Colossians 2


  1. We have studied the great theological issue of the true Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ, so we can move on.
  2. In the first chapter, Paul saluted and greeted them, lifted up Jesus Christ, and exhorted continuing (1:23-29).
  3. If Paul were here, he would not be distracted by war in Iraq or socio-political events turning heads and hearts.
  4. He would preach Christ crucified (I Cor 2:2; Gal 6:14), and here are some of His most sublime sentences.
  5. Let us chew each bite of this chapter to enjoy its words, rather than inhale our food and leave it in the draught.
  6. If you made spiritual preparation for this time, you will benefit; if you did not, you will wonder at my zeal.
  7. This is a spiritual passage with a spiritual message for spiritual people; the carnally minded will be quite lost.
  8. Unless the Lord Jesus has mercy and opens your ears, eyes, and heart, this message will be vain and boring.
  9. If the Lord has mercy and opens your ears, eyes, and heart, it will feed your soul and bring faith (Rom 10:17).
  10. Sound doctrine takes endurance. It is far different than listening to fables to entertain the flesh (II Tim 4:3-4).

2:1 Paul stated his personal concern and desire for saints in Colosse, Laodicea, and elsewhere.

  1. He just declared his special dispensation of the glorious gospel of Christ for Gentiles (1:23-27).
  2. He appealed to them to consider his diligent zeal for their godly perfection in Christ (1:28-29).
  3. There were others, for whom Paul also cared, that had not seen him nor heard him preach.
  4. This verse gives the possibility, but not the proof, that he had not personally visited this church.
  5. If Paul was worried about them, then therefore they should be much worried about themselves!
  6. True ministers are gripped day and night to perfect the saints (4:12-13; Gal 4:19; Phil 1:23-30).
  7. True ministers are jealously at war for souls (II Corinthians 10:3-6; 11:1-2; II Timothy 2:1-4).
  8. True ministers seek perfection of the saints (Eph 4:12), rather than being drowned in funerals, administrative duties, weddings, production of programs, and wild missionary efforts in Zaire.
  9. His conflict will defend the Person of Christ (1-9) and the completeness of salvation (10-23).

2:2 His great conflict was for those saints to be comforted, united, and assured in Jesus Christ.

  1. Christianity is a heart religion. God must change our hearts, open them, and comfort them.
  2. The devils have a doctrinally correct head religion, but they have no heart for Christ (Jas 2:19).
  3. It cannot be just heart feelings, for it must be according to the truth of the gospel (Phil 1:9-11).
  4. He is about to use the rest of the verse to highly exalt understanding of knowledge in Christ.
  5. He taught that God-called pastors seek to perfect the knowledge of the Son of God (Eph 4:13).
  6. We must have understanding (John 4:24; I Cor 14:15), not just entertainment or fuzzy feelings.
  7. Hearts become cold, discouraged, distracted, or defeated; they need revival and strengthening.
  8. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled.” If your heart is troubled, here is the ultimate cure!
  9. Comfort is “intense strengthening.” He sought to strengthen the saints, not merely empathize.
  10. Comfort is to encourage, hearten, inspirit, incite, support, assist, aid, countenance, ‘back up’.
  11. He wanted to unite their hearts by Christian love in the thickest bond of all – Christ’s blood.
  12. If you have seen knitting, you have seen thousands of loops, ties, and knots connecting yarn.
  13. The love of Christ exceeds all the difficulties, or advantages, of age, race, sex, class, or culture.
  14. The children of God will spend eternity together; you might as well take advantage of it now.
  15. The purpose of the church is to provoke one another to love and good works (Heb 10:23-25).
  16. He wanted to fully assure their hearts in the mystery of God, of the Father, and of Jesus Christ.
  17. There have been and always will be attempts to cloud and confuse these essential elements.
  18. We cannot settle for a little assurance, or a whole lot of ignorance, in details of the Godhead.
  19. Full assurance in these glorious doctrines is riches that everyone should have to God’s glory.
  20. What do you count as riches? Is it wealth, power, health, family, strength, gain, wisdom, fun?
  21. Understanding is a wonderful blessing. It is comprehension of knowledge for right thinking.
  22. The knowledge of these things is a mystery to the world, mystery in the O.T., and a little to us.
  23. The only way these mysteries are known to man is by preaching of the gospel (I Cor 2:6-13).
  24. Jeremiah and Jesus taught us to be thankful for knowledge of God (Jer 9:23-24; Mat 13:16-17).
  25. The mystery of God: you are in a small minority who know Jehovah, I AM THAT I AM.
  26. Even Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not know the great and glorious God as Jehovah (Ex 6:3).
  27. Let it be known that Jehovah revealed Himself to Moses in Arabia (Midian), Allah’s home!
  28. The mystery of the Father: the blessed God begat the human nature of Jesus and adopted us.
  29. The mystery of Christ: He is the Godman, Immanuel, God with us, and the Word made flesh.
  30. So great is this mystery, the apostle Paul said there was no controversy about it (I Tim 3:16).
  31. And our blessed Lord tied them together when He told Mary, “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17).
  32. The incredible fact is that Jesus Christ, Jehovah in the flesh, is in us, the hope of glory (1:27).
  33. There is nothing in your life that you have, or something else you wish you had, that compares!
  34. If a church, its pulpit, or your life strays from this supreme object, you are foolishly doomed.
  35. Of what profit is this verse, unless we are truly comforted, united, and assured in Jesus Christ?
  36. The mystery of Jesus Christ is mentioned last, for Paul will expand on Him in the next verse.
  37. Is this mystery important? If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, Anathema Maranatha!

