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Col 2:9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.
Col 2:10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
Col 2:11 When you came to Christ, you were "circumcised," but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.
Col 2:12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with Him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
Col 2:13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for He forgave all our sins.
Col 2:14 He cancelled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
Col 2:15 In this way, He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by His victory over them on the cross.
Col 2:16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.
Col 2:17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ Himself is that reality.
Col 2:18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud,
Col 2:19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For He holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.
Col 2:20 You have died with Christ, and He has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as,
Col 2:21 "Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!"?
Col 2:22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them.
Col 2:23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
In this passage we see Paul proclaiming the supremacy of Christ over spiritual rulers, authorities, rules, human teachings, self-denial etc… Paul illustrates it in many different ways.
|Record of charges against us
|Nailed to the cross
|shadows of the reality to come
why keep following them?
seem wise, but provide no help
mere human teachings
|Spiritual rulers and authorities
Shamed publicly with victory on the cross
|We are set free from
|People insisting pious self-denial, visions
|Not connected to Christ
|deteriorate as we use them
We are complete through our union with Christ (v10) who is head over every ruler and authority. In the JFB commentary we find the following:
And therefore; and so. Translate in the Greek order, “Ye are in Him (by virtue of union with Him) filled full” of all that you need (Joh_1:16). Believers receive of the divine unction which flows down from their Divine Head and High Priest (Psa_133:2). He is full of the “fullness” itself; we, filled from Him. Paul implies, Therefore ye Colossians need no supplementary sources of grace, such as the false teachers dream of. Christ is “the Head of all rule and authority” (so the Greek), Eph_1:10; He, therefore, alone, not these subject “authorities” also, is to be adored (Col_2:18).
The message we find in the New Testament is clear. We lack nothing in Christ and we don’t need anyone to mediate Christ for us. The authorities of Paul’s day were obstacles to Christ. Some preached pious self-denial or the worship of angels and condemned those who didn’t follow with them. The authoritarians in our day are much the same. Covering Theology might seem wise but it is a mere human teaching that deteriorates as it is used. Those who find completeness through their union with Christ will see the threats and intimidation of this theology disarmed. It is not pious submission to authority that brings us to maturity but the new life we have through Christ’s sacrifice.