Colossians 2

The Firmness Of Your Faith In Christ

Paul continues to speak of the struggles he endures, be they trials, afflictions, or hardships for the sake of the Colossians, Laodiceans, and all believers who have never seen Paul. Paul's desire is to encourage Christians everywhere to walk in unity together. However, Paul is clear that real unity in the faith must have both love and truth. The grounds for faith and the object of faith is Jesus Christ who alone is the source of wisdom and knowledge. Everything the church needs spiritually and eternally is found in Christ who is the foundation for justification, sanctification, and glorification. Paul declares that no matter how charismatic or eloquent the teacher is or how plausible the argument everything must be judged by Christ and his word. Paul rejoices over the orderly and steadfast faith held by the Colossians despite facing false teachers. 

Made Alive Together With Him

Paul reminds the Colossians that they received Christ Jesus the Lord and as such it requires submission to his rule in their lives. The Christian should continue to live out their faith daily. Paul follows this with the directive to grow in Christ. Faith must be rooted and established in Christ as taught by the scripture which leads to gratitude for God's amazing grace. Paul is concerned that the Colossians may be taken captive by false teaching, so he calls for vigilance. A worldview that included philosophy, tradition, and human wisdom posed a serious threat to the church. Any teaching that negates the work of Christ or declares that it is not sufficient for salvation must be rejected. In Christ, the whole fullness of deity dwells because Jesus is God in human flesh. All that God is, in his divine essence, so too is Christ. There must be no doubt that Jesus Christ is God and nothing can be added to him for he is the whole fullness of God. In light of this, Paul declares that the believer is brought to fullness in Christ who has dominion over all things including the church. Christians have been delivered from the flesh by the regeneration of the Spirit who applies salvation through the finished work of Christ. The believer's union with Christ is pictured in baptism as the outward sign that Christ's burial and resurrection is their burial and resurrection because his resurrection life is their eternal life. All humanity is born dead in trespasses and sins, but those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ are made alive with Christ who became sin and satisfied the justice of God by canceling the record of debt by the cross. Jesus Christ defeated sin and death, and Christians partake in his victory. 

They flung Him outside the gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up all the gates of the universe, to let the King come in. They thought to root out His doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy. They thought they had defeated God with His back to the wall, pinned and helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God Himself who had tracked them down. He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.
— James S. Stewart (1896–1990) 

Promoting Self-Made Religion

Paul addresses the false teachers who focused on two issues as the basis for the passing judgment on the Colossians. The issues were dietary expectations and the observance of sacred days and seasons. The false teachers demanded loyalty to old patterns of spirituality and embraced asceticism to some extent. Paul explains to any who might be confused that Christ fulfilled the law and all of the shadows are now given substance by Christ and his work. Paul exhorts the church not to let anyone disqualify them because of their insistence on asceticism, the worship of angels, or detailing of visions. The worship of angels should be understood as worship of the creature instead of the creator. God demands exclusive worship, and he will not allow any other gods before him. He is zealous for his glory, and Christ is God, so the worship of the creature is misguided and false. These false teachers also focus on visions they have experienced while boasting in their experiences and holding them as authoritative. These false teachers did not submit to Christ's authority as head of the church who nourishes it, keeps it, and causes it to grow. All these benefits are from Christ. Paul calls the church to consider why they would submit to religious regulations and subjugate themselves to the rules of the world. Paul runs through some of the made up rules that were to be obeyed as a way of salvation. Religion cannot save, only Jesus saves. The Christian must hold to the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. These kinds of rules reflect human wisdom, but they cannot save or accomplish gospel transformation. 

Things To Consider:

  • Why is unity important?
  • How is unity maintained?
  • Why should we contend for the truth and correct error if it causes division?
  • Why is Christ necessary for salvation?
  • How should we test Christian teaching?
  • Is it essential to believe that Christ is fully God and fully man? Why?
  • Why is baptism important?
  • How did Christ cancel sin?
  • What manmade laws do people follow today?
  • How can we stop the indulgence of the flesh?