The heretical Hebrews Roots Movement teaches that the handwriting of ordinances mentioned in Colossians 2:14 does not refer to the Law of Moses. They claim that since the word ordinances in Colossians 2:14 comes from the Greek word dogma (dog’-mah) it cannot refer to the Law of Moses.
They insist that this word, dogma, refers to man-made laws each of the other four times it is used in the New Testament which makes it impossible to refer to the the Law of Moses.
Are they correct? Absolutely not!
First, the Greek word dogma (dog’-mah) is found 5 times in the New Testament. It appears in Colossians 2:14 and in four other places. In Luke 2:1 and Acts 17:7 it is decrees from Caesar and Caesar’s decrees were authoritative.
Secondly, in Acts 16:4 it refers to decrees given by the apostles and elders. Specifically this is a reference to the decision made by the apostles and elders at the Jerusalem council in Acts 15.
In Acts 15 the apostles and elders along with the whole church determined that the Gentiles were not obligated to follow the Jewish religious code contained in the Law of Moses. As a result they sent letters to the Gentiles informing them that they were under no obligation to come under the Law of Moses. They instructed them only to abstain from food offered to idols, from consuming blood, and from fornication.
During this meeting, it was determined based on the testimony of Peter, Paul, and Barnabas, along with James’ interpretation of the scriptures that the Gentiles were not obligated to come under the yoke of the Law of Moses.
When they sent letters to the Gentiles informing them of their decision they said. “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things…”
The apostles and elders believed: (1) God had already chosen the Gentiles for His Name apart from the Law based on the testimony of Peter, Paul, and Barnabas. (2) The scriptures of the prophets confirmed that the Gentiles would be the people of God without the Law of Moses. (3) The Holy Spirit had guided them in their decision.
Again, the word decrees translated from dogma (dog’-mah) in Acts 16:4 refers to the apostles instructions and is based on the testimony of God (witnessed to by Peter, Paul, and Barnabas), the scriptures of the prophets, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Therefore it is authoritative and not simply a reference to man – made commandments.
The other use of this word dogma (dog’-mah) is found in Ephesians 2:15 where it refers of the law of commandments contained in ordinances, a specific reference to the Law of Moses as the separating wall between Jews and Gentiles.
In Colossians 2, “the blotting out of the handwriting of ordinances that were against us” is coupled with the forgiveness of all our trespasses. God forgave us of our trespasses by blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances which were against us.
In Deuteronomy 31, God told Moses to write the words of the Law in a book which was to serve as a witness against the people. Hence the use of the language “the handwriting of ordinances that were against us.”
In Christ we have forgiveness of all our trespasses (the transgressions of the Law for the Law reveals our sinfulness) because the handwriting of the ordinances “against us” have been blotted out!
The Old administration of Law which condemned us cannot serve as the law for the new man in Christ, for the old law was given to govern the old man which has been destroyed in the cross of Christ. Those who are crucified with Christ are no longer under the administration of the law under Moses because the old man to whom that law applies was nailed to the cross with Christ. The law which condemns the old man is no longer binding. If any man is in Christ, he is a new creature and old things have passed away, behold all things are become new!
The law of God in the new creation is governed by love and is lived out by the life and power of the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ.