Grace Family Bible Church

Let No Man Judge

By: Scott Morton


Colossians 2:16-17

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: [17] Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.


The Apostle Paul speaks here about the idea of being judged related to certain things. There is an issue with this, as individuals always like to judge those who are members of the Body of Christ. They see the liberty we have today (1 Corinthians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 10:23) and feel this is the wrong way to go about things. Since they are teaching an individual needs to be under the law (either to achieve salvation or maintain salvation) they are creating confusion for individuals.


Our salvation has nothing to do with a performance system (Ephesians 2:8-9). We need to put our trust in the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) in order to have salvation, with there being a guarantee of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). This means we are not to worry about the performance of these issues.


The things the Apostle Paul has listed out here were all part of Israel's program and the performance of the law. These were things which were used to measure how faithful someone was to God and if they were truly a believer. The blessings of God (Deuteronomy 28:1-14) would have been present for any individual who would have been doing these things.


The first of these ideas was food. Paul is stating there should be no judgment related to what somebody is eating. This was something that had been going on during the ministry of the Apostle Paul:


Romans 14:1-3

Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. [2] For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. [3] Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.


Here the Apostle Paul is showing what had been going on. There were some people who were weak in the faith (eating herbs) and some who were strong in the faith (eating all things). These are two different sets of instructions, which can both be found in the Bible. There must have been some judgment of each other going on at this point, as he has to give instructions to them about what they are not supposed to do.


There is another passage where the Apostle Paul is speaking about the judgment related to eating certain things. This one speaks of those who were eating things which had been offered in the pagan worship:


1 Corinthians 8:4-8

As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. [5] For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) [6] But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. [7] Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. [8] But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse.


Those who were in the local assembly at Corinth were looking at each other over this issue. They were holding each other to a standard which the Apostle Paul was not instructing them to do. It was apparently such a major concern that they had written to him to ask what they were supposed to be doing in this instance. This concern led to Paul having to address what was going on and correct their behavior.


The Bible is very clear about what an individual is allowed to eat. There are several different passages which are given about this topic. The problem many people have about this is they fail to understand how to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15), which causes much of the confusion. They feel the passages contradict (if they are trying to apply everything in the Bible to them) or they start picking the passage which they like the best. Each of the passages which deal with eating applied to the people being spoken to at that time.


Genesis 1:26-30

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. [29] And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. [30] And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.


This passage is speaking about Adam and would have been the original creation. At the very beginning, man was instructed to only eat plants. This would have been true of the entire creation, as there was no death before the fall.


This instruction carries on until after the flood. So, roughly for 2000 years the only thing man was eating was the plant life. The change after the flood is recorded in the instructions God gives to Noah:


Genesis 9:1-4

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. [2] And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. [3] Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. [4] But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.


The instructions to Noah have changed at this point. It no longer is just the plants that man is allowed to eat. Man is also given permission to eat every moving thing. There are no restrictions which are being put on man at this point.


This continues until the law is put in place. Once Israel is being given the law, there is a new set of instructions related to what is allowed to eat.


Leviticus 11:1-8

And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them, [2] Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. [3] Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat. [4] Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. [5] And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. [6] And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you. [7] And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you. [8] Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.


This entire chapter lays out restrictions on what man is allowed to eat. There are certain animals which are given for man to eat (clean) and certain ones which man was not allowed to eat (unclean). It was very clear for Israel on what they were supposed to do in this context. If they were to eat any of the animals which were considered to be unclean, they would have committed a sin and would have had to have performed the sacrifice to take care of this.


This continues all the way to the current dispensation. The Apostle Paul is given our instructions and one of the things which he does deal with is the diet of the believer:


1 Timothy 4:1-5

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.


The Apostle Paul tells us we have the liberty to eat all things. The only restriction being given is the believer is to receive all food with thanksgiving and prayer. The dispensational changes each contain instructions on what a believer is supposed to do in this area. We are to make sure we are following the proper set of instructions, which will cause us not to be judged. The believer cannot be judged if they are following the things laid out in this dispensation, as these are the things which are of faith (Romans 14:23), which is the only way we can be pleasing to God.


