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Read Introduction to Colossians


“So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths.”


in food or in drink

Christians are free from the legalistic requirements concerning food (Rom. 14:1-4). The terms “food” and “drink” refer to the acts of eating and drinking. It is not a question of food or drink; it is a matter of ascetic attitudes toward them. Romans 14 addresses this issue:

1Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. 2For one believes he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him. 4Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.”

Other passages make the same point: 

“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

“But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse” (1 Corinthians 8:8).

Food is a nonissue in the Christian life.

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

The glory of God is the operating principle to resolve all disputes over food and drink.

We may eat all foods so long as we eat them with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:3).

“or regarding a festival”

In order, we have annual, monthly, and weekly religious celebrations in this verse.

Israel had three special feasts a year: Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles. The first and last days of these feasts were holy. They did no manual labor during the feasts.

In the New Testament era, we observe no feasts. Religious days such as Christmas, Easter, Lent, Maundy Thursday, Ash Wednesday, and Good Friday are inventions of men. The Bible does not give the day that the Lord Jesus was born. We commemorate the resurrection every Sunday, not just one day a year. There are always those who pay their annual respect to God on Easter. Everyone likes something special. For one day a year, they are on their best behavior and manners as if this impresses God. Nowhere in the New Testament does God present special days as a standard of Christianity.

“or a new moon”

The “new moon” was celebrated by blowing trumpets, special sacrifice, feasting, and religious instruction. Religious authorities went into great pain to fix the commencement of the month. They suspended manual labor and did not permit national or private feasts on the new moon.

Also, incipient Gnosticism of the Lycus Valley had its systems of new moon worship as well. The new moon may affect our romantic life, but there is no significance in it to Christianity.


Rituals can destroy the vitality of our faith.


Religious mechanisms can attack our faith. If we place particular value on religious apparatus rather than upon the person of Christ, we lose the reality of Christianity. Many people give up food for Lent. Others wear uniforms or unique clothing. Earlier this century, many evangelicals would not travel on Sunday or enter an establishment that sold liquor. Some Christians even chant mantras believing that God will specially bless them.

The moment we think that our religion can commend us to God, we miss the boat about how to live the Christian life.