After expressing his great concern and care for the church at Colosse, Paul begins to warn them of false teachers and their errors.
(Vs. 8.) In this verse the error of false religion is dealt with under three heads:
1. "Philosophy." There is nothing wrong with true philosophy, but the Word of God is never to be subjected to human reason, and human philosophy is never to be introduced into the worship and service of God. "Let God be true and every man a liar" (Rom. 3:4).
2. "Tradition of men." These are practices and rites in the church without the authority of the written Word, having no warrant but custom and human tradition. For instance: infant baptism, mass, purgatory and prayers for the dead, the celebration of religious holidays such as Christmas, Easter and so forth.
3. "Rudiments of the world." These are the Mosaical rites and ceremonies - circumcision, abstaining from certain meats, the observance of sabbath days and so forth. Since Christ has fulfilled all these, the practice of them is sinful. The way of Christ will not mix with man's philosophy, traditions, nor legal obedience!
(Vs. 9.) There is nothing that will make a believer look to Christ alone, cling to and rest in Christ alone, more than to realize that everything God is, that God requires and that the sinner needs is in Christ (1 Cor. 1:30). This is the third time that Paul has told the Colossians that all fulness is in Christ (see Col. 1:19; 2:3). You can add nothing to fulness!
(Vs. 10.) We are perfect in him! He is perfect, and our being in him makes us perfect. This is not speaking of what we shall be, but of what we are right now in Christ! Not in ourselves, but in him. He is the head of all principality and power (not only in the church, but angels, kings, rulers, religious heads, etc.) In him there is no charge, obligation, duty or service that can be demanded of us for redemption - not by anyone! (Col. 1:21,22.)
(Vs. 11.) Circumcision was instituted by God (Gen. 17:10-13).
1. It was a token of the covenant, the promise of God's blessings.
2. It was a sign by which Israel was distinguished from other nations.
3. It is a picture of spiritual regeneration, circumcision of the heart, which is putting off the body and power of sin (Rom. 2:28,29).
1. Circumcision was necessary to eating of Passover (Exod. 12:48).
2. A child was named at circumcision (Luke 1:59; 2:21).
3. Circumcision of heart brings us to the table of the Lord and gives us a new name sons of God! All this we have in Christ. Thus, it is not necessary to circumcise the flesh.
(Vs. 12.) We are not only circumcised in Christ in a spiritual sense (having the token, evidence and power of the covenant of grace), but all our sins are buried with Christ (of which our baptism in water is a representation)! Christ died for our sins and was buried. When he arose, all our sins were left behind! It is through faith that we see ourselves crucified, buried and risen with Christ. It is not just any faith, but that which is of God's operation!
(Vs. 13.) God raised Christ from the dead, and God must raise us from the dead. We were dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-8). Forgiveness of sin is not done piecemeal, but is done at once and includes all sin past, present and future (1 John 1:7).
When we savingly believe in Christ, we are at that moment united to Christ. All that Christ did, suffered, or procured as our Head (whether in his life, death, burial, resurrection, or exaltation) is imputed to us by God, even to the right to all these benefits, given to us as if we had been personally present with him at those times and had done them all ourselves (Eph. 1:3; 2:6).