2:3 Having stated His great desire for their assurance in Christ, He adored His glorious wisdom.

  1. The blessed Lord Jesus had a human nature with the traits and weaknesses of man (Luke 2:52).
  2. United within to His human nature was the gloriously and infinitely intelligent Jehovah (2:9).
  3. We study Solomon’s proverbs each day, but there is One far wiser than Solomon (Matt 12:42).
  4. From external appearance only, and to the natural man, this infinite wisdom was well hid.
  5. But anyone choosing to debate Him discovered quickly, to their chagrin, He was their Master!
  6. This man had in Him the wisdom that flung this stupendous universe into place in six days!
  7. Here, as in a previous place (1:15-19), the apostle is lifting Jesus Christ to His rightful position.
  8. Do you not know what to do in a part of your life? Then go to the One Who has the answers!
  9. He is not far away, as He promised to dwell in us by His Spirit and give us wisdom (Jas 1:5).
  10. The worship of Greek philosophy was a temptation at the time, but all wisdom is in Christ.

2:4 His earnest and diligent desire and effort for them were due to seducers with enticing words.

  1. He identified Jesus Christ and glorified Him against the seducers who would denigrate Him.
  2. The warning is that evil seducers shall wax worse and worse in the last days (II Timothy 3:13).
  3. The cure is to preach the word and reject the effeminate form of godliness (II Tim 3:1 – 4:4).
  4. The source is irrelevant, as Paul does not care about any man, or any angel either (Gal 1:6-9).
  5. A true minister’s job to protect his sheep from the crafty and vicious efforts of wolves in wool!
  6. Beguiling words are not openly announcing intentions to demote Jesus Christ from His throne.
  7. Enticing words sound good; but when tested and tried against Scripture, they come up wanting.
  8. There is another Jesus, which is rejected from consideration by faithful saints (II Cor 11:3-4).
  9. The eternal sonship of Jesus Christ from Origen and the Nicene Creed is such beguiling heresy.
  10. It is the work of ministers to bring their hearers to the right knowledge of Jesus (Eph 4:13-15).
  11. There are constant efforts – motivated by Satan – to demote Jesus theologically and practically.

2:5 Based on the reports of their good order and stedfast faith, his spirit rejoiced in them.

