Freedom In Christ
The members of the church in Colossae were trying to figure out how they had to live their lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. When they became Christians, they left their old pagan practices behind, which brought them into conflict with their Gentile neighbours (and with the Roman authorities, who saw them as seditionists for refusing to worship Caesar). Some of them looked to their Jewish neighbours and respected them for following the Law of Moses; the Jews, however, rejected the Christians as heretics. The Colossians ended up engaging in all sorts of religious practices, all in an effort to be holy.
In this passage, Paul reminded the Colossians that whatever practices they engaged in did not, in and of themselves, make them holy. Only Jesus Christ could do that. The Colossians had fallen into the trap of thinking that what they did made them holy; they thought they could earn their salvation and their righteousness, and had forgotten that salvation and righteousness are gifts of God's grace.
Paul's reminder is for us, as well as for the ancient Colossians. No matter how hard we try, we cannot make ourselves holy--only the blood of Jesus can make us holy. We should not live as disciples of Jesus Christ in an effort to be holy. Instead, we should live as disciples of Jesus in gratitude for the fact that we are already holy.
To see this sermon in the context of the larger entire worship service, please open this bulletin.