Friday, September 21, 2007

Colossians, Chapter 2

There seems to be a contrast between Philippians and Colossians as far as the way the message of Christ's love and sacrifice is presented. In Philippians we saw how Christ's humility was a key character trait and that we need to emulate it in our own lives. Colossians seems to concentrate more on the message of Christ's love and what exactly His sacrifice on the cross accomplished. Both are critical lessons that we must learn. Here in the second chapter of Colossians Paul also touches once again on the fact that when Christ came to earth the very rules of mankind were changed. In all this Paul continues to drive home Christ's love and passion for all of us.

"8See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority." – Colossians 2:8-10

Many of Paul's letters were written in order to combat false teachings that were prevalent in the areas to which the letters were written. In the case of Colossians the church in Colosse there were still people teaching that salvation was obtained through either superior knowledge or through strict following of the law. As was a problem in many places, it wasn't enough that you believed in Christ, you had to follow Jewish law and be circumcised as well. WE saw this back in our study of the book of Galatians, and here in Colossians Paul uses circumcision as a metaphor. This metaphor shows once again just how much Christ changes our lives drastically when we accept His gift and sacrifice.

"13When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Colossians 2:13-15

We were once dead, but now we are alive in Christ. I love how Paul gets to the heart of the issue right here and makes it very plain what Christ's sacrifice on the cross accomplished. We also see that this sacrifice washes away all our own petty human regulations and places just one important one in charge, and that is the authority and power of Christ's blood. Though I have been blessed with the gift of writing I feel I cannot add a single word of meaning to the words Paul wrote above.

"20Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 21"Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings." – Colossians 2:20-22

When we get so caught up in following the rules and regulations set before us we become disconnected from the main purpose of the church, and that is spreading the message of Christ. My wife grew up Catholic, and I know one of the biggest things that turned her away from that path and on to a more personal relationship with Christ is that very fact. She was unimpressed, and even bored with the Catholic church because of its strict adherence to rules and regulations instead of just sticking to the message. It does not matter that you say the same liturgy over and over again if there is no meaning behind it! All these rules and rituals are still based in humanity, which as we know falls woefully short of the glory of God.

Christ is the center, and nothing else. No tradition, no liturgy, no combination of words said or ritual done can bring us closer to Christ than a deep, personal relationship with Him based on faith. Remember, it was once illegal for the common man to even read the Bible, as it was limited only to the clergy, yet we see here that we are to form out own relationship with Christ. That is what is clearly stated here in Colossians, and we have Paul to thank for clearing this up.


  1. How can we mesh human traditions with the fullness of love we have been given in Christ?
  2. What powers and authorities were disarmed on the cross?
  3. Can human commands and teaching still play a role in a relationship with Christ, simply because the Bible comes from human hands and minds?

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