  1. There is a “due order” to doctrine and practice, and faithful saints hold it firm (I Chron 15:13).
  2. There is disorderly doctrine and conduct, which cannot be tolerated (II Thess 3:6; Tit 3:10-11).
  3. Ministerial joy is the result of witnessing faithful perseverance in the truth of the gospel.
  4. We have been called to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3).
  5. Paul’s body was in prison in Caesarea or Rome, but his heart and affections were with them.
  6. Paul was “beholding” their order and stedfastness by the testimony of Epaphras (1:4-8).

2:6 Paul commanded their conduct to match the gospel of Jesus Christ they had been taught.

  1. Observe that the reception here is not of Christ Jesus the Saviour, but Christ Jesus the Lord!
  2. Notice the “as ye have been taught” in the next verse helping us understand the receiving here.
  3. This is not receiving Jesus as your personal Saviour, but hearing apostolic doctrine of Christ.
  4. The walk of a saint is the day-to-day conduct of a lifestyle to please the Lord Jesus Christ.
  5. Baptism is when we identify with Jesus Christ, and we are supposed to walk in newness of life.
  6. Hearing (receiving) about Christ, and believing and talking about Him are not nearly enough.
  7. If you walk in Christ as you were taught, you continue as disciples indeed (1:23; John 8:31).
  8. We are Christians, and we should never ashamed of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ at all!

2:7 They were to grow in Christ securely and fruitfully, stabilize in the faith, and be thankful.

  1. Roots go down to find stability for the tree; trunk, branches, and leaves go up for fruitfulness.
  2. The source and fruitfulness has to be in Him, where all fruitfulness originates (John 15:1-8).
  3. The foundation, edifice, and object of our faith must be always, only, and ever the Lord Jesus.
  4. They were to be established in the faith, or to be stable, secure, strengthened, and reinforced.
  5. It is not that they needed to be taught more, but they needed to be solidly fixed in the teaching.
  6. The true life of a saint is one of abounding thanksgiving, for all the benefits that are in Christ.
  7. Thanksgiving here is spiritual thanksgiving, by “therein,” the unspeakable gift (II Cor 9:15).
  8. If you are a long way from abounding with thanksgiving in Christ, today is the day to repent!
  9. Thanksgiving for spiritual blessings in Jesus Christ is a good spiritual barometer of your soul.
  10. Are you abounding? Or have you not even thought of salvation as an important item of praise?

2:8 Again, the great apostle warned against false doctrine and lying religion turning from Christ.

  1. Beware! They were to be cautious, on guard, wary, careful, vigilant, and sober due to danger.
  2. Again, we have the warning against any man, for Paul did not care, and neither should we care.
  3. Fear of man brings a snare (Pr 29:25), so reject them all (Job 32; Ps 119:98-100; I Tim 6:3-5).
  4. They could be spoiled – stripped, pillaged, plundered, and robbed – of their riches in Christ.
  5. Philosophy is a sophisticated presentation of natural knowledge against supernatural revelation.
  6. Paul warned Timothy against profane and vain babblings and false science (I Tim 6:20-21).
  7. Theology is a vain science, for any thinking outside revelation is speculation, as Nicea proved!
  8. The mystery of eternal generation, hallucinated by Origen, is a perfect example of this danger.
  9. Vain deceit is nothing more or less than worthless lies, which men will tell (I Timothy 4:1-3).
  10. Their lies are without any profit, but they are never presented as lies, so deceit is the danger.
  11. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle practiced false philosophy prior to the New Testament and Paul.
  12. Paul did not show any of them any respect, when he preached on Mars’ Hill (Acts 17:16-31).
  13. Man’s traditions are highly revered in many places, after the example of the Roman mother.
  14. Rome makes tradition one of its two pillars with Holy Scripture, which God rejects (Mark 7:9).
  15. Who in the world are the “church fathers”? The church’s only father is God? If men, then Paul.
  16. Rudiments are first principals or elementary aspects of a field of knowledge from the world.
  17. The only other use of the word is condemnation of man’s doctrines and commandments (2:20).
  18. To see the purpose of the repeated warnings, follow the explanatory “for” in the next verse.
  19. The text directly condemns heresies of Christ’s identity, but indirectly any carnal Christianity.
  20. There are both Greek philosophers and Jewish legalists that Paul is warning against, and the two of them came together rather neatly at times in various heresies and false doctrines.
  21. What do paganism and Judaism have in common? An obsessive adoration of ceremonial ritualism, which they call sacramentalism, which the daughters of Rome borrow for jewelry.

