1: 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; 2: 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; 3: In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4: And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5: 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.
Christ is the answer
6: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8: 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. 9: For in him dwelleth all the fullness 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. 16: 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: 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.
Paul says l wish you all knew what a great struggle it is that l have on your behalf for you at Colossi and at Laodicea and for others who have never met me in the flesh. My struggle is that their minds might be strengthened and united in love and that they might know all the richness of the full assurance of Christian understanding. So that they might acknowledge the mystery of God – the Father and Christ. Because in Christ is hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Paul is concerned that they might be tricked with enticing words. He says even though l am not with you in the flesh yet l am with you in the Spirit and l am full of joy when l see the order of your assemblies and your determination to trust in Christ. Now says Paul live in the same way in which you began the Christian life. You began trusting in Christ to save you, now continue to trust in Christ to enable you to live this life. Be like a tree rooted in Christ and be like a tower built up on Christ and be established in your faith as you have been taught. Overflow in thanksgiving. Next Paul brings a firm but loving warning. He says, see to it, that nobody captures you and carries you off as booty, through the wisdom of men and empty speculation, which is based on the writings and ancient religious ritualism of men. This is something that has no relation to Christ. In Christ dwells all the completeness of God in his body. And you are, in him, made to be complete and he is the head of all Principalities and Powers. In Christ you are brought into a relation with God like that of those who are circumcised, except that this is not a circumcision made by human hands. The circumcision made by hands removed only a very small part of the flesh, but in Christ believers have a spiritual circumcision in which the whole sinful nature is removed and cast away. By being united to Christ the old nature is cut away and cast off. God sees this as a complete separation from sin already, even though practically we are still in the ingoing process of the actualisation of its implications in sanctification. Paul says that in Christ we are buried with him in baptism and that we are raised up with Christ through faith in the operation of God who raised Christ from the dead. In Christ we are made alive in him and all our sins are forgiven. And all the written Law which was against us and accused us of sin has been (tipex-ed) whitewashed over – blotted out, and the whole document has been removed out of our sight and nailed to the cross. When Christ died says Paul he exposed the demonic hordes and publically displayed their defeat for all to see. So says Paul do not let anyone stand as judge over you in respect of Jewish observance of the Mosaic law in relation to food & drink and religious Feasts and Sabbaths. (Paul exposes the Colossian errors - which were excessive religious ritual, asceticism and worship to angels) All of these things were like what a shadow is to a man. They are just a faint outline but Christ is the reality. Paul is insistent; He says do not let anyone act as judge over you causing you to submit to the charade of being inferior to them and to causing you to bow the knee to angels and playing about with the unseen world. These pretensions are completely pointless but they fill the hearts of men with pride. All these angelic hosts are far inferior to Christ. And he is the head of them all and we are all knitted together into one body and we live in him. So then if in Christ you are dead to the very basics of this worlds religion why pretend as if you are part of this religious world do you subject yourselves to the spiritual bondage of religious ordinances, such as ‘touch not – taste not – handle not’, All of these things will pass away from use. They belong to the commandments and teachings of men. Now these things have an appearance of wisdom in pretend religion and false humility and fasting, but none of these things are honourable because though they seem to be great religious virtues they actually have no real effect in bringing righteousness into the life of the believer.