“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,”
Many people think that they are spiritual because they follow taboos. They don’t smoke cigars, and they don’t go with the girls who do! No Christian in his right mind ought to do this, but it is no proof that we are spiritual Christians.
This verse sets forth three negatives. These negatives give the impression that if we are Christian, we must give up pleasure in life. Pseudo spirituality revels in rules.
“Do not touch, “
“Touch” denotes to fasten oneself to. The idea is more than an inadvertent touch; it means to cling to. Under Jewish ceremonial law touching a dead body and anything offered to an idol was wrong.
“do not taste”
To taste forbidden food was sinful in Colosse. Today certain religious types would have us live on lettuce leaves and birdseed! To them, we cannot live a spiritual life without the denial of certain foods. There are many food taboos today.
“do not handle”
“Handle” indicates to handle superficially. Some religious people want us to take great care to practice the embellishments of religious ceremonies rather than their essence.
Christianity is not a religion of rules.
If gossip is part of our lives, we are clearly carnal. We can be as carnal as the devil himself and not smoke cigars. We must abandon the idea of spirituality in negative terms, “I can’t do this. I can’t do that.”
The genuine is more precious than the imitation. A real diamond is better than a glass diamond. Most people live their entire Christian lives with glass diamonds. They know little of vibrant spiritual life. Many live in the glass diamonds of legalism. Refraining from certain practices does not give us an “in” with God.
The devil always tries to move us toward tangents. We emphasize the negative and give our young people the impression that Christianity is a religion of reaction. That is why we lose them when they get to university. They see Christianity as a religious straitjacket from which they must escape. If only we could keep the wonder of fellowship with Jesus Christ before our young people!
The religious regulation approach to Christianity is entirely wrong: “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!” The practice of legalism shows us that we do not understand our death with Christ. To revert to legalism is to return to childlike behavior– thinking that God will be pleased by our negative approach to life.