2:9 The great doctrine that must be defined, maintained, and defended is the full deity of Christ.

  1. Here is the reason Paul is writing the first half of this chapter, just as we saw earlier (2:2-4).
  2. Jesus is Jehovah, and there cannot be any corruption or spoiling of this doctrine whatsoever!
  3. He is not just the God Almighty of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob; He is Jehovah (Exodus 6:3)!
  4. He is not an inferior begotten god, as Origen believed and taught with his “eternal generation.”
  5. He is not the highest creature of God, as Arius believed and taught with “eternal generation.”
  6. He is not the prophet of Allah, inferior to Muhammed, which the Muslims want us to believe.
  7. He is not a god, distinct and inferior to the Mighty God, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses fantasize.
  8. He is not a begotten god, as the NWT of Russell’s Witnesses and NASV claim in John 1:18.
  9. He is not an eternally generated Son of God, as the Nicene Witnesses declare in their creed.
  10. He is not God of God and Light of Light, as the Nicene Witnesses perpetuate in their convents.
  11. See the sermon outlines entitled, “Jesus Is Jehovah” and “Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
  12. Let all denominations, religions, cults, and doctrine be tried by their testimony of Jesus Christ!
  13. Don’t you ever be ashamed of the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, though hell rise against you!
  14. Jesus of Nazareth said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). And then throw Acts 4:12 in for good measure. Then I Cor 16:22!

2:10 The settled fact of finished salvation is the saints’ complete perfection in their glorified Lord.

  1. Verses 1-9 defined the Person of Christ and warned that nothing be taken away from His identity; verses 10-15 define our salvation in Him and warn against anything be added to it.
  2. This is what the apostles did not want to be spoiled, which men want to steal away (Gal 2:4).
  3. These are precious words indeed – complete in Him. We do not need anything from any man!
  4. There is no system of religion needed to learn how to earn our acceptance and favor with God.
  5. There was nothing in the Old Testament to be carried over to complete or enhance salvation.
  6. Neither Greek philosophy nor the traditions of men could offer anything to improve salvation.
  7. Why is Christ’s Headship over principality and power introduced here? We are “complete in Him” by His victory over them (Rom 8:33-39; John 16:11; Heb 2:14; I John 3:8; Rev 12:5-11).
  8. The accusing devil has been cast out of heaven, and nothing can separate us from God’s love!
  9. Jesus is the Head of all principality and power – all the authority in the universe is under Jesus.
  10. The devil, which held us captive, has been defeated (Luke 11:22; John 12:31; II Tim 2:25-26).
  11. The source of all lies and heresies regarding the Son of God is a very defeated power (1:13).
  12. Since He is the head of all, do we need to fear anything or anyone? Our dear brother is Lord!
  13. So complete is your salvation and position in Him, no man can judge you with rules (2:16-17).

2:11 The circumcision of Christ is the spiritual cutting off of all our sins by Jesus Christ’s death.

