Being Rooted in
Made Complete in
Futility of False
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.
2:4—… deceive you with
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.
2:18—… cheat you of your
reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels.
False teachings that attack the
completeness and sufficiency of Christ (see 2:9-10).
The insistence on keeping the
requirements of the Law of Moses (2:14). Read also 2:16,17
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).
Unnecessary asceticism, i.e.,
punishment of the body as a means to higher spirituality (2:23).
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.
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.
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.
In Him are hidden all the
treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:2,3).
In Him dwells all the fullness
of the Godhead bodily (2:9). Godhead - the essential being or the nature of God
He is the head of all
principality and power (2:10).
He has abolished the
handwriting of requirements that was against us. He has triumphed over
principalities and powers (2:14,15).
He is the Head, from whom all
the body nourished and knit together, grows with the increase that is from God
Walk in Christ (6).
Be rooted and built up in Him
Be established in the faith, as
they have been taught (7).
Abound in the faith with
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).
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.
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.
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;
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).
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).
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.
Baptism. Through baptism, we
receive the circumcision of Christ (11-12).
Removal of sins (11).
Burial and resurrection with
Christ (12; cf. Rom 6:3-4).
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).
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).
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.
They are a shadow that points
to Christ, who is the substance (17; cf. Gal 3:19-23).
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.
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.