The next issue the Apostle Paul brings up is being judged in drink. This is a big issue for many individuals who identify themselves as Christians. The feeling is the Bible condemns all use of alcohol. However, this is not the case. The Bible is very clear on the issue of drunkenness, as the following passages show:


Proverbs 23:20-21

Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: [21] For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.


Proverbs 31:4-5

It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: [5] Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.


Habbakuk 2:15-16

Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness! [16] Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also, and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful spewing shall be on thy glory.


Isaiah 28:6-7

And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate. [7] But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.


These passages in Israel's program show drunkenness as a sin. There are warnings to avoid the heavy use of alcohol. The individuals who are in positions of authority are given special warnings on why they should be avoiding this. It would affect the way they were following the instructions given to them. This would have caused many problems for them if they did become drunk.


The Apostle Paul does state a few things about being drunk as well:


1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, [10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.


Galatians 5:19-21

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, [21] Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.


Ephesians 5:18

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;


These verses show the believer is not supposed to be getting drunk. It is identified as being a work of the flesh and is not expedient for the believer to be doing this. Since it is something which is being condemned, it would fall into the category of whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23) and would result in the loss of rewards for the believer today if they were to be doing this.


This is why the Apostle Paul states this is what some individuals were. They were identified in this sin prior to their salvation. Now they are saved and are identified in the Lord Jesus Christ. The use of alcohol to excess is the problem because the alcohol starts to control the life of the individual, instead of the Spirit having the role of guiding the believer.


While these verses show the problem of drunkenness, the Bible does not condemn the use of alcohol in moderation. It is clear from the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ that there were some things involving alcohol:


John 2:1-11

And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: [2] And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. [3] And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. [4] Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. [5] His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. [6] And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. [7] Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. [8] And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. [9] When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, [10] And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. [11] This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.


The very first miracle He did involved turning water into wine. By the description of the passage, it is clear this was not grape juice as some would contend. The individuals are indicating the quality and how the stronger wine is usually brought out first, so individuals would not notice the lower quality (less alcoholic) being brought out later. If alcohol use is wrong, then He would have done something completely wrong.


It is also evident that He actually drank wine by what they were accusing Him of:


Luke 7:31-35

And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like? [32] They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept. [33] For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil. [34] The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! [35] But wisdom is justified of all her children.


The accusation was that he was a winebibber, or a drunk. In order to be able to make an accusation like this against someone, there would actually have to be evidence of them drinking. The comparison with John the Baptist, who the Bible does reflect consumed no alcohol, shows there was alcohol being consumed by the Lord Jesus Christ. If the Bible condemns all use of alcohol, then it would also be condemning the individual who took care of the issue for sin for us and would make passages such as 2 Corinthians 5:21 out to be a lie. We know there was no sin in Him, so the use of alcohol cannot be a sin. He also mentions the drinking of alcohol in Matthew 26:27-29, when He declares He will drink with them again once the Kingdom has been established on the earth.


The Apostle Paul does shift into speaking about individuals being judged in relationship to the holy days. This is not a reference to the holidays man has established, but is a reference to the holy days which were part of the program Israel functioned under (the law). The Apostle Paul mentions something of this during a discussion with the local assembly in Rome:


Romans 14:5-6

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. [6] He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.


This does tie in with the Sabbath day, which is the next issue the Apostle Paul brings up. There were individuals that were esteeming one day above another, meaning they were attempting to function in a manner where they were putting particular emphasis on certain days having a special meaning, which are the holy days the Apostle Paul states have no relationship with the Body of Christ. These are part of what Israel was supposed to do. A clear passage which shows the relationship of these and Israel is found here:


Deuteronomy 16:1-16

Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night. [2] Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the passover unto the LORD thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the LORD shall choose to place his name there. [3] Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life. [4] And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning. [5] Thou mayest not sacrifice the passover within any of thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee: [6] But at the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. [7] And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the LORD thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents. [8] Six days thou shalt eat unleavened bread: and on the seventh day shall be a solemn assembly to the LORD thy God: thou shalt do no work therein. [9] Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle to the corn. [10] And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: [11] And thou shalt rejoice before the LORD thy God, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite that is within thy gates, and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are among you, in the place which the LORD thy God hath chosen to place his name there. [12] And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt: and thou shalt observe and do these statutes. [13] Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine: [14] And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates. [15] Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. [16] Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:


This long passage shows how there are certain feast days which they were to celebrate. Included in this are very specific instructions on what they were to do. This would have led to them being able to be identified if they were doing right (celebrating these days) or not (by not doing so). It clearly would have led to judgment by individuals based on their following.