  1. Why is circumcision introduced here? We are “complete in Him” (2:10) by His death and resurrection for our sins, which makes the hands-on Old Testament ritual exceeding worthless.
  2. Circumcision was only an Old Testament outward sign of mere ceremonial privilege in Israel.
  3. This circumcision, that the Colossians had already received, was done without human hands!
  4. This circumcision is in Jesus Christ, which we trace back by simple male pronouns to verse 8.
  5. Circumcision is the cutting off of unnecessary skin, which well represents cutting off our sins.
  6. The prepositional phrase requires either a subjective-genitive construction, Jesus did the circumcising, or an objective-genitive construction, Jesus was Himself circumcised, or cut off.
  7. Jesus paid for our sins by being cut off Himself: we choose the objective-genitive construction.
  8. Since Jesus Himself was cut off, do we choose the eighth day or last day of His blessed life?
  9. Jesus Christ was cut off out of the land of the living to pay for those sins (Is 53:8; Dan 9:26).
  10. Of course, Jesus did circumcise us (actively) by being circumcised at Calvary (passively).
  11. There is absolutely no value or connection of circumcision with godliness after the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15:1-31; Romans 2:28-29; 4:11; I Cor 7:18; Galatians 2:3-5; 5:1-4; 6:12-13).
  12. This is one of those rudiments of the world, which the Judaizers wanted to force on Gentiles.
  13. But this entire verse is entirely spiritually, describing our justification by Jesus being cut off.
  14. Here Paul is presenting the legal completeness we have in Jesus Christ by His sacrificial death.
  15. Paul argues our completeness in Christ by making Jewish circumcision a vain ritual (2:16-17).
  16. Here is not regeneration or sanctification in a vital sense, for the apostle places that in 2:13.
  17. The immediate context is not His active part in our salvation, but His passive part. See 2:12.
  18. Here is the body of the sins of the flesh that is cut off, but 2:13 is the flesh needing renovation.
  19. It is “in whom,” not by whom, here. He becomes the active agent of regeneration in 2:13.

2:12 Water baptism is the great act by which we declare faith in Christ’s burial and resurrection.

  1. Why is baptism introduced here? We are “complete in Him” (2:10) by His death and resurrection for our sins, which we picture gloriously in baptism in His likeness (Rom 6:3-11).
  2. If in this life only we have hope in Jesus Christ, we are of all men most miserable (I Cor 15:19); but we profess by baptism our faith in a coming resurrection, following His lead.
  3. Death has been conquered and resurrection promised, which we acknowledge by our baptisms.
  4. Baptism must be a burial, and baptism must be a resurrection; for by it we copy Jesus Christ.
  5. Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, and the rest of the churches in the brothel have no baptism.
  6. By baptism we put on the Lord Jesus Christ, which practically identifies us in Him (Gal 3:27).
  7. True faith in the operation of God must copy the figure of what He did for us (I Peter 3:21).
  8. The definite article, creating “the faith of the operation of God,” is not God’s faith (James 2:1).
  9. It is the faith of baptism, our faith in God’s operation of sending and raising Him from death.
  10. There is no Presbyterian funeral, for they must become pagans (cremation) or Baptists (burial)!
  11. It is a figurative burial alongside Him, for we take His name and bury our old man to Him.
  12. We believe in the resurrection of the dead, so we gladly show it by baptism (I Cor 15:29).
  13. We are complete in Him – we are fully assured that we shall be resurrected from the dead!
  14. God raised Him from the dead, which declared Him to the Son of God with power (Rom 1:4).
  15. This is the practical completeness we have in Him, we shall participate in a future resurrection.
  16. It is enticing words of beguilers who try to make the circumcision of the previous verse literal circumcision, and the baptism of this verse its sprinkling replacement for covenant blessings!
  17. The colon separating these verses is as much a break as the colon separating verses 10 and 11.
  18. Baptism and circumcision are unrelated spiritually, grammatically, and by revelation, at least!

2:13 Based on the forgiveness of sins, Jesus had quickened the Colossians to new life with Him.

