In Christ we are complete (v. 10). In Christ we have the seal of the covenant upon our hearts (v.11). In Christ we are risen from the dead (v. 12). In Christ we are forgiven of all sins (v. 13).
(Vs. 14.) When we think of handwriting, we think of the handwriting on the wall against Belshazzar: "Thou art weighed in the balances and found wanting." This handwriting against us is the whole ceremonial law of Moses, with its ordinances, commandments and laws, plus the moral law. We are weighed and found wanting (Rom. 3:19,23). None but Christ could put away this handwriting, because none but Christ was able to satisfy what it required (Heb. 10:9). It took his perfect life and sacrificial death to do this.
(Vs. 15.) When a Roman emperor won a victory and conquered his foes, he rode through the streets in an open chariot; the captive kings and warriors, stripped of their armour and their hands tied behind their backs in chains, walked before him exposed to public shame and disgrace. Christ his disarmed all the principalities and powers which were against us (Rom. 8:33,34). He has defeated Satan, sin, hell and death. He has made a bold display and public example of them in his cross. We are complete in Christ; he has set the captive free. We are not in bondage to any law, ceremony, or curse.
(Vs. 16.) Therefore, let no man sit in judgement on you in matters of food and drink or with regard to ceremonies, feast days, or sabbaths. No man can command of us what Christ has not commanded (1 Tim. 4:1-8).
(Vs. 17.) The Old Testament ceremonies, circumcision, feast days and sacrifices were but shadows or symbols of Christ and his redemptive work. They were in effect only until he came. He is the truth, the body and the substance of all these. To continue in them is to say that Christ, the fulfilment, has not come! (Heb. 10:1-5.)
(Vs. 18. Our reward or prize is to win Christ and be found in him, to know him and the power of his resurrected life (Phil. 3:8-14). "Don't let anyone turn you away from this by insisting on a false humility, self-abasement, worshipping of angels and dead saints, teaching what is not in God's Word (but only in his visions and imagination)". All false, unscriptural philosophies are products of the flesh and lead away from Christ!
(Vs. 19.) These men bring reproach upon Christ, who is the only Head of the church. They make angels, the virgin, or other saints to be employed with him as mediators with the Father (1 Tim. 2:5,6). Christ is the only Head, Lord, King and Giver of life. The whole body is knit together in him. We receive our life, nourishment, growth and grace only from him! The more we draw from Christ, the more we grow and increase spiritually and the better we will be knit together in love and unity.
(Vs. 20.) If we died with Christ by virtue of our union with Christ, if we were buried and rose with him and in him have justification, pardon, redemption and sanctification, if in Christ all the ordinances, ceremonies and types were fulfiled and we are free from these requirements, if in Christ we are redeemed from the curse, covenant and condemnation of the law why would we want to return to these shadows and types? (Gal. 4:21; 3:10.)
(Vs. 21, 22.) "Touch notů taste not . . . handle not;" that is, meats, unclean things and other things forbidden by religious rules. These things are of service and reference only to the body; they can be of no value to the soul. They are perishing materials and cease to be when they are not used. The using of them cannot defile, and the abstinence from them cannot sanctify, nor commend us to God. Submission to these ordinances by a believer is not commanded by God, but by false teachers.
(Vs. 23.) These religious rules, ceremonies and fleshly practices give the outward appearance of devotion, humility and consecration. All error has something to say in its defence. Men like to serve God with their own inventions. They like to appear to be pious and humble; so they promote self-imposed laws, discipline and punishment of the body; but these are of no value in checking the flesh or sanctifying the heart. They do not honour God, but only indulge natural flesh and its false concept of righteousness (Rom. 10:1-4).