Colossians 2

Colossians 2:2

that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself,

(a) Knit together in love. What a wonderful turn of phrase to describe the fellowship shared by those within the body of Christ.

Our union or fellowship is with God the Father (Eph. 2:18, 1 John 1:2-3, 2:15), God the Son (1 Cor. 1:9, 10:16), and God the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 13:14, Php. 2:1, 1 John 4:13). It is also with the church or the body of Christ (1 John 1:7). Koinonia-fellowship is about living fully out of our connection with Christ and his body. See entry for Union.

(b) God’s mystery or plan or purpose is revealed in Christ. Christ is the means for our salvation and reconciliation (see also the entry for Col. 1:27).

Colossians 2:3

in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Treasures. Jesus is the Source of all wisdom and truth. Anything we might want to learn about the kingdom of God or the will of God or the character of God is revealed in him (John 7:17, Heb. 1:3). It is through the Spirit of Christ that we receive spiritual understanding (John 14:26, 15:15).

Colossians 2:6

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,

So walk in Him. How did you receive him? By faith. How should you continue to live in him? By faith. It’s faith in God’s grace from start to finish. The believer starts their Christian walk in faith. The challenge is to continue in the faith and not be seduced into dead works and unbelief (Col. 1:23).

The Good News Bible translates this passage, “since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him.” A married person who continues to act like a single person is going to miss out on many of the blessings of marriage. Similarly, a Christian who fails to draw from their union with Christ is going to miss many of the blessings of that union. New life is meant to be lived; it’s meant to be expressed and enjoyed and worked out to such a degree that it results in praise to the Father.

Colossians 2:8

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Elemental principles. The basic principles for surviving and getting ahead in this fallen world. Paul is talking about human wisdom and logic as opposed to spiritual truth (Gal. 4:3). These principles are sometimes expressed in rule-based religion and self-help philosophy, but since they are the fruit off the forbidden tree, they enslave and curse us.

Colossians 2:10

and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;

(a) In Him. When you believed the good news about Jesus, you were sealed in him (Eph. 1:13). All the blessings of heaven are found in him (Eph. 1:3), and in him we have redemption, forgiveness, and righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21, Eph. 1:7). All the promises of God are yes in him (2 Cor. 1:20), and in him you have been made complete (Col. 2:10). In him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28). See entry for Union.

(b) In Him you have been made complete. In union with the Lord, you lack no good thing. In him, you are holy, righteous, and perfectly pleasing to God.

Colossians 2:11

and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;

(a) The body of the flesh. Your old self (see Col. 3:9). That old you, who was once ruled by the flesh and a slave to sin, has been crucified with Christ (to use one metaphor; see Gal. 2:20), or cut away. Either way, it’s gone, and this is good news. You don’t have a sinful nature and you don’t need to reform the old man.

The body of the flesh can be contrasted with the body of sin and the body of death (see entry for Rom. 6:6).

(b) The circumcision of Christ. Any sinful nature you had has been removed by the Lord. You do not have two natures duelling inside you. One with the Lord you have his heart, his desires, his spiritual DNA. You are a partaker of his divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4).

From time to time you’re going to stumble and when you do you may wonder why you did it. You may think that you’re hard-wired to sin and that you need to die to self. That’s not true. You died already (Gal. 2:20, 5:24). You are not a saint with a sinful nature. You are a completely new creation with new desires.

We sin when we walk by sight rather than faith (Rom. 14:23). We may do it out of habit or ignorance. But when we set our minds on earthly things and indulge the lusts of the flesh we are acting out of character. We are no longer acting from our true identity as children of God.

The remedy is to renew your mind and realize that Christ is your life (Col 3:4). Learn to walk in the new way of the spirit and make no provision for the lusts of the flesh (Rom. 13:14).

Colossians 2:12

having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

(a) With Him… With him. The believer has been crucified with him, buried with him, raised with him in order to live with him and reign with him (Rom. 6:4-8, 2 Cor. 13:4, Eph. 2:6, 2 Tim. 2:11-12). The believer’s life can only be understood relationship in to the Lord. In union with him we live and move and have our being. See entry for Union.

(b) In baptism. Every believer has been buried with Christ in baptism. This is not a reference to water baptism. Water baptism is a symbolic recreation of the one baptism that saves. See entry for Baptism.

(c) In which you were also raised up with Him. Just as the Holy Spirit raised Jesus, he raises every believer. “We have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).

(d) The working of God. Jesus was raised from the dead by the glorious might and power of God the Father (Rom. 6:4). The same mighty God who raised Jesus, has raised you to new life (Rom. 8:11).

Colossians 2:13

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,

(a) Dead in your transgressions. Jesus died for you while you were a sinner and he forgave you while you were dead in your sins.

(b) He made you alive; see entry for Eph. 2:5.

(c) With him; see entry for Col. 2:12

(d) Forgiven. The original word (charizomai) means to show favor or kindness. It’s closely related to the word that means grace (charis). In context, the word means unconditional forgiveness (see also Eph. 1:7). In Christ, you are completely and eternally forgiven (Col. 1:14, Heb. 9:12). See also the entry for Forgiveness.

Colossians 2:18

Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,

Defrauding you of your prize. Don’t let anyone trick you into thinking you’re missing out because they practice self-denial or see visions.

Some translations say “let no one disqualify you” giving the impression that you can be disqualified from the kingdom. Not so. Since God qualifies you (see Col. 1:12), no one can disqualify you.

Colossians 2:22

(which all refer to things destined to perish with use)—in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men?

The commandments or teachings of men refer to any message that seeks to distract us from the gospel of Jesus (Tit. 1:14). This would include preaching law (2 Cor. 3:7), human effort (Gal. 3:3), traditions (Col. 2:8), hollow and deceptive philosophy (Col. 2:8), angel worship (Col. 2:18), rules and regulations (Col. 2:21-23), and myths (1 Tim. 1:4).

Further reading: “How do we pervert the gospel?

Colossians 2:23

These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence.

Fleshly indulgence. The cravings of the self-focused life, including the desire to get your own way, make yourself righteous, and to appear important (see entry for 1 John 2:16).

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