Online Bible Commentary
Peace and Joy
Colossians 2:9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. 11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (NKJV)
In Paul’s letter to the Christians at the church in Colossae 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. Paul did not address all of the various Gnostic beliefs in this passage.
The word Gnostic comes from the Greek word for knowledge, gnosis. Gnostic beliefs were all over the place, but, essentially, they believed in knowledge of God but not a relationship with God.
Some did not think that Christ was of matter, having a human body. They believed that He appeared human but was really a spirit.
Some Gnostics considered physical things to be evil, so Christ could not be physical. The death, burial, and resurrection of Christ was not real, according to them.
Therefore, Paul begins this passage by writing that Christ indeed lives in bodily form. He writes “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;” (v. 9). Also, the fullness, the power, of the Godhead exists in Christ.
Paul continues “and you are complete in Him,” (v. 10a). Christians “are complete in Christ”, in their human bodies, again emphasizing that material things are not evil. Christians are “complete in Christ” through the Holy Spirit who gives us all we need to live life.
Christ “is the head of all principality and power” (v. 10b). Through Christ all things are made and He rules over all things.
Paul writes “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,” (v. 11). 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 sins of the body” that occurs upon our conversion. As Christians, we still sin but it is not our lifestyle.
Paul continues “buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.” (v. 12). Our baptism represents our sinful nature being buried with Christ, and then being raised with Christ through our faith in God.
Paul writes “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,” (v. 13). Prior to becoming a Christian, we were dead, spiritually dead and headed for Hell. But upon becoming a Christian, we are “alive in Christ” as He forgives us of our sins.
Paul writes “having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (v. 14). 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.
Christ cancelled the ceremonial law of holy days, certain foods, and other religious rituals. We no longer are condemned by any law or commandment. The crucifixion forgave Christians of all sin.
Paul symbolized this by writing that Christ accomplished this when He “nailed 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.
Since Gnosticism also believes in worshiping angels and other powers of the air, Paul writes “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (v. 15).
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. 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.
Christians 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.