1: How great a conflict - Of care, desire, prayer.
As many as have not seen my face - Therefore, in writing
to the Colossians, he refrains from those familiar
appellations, "Brethren," "Beloved."
2: Unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding,
unto the acknowledgment of the mystery of God - That is, unto the
fullest and clearest understanding and knowledge of the gospel.
6: So walk in him - In the same faith, love, holiness.
7: Rooted in him - As the vine. Built - On the sure foundation.
8: Through philosophy and empty deceit - That is, through
the empty deceit of philosophy blended with Christianity. This
the apostle condemns,
Because it was empty and deceitful, promising happiness,
but giving none.
Because it was grounded, not on solid reason, but the
traditions of men, Zeno, Epicurus, and the rest. And,
Because it was so shallow and superficial, not advancing
beyond the knowledge of sensible things; no, not beyond the
first rudiments of them.
9: For in him dwelleth - Inhabiteth, continually abideth, all the
fulness of the Godhead. Believers are "filled with all the
fulness of God," (Eph 3:19).
But in Christ dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead; the most
full Godhead; not only divine powers, but divine nature, (Col 1:19).
Bodily - Personally, really, substantially. The very substance of
God, if one might so speak, dwells in Christ in the most full sense.
10: And ye - Who believe. Are filled with him -(Joh 1:16). Christ is filled with God, and ye are
filled with Christ. And ye are filled by him.
The fulness of Christ overflows his church, (Ps 133:3).
He is originally full. We are filled by him with wisdom and
holiness. Who is the head of all principality and power - Of
angels as well as men Not from angels therefore, but from their
head, are we to ask whatever we stand in need of.
11: By whom also ye have been circumcised - Ye have
received the spiritual blessings typified of old by circumcision.
With a circumcision not performed with hands - By an inward,
spiritual operation. In putting off, not a little skin, but
the whole body of the sins of the flesh - All the sins of your
evil nature. By the circumcision of Christ - By that spiritual
circumcision which Christ works in your heart.
12: Which he wrought in you, when ye were as it were
buried with him in baptism - The ancient manner of baptizing
by immersion is as manifestly alluded to here, as the other
manner of baptizing by sprinkling or pouring of water is,(Heb 10:22). But no stress is laid on the age of the baptized,
or the manner of performing it, in one or the other; but only
on our being risen with Christ, through the powerful operation
of God in the soul; which we cannot but know assuredly, if it
really is so: and if we do not experience this, our baptism has
not answered the end of its institution. By which ye are also
risen with him - From the death of sin to the life of holiness.
It does not appear, that in all this St. Paul speaks of
justification at all, but of sanctification altogether.
13: And you who were dead - Doubly dead to God, not only
wallowing in trespasses, outward sins, but also in the
uncircumcision of your flesh - A beautiful expression for original
sin, the inbred corruption of your nature, your uncircumcised
heart and affections. Hath he - God the Father. Quickened
together with him - Making you partakers of the power of his
resurrection. It is evident the apostle thus far speaks, not of
justification, but of sanctification only.
14: Having blotted out - in consequence of his gracious
decrees, that Christ should come into the world to save sinners,
and that whosoever believeth on him should have everlasting
life. The handwriting against us - Where a debt is contracted,
it is usually testified by some handwriting; and when the debt
is forgiven, the handwriting is destroyed, either by blotting
it out, by taking it away, or by tearing it. The apostle
expresses in all these three ways, God's destroying the
handwriting which was contrary to us, or at enmity with us.
This was not properly our sins themselves, (they were the debt,)
but their guilt and cry before God.
15: And having spoiled the principalities and powers - The
evil angels, of their usurped dominion. He - God the Father.
Exposed them openly - Before all the hosts of hell and heaven.
Triumphing over them in or by him - By Christ. Thus the
paragraph begins with Christ, goes on with him, and ends with
16: Therefore - Seeing these things are so. Let none
judge you - That is, regard none who judge you. In meat or
drink - For not observing the ceremonial law in these or any
other particulars. Or in respect of a yearly feast, the
new moon, or the weekly Jewish sabbaths.
17: Which are but a lifeless shadow; but the body,
the substance, is of Christ.
18: Out of pretended humility, they worshipped angels,
as not daring to apply immediately to God. Yet this really
sprung from their being puffed up: (the constant forerunner
of a fall, (Pr 16:18)) so far was it from being an instance of
19: And not holding the head - He does not hold Christ,
who does not trust in him alone. All the members are nourished
by faith, and knit together by love and mutual sympathy.
20: Therefore - The inference
begun, (Col 2:16); is continued.
A new inference follows, (Col 3:1).
If ye are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world - That
is, If ye are dead with Christ, and so freed from them, why
receive ye ordinances - Which Christ hath not enjoined, from
which he hath made you free.
21: Touch not - An unclean thing. Taste not - Any
forbidden meat. Handle not - Any consecrated vessel.
22: Perish in the using - Have no farther use, no
influence on the mind.
23: Not sparing the body - Denying it many gratifications, and
putting it to many inconveniences. Yet they are not of any
real value before God, nor do they, upon the whole, mortify,
but satisfy, the flesh. They indulge our corrupt nature, our
self - will, pride, and desire of being distinguished from others.