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 (Galatians to Colossians)
lesson 28
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Lesson 28

I.       Observation

A.     Outline

Being Rooted in Christ (2:4-7)

Made Complete in Christ (2:8-15)

Futility of False Religion (2:16-23)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Deceive, steadfastness of your faith in Christ, walk in Him, rooted and built up, established, beware, cheat, fullness of the Godhead, complete, head, circumcision, buried, baptism, raised, faith, working of God, made you alive, forgiven you all trespasses, cross, triumph, shadow/substance, died.

II.    General Analysis

1.      2:4—… deceive you with persuasive words.

2.      2:8— … cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

3.      2:18—… cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels.

4.      False teachings that attack the completeness and sufficiency of Christ (see 2:9-10).

5.      The insistence on keeping the requirements of the Law of Moses (2:14). Read also 2:16,17 and 2:20-22.

6.      The worship of angels and false humility (2:18,23; This heresy probably taught that the worship of angels rather than God was an act of humility).

7.      Unnecessary asceticism, i.e., punishment of the body as a means to higher spirituality (2:23).

8.      Points 2 and 3 fall under the heresy of the Gnostics. Gnosticism is one of the so-called philosophies in the first ages of Christianity, which claimed a true philosophical interpretation of the Christian religion. Their system combined Oriental theology and Greek philosophy with the doctrines of Christianity. They held that all natures, intelligible, intellectual, and material, are derived from the Deity by successive emanations, which they called Eons.

9.      Source: Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
Remark: An agnostic does not deny the existence of God and heaven, for example, but rather holds that one cannot know for certain if they exist or not. The term agnostic was fittingly coined by the 19th-century British scientist Thomas H. Huxley, who believed that only material phenomena were objects of exact knowledge. He made up the word from the prefix a-, meaning “without, not,” as in amoral, and the noun Gnostic. Gnostic is related to the Greek word gnosis, “knowledge,” which was used by early Christian writers to mean “higher, esoteric knowledge of spiritual things”; hence, Gnostic referred to those with such knowledge. In coining the term agnostic, Huxley was considering as “Gnostics” a group of his fellow intellectuals, “ists,” as he called them who had eagerly embraced various doctrines or theories that explained the world to their satisfaction. Because he was a “man without a rag of a label to cover himself with,” Huxley coined the term agnostic for himself, its first published use being in 1870.

10.  Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition
Gnostics hold that Christ in the form of flesh cannot be God but is instead an emanation of God. Besides, being in the form of flesh, he is inferior even to the angels. See an answer to this in Heb 2:6-9.

11.  In Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:2,3).

12.  In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (2:9). Godhead - the essential being or the nature of God (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

13.  He is the head of all principality and power (2:10).

14.  He has abolished the handwriting of requirements that was against us. He has triumphed over principalities and powers (2:14,15).

15.  He is the Head, from whom all the body nourished and knit together, grows with the increase that is from God (2:19).

16.  Segment Analysis

17.  Walk in Christ (6).

18.  Be rooted and built up in Him (7).

19.  Be established in the faith, as they have been taught (7).

20.  Abound in the faith with thanksgiving (7).

21.  Tradition of men and the basic principles of the world. The basic principles of the world refers to rituals or observances through which men endeavor to reach God without Christ (cf. Gal 4:3,9-10).

22.  The Godhead (theotes in Greek) means divinity, i.e., the essence of “goodness.” The only other occurrences on the Bible are in Acts 17:29 and Romans 1:20. Col 2:9 means that the full essence of “goodness” is in Christ; not just a part as was supposed by the Gnostics who probably argued that Christ in the flesh could not be fully God.

23.  We have been made complete in Christ, and Christ has triumphed over principalities and powers. Therefore, we should not be enslaved by the principles of this world and hope to obtain righteousness through human regulations.

24.  Circumcision is a token of the covenant between God and Abraham (Gen 17:11). Likewise, the blood of Christ is a token of the new covenant between God (Jesus Christ) and man (Mt 26:28). The blood of Christ is present in baptism to wash away sins (Acts 22:16; 1Jn 1:7; 1Jn 5:6,8).

25.  Circumcision was a necessity to belong to the family of Abraham (Gen 17:14). Likewise, baptism is a necessity to belong to the extended family of Abraham through Christ (Gal 3:26-29).

26.  Infants born in Abraham’s house were to be circumcised (Gen 17:12). Likewise, Infants of believers are to be baptized (see Acts 16:15,33).

27.  Only the circumcised could partake of the passover (Ex 12:47, 48). Likewise, only the baptized can partake of the Holy Communion (1Cor 10:16,17). There being a distinction between those who are called brethren and “those outside” can be seen in 1Cor 5:6-13.

28.  Baptism. Through baptism, we receive the circumcision of Christ (11-12).

29.  Removal of sins (11).

30.  Burial and resurrection with Christ (12; cf. Rom 6:3-4).

31.  The forgiveness of sins results in spiritual resurrection (13). Thus, when our sins are forgiven during baptism, we also receive a new life. That is why baptism is also known as the washing of regeneration (Tit 3:5; Jn 3:3-5).

32.  Firstly, the Law of Moses (Torah), and its interpretations by the rabbis (Talmud), was never intended to be permanent (Gal 3:22-25) and it was burdensome and ‘contrary to us’ (2:14). Christ’s death fulfilled all the requirements of the law (Mt 5:17,18; Heb 2:14 and many other parts of Hebrews) and ushered in the new law of faith. This is the true expression of God’s covenant with Abraham which the Law of Moses given 430 years after the covenant with Abraham was not meant to be (Gal 3:17-19). Thus the physical aspects and the interpretations by the rabbis of the Law of Moses need not be kept anymore because with Christ, we are dead from the rudiments of the world (2:20-23).

33.  What has been abolished is “the handwriting of requirements that was against us” (14), which refers to the ordinances regarding meat, drink, a holy day, the new moon and the sabbath (2:16). The passage does not speak of abolishing food, drink, festivals, new moons, and the sabbath, for otherwise, we would, for example, not be allowed to eat or drink! Thus, the difficult restrictions imposed by the law on the sabbath such as not plucking grain (Mk 2:23,24) or not travelling beyond a certain distance, called a ‘sabbath day’s journey’ (Acts 1:12), have been abolished. Instead, in the new covenant, we do good and enjoy the sabbath as the sabbath was made for man and the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath (Mk 2:27,28; Jn 5:8-17; 7:21-24). Finally, the fulfillment of the requirements of the law by Christ did not annul the Ten Commandments which is the unalterable core of the law (Mt 22:36-40; Mt 19:16-19; Jas 2:8-12). Thus, the Ten Commandments is sometimes called the moral law. By virtue of being the fourth Commandment, observance of the sabbath cannot be abolished.

34.  They are a shadow that points to Christ, who is the substance (17; cf. Gal 3:19-23).

35.  Those who adhere to human regulations and the worship of angels seek only an appearance of wisdom (23). They take delight in false humility and are puffed up in their mind rather than hold fast to Christ the Head (18-19). In short, they are driven by pride and are interested only in an outward appearance of piety.

36.  They have been set free from the bondage of worldly principles. Instead of depending on observances of traditions, they now fully trust Christ for justification.


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