Colossians 2:16-17 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival, or a new moon or Sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.
When I was still bound in legalism, I remember hearing a sermon on this passage in which the speaker stated that though most people interpret this passage to mean we are not to judge others who don’t do this, the real meaning lay in that we are not to judge those who do and so those of us who are walking closer to God will choose these things and not allow anyone else to judge us. Legalism is such bondage and, especially for those of us who are performance driven, a never ending cycle of works.
Christ has set His people free from the legalistic rules concerning things like food, drink, and worship style. Believers should not judge others by concluding that certain preferences exclude them from being Christians. Believers hold many different opinions about living out their faith, but it’s important that we don’t criticize or condemn fellow believers about life style choices that are different from ours. Counselors call this tactic “moralizing our preferences.” As long as other believers are not violating scripture – committing outright sin or teaching heresy – we need to accept them into the fellowship of God’s family. We have one Savior, one Lord, one baptism, one faith.
Judging another’s closeness with God through food or drink choices, worship styles, etc. is also an easy trap in which to fall. I’ve heard believers say things such as, “when you are more mature in the faith, the KJV will be the only acceptable translation,” “as we mature in the faith, we learn to follow more of God’s laws including the dietary restrictions – this is how He blesses true believers with health and sets us apart.” This is still in opposition to this passage.
The Christian walk is not one of food, drink, or worship styles. It’s more of a mindset or attitude. As believers, we need to set our minds (our focus and priorities) on things above, not on things on earth (Col. 3:2). We are to have a different attitude in all we do because we love Christ and want to live for Him and want to center our lives on Him. When we set our minds on Him, we begin to see things from His perspective and so work and serve with the right attitude. A list of rules and regulations concerning food, drink, etc. is no longer necessary.