The Sabbath was a very specific day Israel needed to follow. It was part of the law (Exodus 20:8-11) and pointed back to creation as the example of why this was necessary. It was an important aspect of what Israel was to do and there was a clear punishment for those who were not doing so:


Exodus 31:14

Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.


Israel had been instructed to keep the Sabbath with a punishment of death for those who were not following it. They were to do no work whatsoever from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. This punishment goes further to identify their soul being cut off, which means the hope of being part of the kingdom on earth was also gone if they broke the Sabbath.


Individuals try to say the Lord Jesus Christ replaced this idea. This is not what is said in the gospel accounts:


Luke 13:14-15

And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day. [15] The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?


Mark 3:1-6

And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. [2] And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. [3] And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. [4] And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. [5] And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. [6] And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.


The Lord Jesus Christ never questions the need to follow the Sabbath. He points out their hypocrisy for not doing the things they should have been doing. Everywhere in the gospels the Lord Jesus Christ is keeping the law, as this is what He needed to do in order to fulfill the law and be without sin. He never teaches the idea of replacing the Sabbath with something else. There is a clear need for them to be continuing to do the things of the law, which included following the Sabbath day.


The Apostle Paul had a definitive response to this. There were some things going on in Galatia which concerned him:


Galatians 4:10-11

Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. [11] I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.


Individuals had followed the Apostle Paul into the places where he had been teaching information about the current dispensation. After he would leave, they would start teaching the law as something which was needed. The individuals in these local assemblies started to follow the things of the law. This is why he needed to write this epistle, as he was attempting to correct the errors which were going on here. He was afraid of them because they were giving up the liberty they had as members of the Body of Christ. This is why he has to tell them to stand fast in the liberty (Galatians 5:1), as they had forgotten this was what they needed to do.


The last of these items is the new moon. This seems to be a strange thing to us, as we do not see people doing this today. However, we see some of these things in Israel's program:


Numbers 10:10

Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.


Numbers 28:11-15

And in the beginnings of your months ye shall offer a burnt offering unto the LORD; two young bullocks, and one ram, seven lambs of the first year without spot; [12] And three tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one bullock; and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, for one ram; [13] And a several tenth deal of flour mingled with oil for a meat offering unto one lamb; for a burnt offering of a sweet savour, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD. [14] And their drink offerings shall be half an hin of wine unto a bullock, and the third part of an hin unto a ram, and a fourth part of an hin unto a lamb: this is the burnt offering of every month throughout the months of the year. [15] And one kid of the goats for a sin offering unto the LORD shall be offered, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.


These passages might not seem to be speaking about the new moon. We know Israel functioned on a calendar based on the moon, not the current calendar which we use. This would mean the month would begin with the new moon. This was a feast which was being celebrated in 1 Samuel 20, where David states it would be noticed that he was not participating in this feast. It was part of what they were supposed to be doing.


The concern of the Apostle Paul on all of these things is they are a shadow of the things to come. There is a difference during this dispensation.


Ephesians 2:11-16

Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. [14] For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; [15] Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; [16] And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:


Here Paul is instructing us on the difference between time past and what is happening now. There was a division between the Gentiles and Israel. This has been broken down and now God is dealing with all of mankind. The middle wall of partition is the law, which was all of the things which Paul had just been warning individuals about. He explains how the law is used in this dispensation in the following passage:


1 Timothy 1:7-10

Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. [8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;


The only thing the law can do now is point out why man needed a Savior. It does not function today to keep someone "walking right". It has no impact on the believer today once they have put their trust in the gospel. This is why he gives warnings such as this passage to speak about things we do not need to be doing in order to functioning properly at this time.