Online Bible Commentary
Peace and Joy
Colossians 2:9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (NIV)
In Paul’s letter to the Christians at the church in Colosse he now launches into the subject of the false teaching of Gnosticism that had found its way into their teaching. Gnostics separated matter from thought. They did not think that Christ was of matter, having a human body. They believed that He appeared human but was really a spirit. They considered physical things to be evil, so Christ could not be physical. So the death, burial, and resurrection were not real, but rather apparent.
Therefore Paul begins this passage by writing that Christ indeed lives in bodily form. He also writes that “all the fullness of the Deity” lived in this bodily form, so the body could not be evil (v.9). Also, Christians have been given “fullness in Christ” in their human bodies, again emphasizing that material things are not evil. This “fullness in Christ” is different than the “fullness in Deity” that Christ possesses. Christ is the only human that possesses the Godhead, “over every power and authority” (v.10). Christians possess the “fullness in Christ” through the Holy Spirit who gives us all we need to live life.
Christians are “circumcised” in Christ. This circumcision is not a physical circumcision, but a circumcision of the heart. It is the “putting off of the sinful nature” that occurs upon our conversion. As Christians, we still sin but it is not our “nature”, our lifestyle (v.11). Our baptism represents our sinful nature being buried with Christ, and then being raised with Christ and becoming “alive in Christ” as He forgives us of our sins (vv.12-13).
Not only did Christ forgive all of our sins, past, present and future, but He also did away with the Old Testament ceremonial law which was the source of much sin. He cancelled the ceremonial law of holy days, certain foods, and other religious rituals. We no longer are condemned by any law or commandment, since the crucifixion forgave Christians of all sin. Paul symbolized this by writing that Christ accomplished this by “nailing it to the cross”, just as debtors would cancel debts owed to them by nailing a notice in a public place that the debt had been paid in full. Christ paid our sin debt, our penalty for sin, in full by dying on the cross in our place (v.14).
Since Gnosticism also believes in worshiping angels and other powers of the air, Paul writes that the death and resurrection of Christ, along with His ascension back to Heaven through the air, their domain, showed His dominion over these created beings (v.15). Thus, Paul shows Christ’s triumph over angels and other powers of the air.
So, Christians no longer live under condemnation. Christ has paid our sin debt. We no longer carry around the guilt that comes from a sinful lifestyle, because we have died to that lifestyle. We experience the fullness of life that God intends for us. We have His peace and joy, which no one can take away from us, unless we let them. Don’t let anyone steal that from you. Christ gave that to you at a very high price, His life.