11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. 18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.
20 You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them.23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
All the rules, regulations and ceremonies of life are just a shadow–a hint–of the reality that is found in Jesus Christ. So then, Paul asks, why do we hold on to the old rules, regulations and ceremonies when we can be connected to Christ?
Plus the fact that all the rules, regulations, and ceremonies failed to change us in any way. Human efforts alone don’t bring lasting change. It is being connected to Christ that allows us to conquer our evil, fleshly desires. The reality of being connected to Christ even eliminates pious self-denial, strong devotion to the rules, regulations, ceremonies, and severe bodily discipline. It’s Jesus only!