 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 NIV "Only God Can Judge Me" is a phrase made popular in the 1990's by the late rap artist Tupac Shakur. Since that time the internet has been flooded with countless images and memes showing the pervasiveness of this unchecked idea. Of course on the surface, it may sound appealing to put off the judgments of our fellow man, but anyone with a true understanding of the Holiness of God wouldn't use such a phrase so cavalierly. For even if a man couldn't judge (although they can and should) God's judgment is nothing to be trifled with. It is perfectly just, perfectly holy and perfectly final. This is why the writer of Hebrews says, "It's a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God." People who assert such ideas often believe the Bible is on their side. Misquoting passages like what we read today in a futile attempt to live beyond accountability. Add to that an interpretation void of any cultural context and we arrive at any number of meanings that prove to be futile. In Pauls context, the people of Colossae kept Sabbath days, and other festivals in order to appease some of their long-held superstitious beliefs. They believed angels and other Supernatural forces were able to and responsible for regulating the calendar as well as determining a person's destiny. However and throughout Paul's letter, he has stated over and over to the church that they need not trust in anything or anyone but Jesus. This, of course, led to persecution and judgment from the people these young Christians once called friends. Therefore, Paul's appeal not to let anyone judge has absolutely nothing to do with some abstract idea that only God can judge. Instead, firmly rooted in the context of the first-century Colossians, Paul attempts to encourage Christians to continue walking in the freedom that they received in Christ despite being judged. Christians as a whole are instructed (by Jesus Himself) to rightly judge in an effort to hold one another accountable. Meanwhile, the Christian is free from the bondage of anything that serves to try and justify them apart from Christ. Religious festivals, celebrations and even Sabbath days were designed as Paul says to point to Jesus. Since Jesus is here, we no longer have to look through these old lenses. We now look through the lens of King Jesus alone. Questions to Consider: Void of context, what might we wrongly interpret "don't let anyone judge you" to mean? In context, what are some things we deal with that Paul's principle would cover?