Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Faith Community of Colossae. Chapter II



The Threat to the Gospel


2:1-2      For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

The apostle is transmitting the grief that is in his heart because of the threat hanging over these communities, a false doctrinal threat that attempts to make them desist from the knowledge of the Gospel that they received from Epaphras, and that has made them stand out as communities of faith in Christ Jesus, and for the love they show to all the saints; (1:4) we understand that Paul refers to the ministers who have visited the community.[1]

It is a message that translations fail to perceive when translating the apostle’s message. What Paul is manifesting is his powerlessness not to confront those who are introducing teachings that distort sound doctrine. A free translation reads like this,

I want you to know how great a conflict I have for not being with you, for those of Laodicea, and for all those whom I do not know personally. I would be with you to strengthen your hearts and to lead you with love, that you may understand and not desist from the riches of the revealed knowledge of God, and of the Father, and of Christ.

Paul has discovered that behind some teachings that they have received there is a threat to the Gospel that was proclaimed to them, and that they assimilated very well; those who have introduced these new teachings intend to upset the knowledge of the Truth, mystery according to Paul, about God incarnate and manifested in Jesus.


2:3-15    (and from Christ) …  in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Paul goes on to explain the benefits for the disciple of recognizing Jesus as Lord and Christ. The apostle’s list of benefits is simply amazing:

  • In whom (in Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (v.3)

This doctrinal confession helps Paul to establish that outside of Jesus there is neither wisdom nor Revelation; so, he concludes, ¿why are they going to go and seek wisdom outside of Him? And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.  For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. (v.4, 5)

  • As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. (v.6)

Paul’s exhortation that they should not seek to change anything of what they have learned, this is what the Gospel consists of.

  • rooted and built up in him (Jesus), and stablished in the faith, (v.7).

Paul emphasizes faith in Jesus as the only source of Revelation and wisdom: as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

  • For in him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. (v.9).

This doctrinal confession is decisive for understanding the divinity of Jesus. Jesus is God manifested in the flesh.

  • And ye are complete in him (in Jesús), (v.10a)

The apostle again establishes that in Jesus they are complete, that they need nothing but Him.

  • which (Jesús) is the head of all principality and power: (v10b).

Paul states that Jesus has government over every power, material and spiritual, that exists on the face of the earth.

  • in whom (Jesus) also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, (v.11).

Paul explains how circumcision is attributed to the Gentiles: in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

  • buried with him in baptism, (v.12).

Paul explains what water baptism means spiritually, and the power it has regarding deliverance from the flesh and from sin: wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

  • And you (the gentiles), being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, (Jesus)… hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (v.13).

Paul explains how Gentiles have been grafted into the Body of Jesus to become heirs of Salvation.

  • (Jesús)… blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (v.14).

Paul explains why Gentiles do not need to submit to Jewish rituals. Paul explains that there is no longer a need for them, for the purpose was to cover the multitude of sins; when Christ offered Himself, His sacrifice abolished the effectiveness of the rituals.

  • (Jesús)… and having spoiled principalities and powers, (v.15).

Paul explains what the sacrifice of the cross was, the cross was the place where Jesus defeated Satan: he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

In verse eight Paul exposes crudely what all those teachings that are presented under the appearance of doctrines with Jewish foundation mean, Paul defines them as philosophies and vain subtleties according to the traditions of men. Paul exposes the danger that they represent, they are apostate teachings that are actually intended to distort the Truth of the Word of the cross.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (v.8)


2:16-23 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

At the conclusion of the chapter, Paul unites all that he has expounded in both chapters.

The conclusion is quite simple. Paul makes the following comparison: if, in Jesus we have redemption through His blood (1:13a), and the remission of sins: (1.13b). If Jesus is the image (εικων) of the invisible God (1:15a), and He is the firstborn of every creature (1:15b), and by Him were created all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible; whether thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him (1:16); and Jesus is before all things (1:17a), and by Jesus all things consist: (1:17b); and furthermore, since Jesus is made head of the body which is the church (1:18a), and Jesus is the beginning of all things (1:18b), and Jesus is the firstborn of the dead. And not only that, but also, Jesus has Lordship over all things: that in all things He may have primacy (1:18d), and Jesus is the One who gives life to all things: For it pleased the Father that in Him should dwell all fullness (1:19), and through Jesus man’s reconciliation to God is established, and through Him all creation returns to its original state as it was created before Adam’s disobedience: And by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, pacifying by the blood of His cross, as well as that which is on earth as that which is in heaven (1:20); Paul concludes, What do you do, allowing additional teachings which in nothing surpass all that you have been taught by the Gospel?

Therefore, by way of certification of the Gospel message, Paul decrees, Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (2:16), Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, (2:18a). The apostle makes it clear that those who have visited communities with this kind of teaching teach what they have not seen, vainly puffed up in the sense of their own flesh (2:18b), and are not holding the Head (2:19a), and therefore are not being fed or coordinated in the body, according to God’s increasing growth (2:19b).

Paul ends with an exhortation: Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,  (touch not; taste not; handle not;  which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?  which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.



All biblical quotations are taken from the King James Version.

 

 


Pastor Pedro Montoya

Twitter: @pastormontoya

https://earthenwarevessels.com


[1] Paul refers to a possible visit by Mark, Barnabas’ nephew: Colossians 4:10