Avoid the Extremes

Dan Unekis

READ : Colossians 2:13-23

Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom . . . but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (v. 23 NIV)

A pastor once told me that living as a Christian is like walking on a tightrope with perilous falls on either side. I often find myself tempted to turn toward unhealthy extremes in the faith rather than trying to stay on a “straight and narrow” road.

In this section of Colossians Paul tackles a difficult issue. Paul knows that moral guidelines are helpful and necessary in the Christian life, but he is also aware of our tendency to try to earn our own righteousness by following rigid rules. Much like the Colossians, one extreme we must guard against is the belief that we can earn our salvation through good works. It is dangerous and fundamentally wrong to think that we can earn salvation on account of our righteousness. The other extreme was the error of the Corinthian Christians, who heralded their freedom in Christ as an excuse for indulging in sin.

Our goal as Christians should be to celebrate our freedom in Christ. However, this should not be used to “satisfy the flesh,” but rather, “to serve one another humbly in love” (Gal. 5:13 NIV). It is through our rootedness in Christ that we will be able to discern the difference between submitting to worldly rules that “lack any value in restraining from sensual indulgence” and submitting to God’s non-burdensome commands that demonstrate our love for God (1 John 5:3).


God, help us understand the freedom you give us.