  1. Why is regeneration introduced here? We are complete in Him (2:10), which requires vital life!
  2. The natural state of men, including the Colossians and the reader, was spiritual death in sins.
  3. It is another worthless lie to listen to anyone detract from Jesus by claiming we were only sick.
  4. For it took resurrection power to bring about the new nature of a believer (Eph 1:19; 2:1-5).
  5. The uncircumcision of their flesh was the vital corruption of their sinful flesh yet within them.
  6. Jesus Christ quickens, makes alive, or resurrects His sheep by His mighty voice (Jn 5:25-29).
  7. The vital application of our salvation could not have occurred without our sins being put away.
  8. Their legal circumcision is not enough; they must be vitally circumcised (Romans 2:28-29).

2:14 He eliminated and removed the rudiments and all aspects of the Law, which condemned us.

  1. He took all the commandments that condemned us and nailed them to His cross: it is finished!
  2. He blotted out all the handwriting, the finger of God in the Ten Commandments. Glory!
  3. The Law, given to prove man’s sinfulness, He completely fulfilled (Romans 3:20; 7:9-13).
  4. Those ordinances were contrary to us, for we could not keep them perfectly and perpetually.
  5. He took them out of the way, so that there was nothing impeding our approach unto the Father.
  6. We are complete in Him, dear reader. More complete than you fully comprehend and believe!
  7. To have your sins blotted out is an incredible blessing (Psalm 51:1,9; Isaiah 43:25; 44:22).

2:15 He spoiled and humiliated the principalities and powers of hell, which once owned our souls.

  1. See the comments already made on 2:10, where Paul begins this glorious section on salvation.
  2. Paul earlier stated our deliverance from the power of darkness into Christ’s kingdom (1:13).
  3. Jesus Christ spoiled the principalities by stripping, pillaging, plundering, and robbing Satan.
  4. He went into his devilish kingdom and took out of it everything that He desired and chose!
  5. You were once Satan’s obedient slave, walking according to his direction; but Jesus saved you.
  6. This was the great work of the stronger man binding the strong man, for you (Luke 11:20-22)!
  7. Satan had us as surely as he had Judas Iscariot and the Gadarene, to destroy us here and in hell.
  8. His name is Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyon (Greek), destroyer of men’s souls (Rev 9:11).
  9. But even the residual power of Christ is so great, he must flee, if you will resist him (Jas 4:7).
  10. He destroyed their power. He said the gates of hell could not resist the gospel (Matt 16:18).
  11. He shined His gospel light into the darkest places of the world (II Cor 4:3-7; Acts 26:16-18).
  12. These Colossians were pagan Greeks converted to the glorious gospel of Christ from darkness!
  13. He spoiled principalities and powers by delivering the mentally afflicted (Matthew 17:15-18).
  14. He spoiled principalities and powers by delivering the physically afflicted (Luke 13:16).
  15. He spoiled principalities and powers by making them worship Him and beg for hell to wait.
  16. He spoiled principalities and powers by taking their strongest weapon, death, and crushing it!
  17. But His great open shew and triumph over them was “in it,” in the bloody cross of Calvary!
  18. This was Satan’s hour. It was time for the promised war (Gen 3:15; Luke 22:53; John 14:30).
  19. When they thought they had Him, dying on the cross, forsaken by God, He was triumphing!
  20. The sun went dark! A thief worshipped Him! The rocks rent! The veil was torn open! The centurion worshipped Him! He rose again! Many saints rose and went into the city for open shewing! He shewed Himself alive with many infallible proofs! Give Him glory, dear reader!
  21. He robbed them of their place in heaven, and they were cast to the earth (John 12:31; Rev 12).
  22. You are complete! You are saved! There is nothing to add to His salvation! You are complete!
  23. See the sermon outlines “Give No Place to the Devil” and “The Power of Darkness.”

2:16 Due to being complete in Christ, no man can judge with Old Testament ceremonial laws.

  1. The “therefore” here draws a conclusion from the completeness of salvation in Christ (2:10).
  2. Paul’s two previous sentences have left the elect in a completed, finished salvation (2:10-15).
  3. No man (or woman), no pope, nor angel from heaven can alter the finished gospel (Gal 1:6-9).
  4. Men – false teachers – will judge the saints by making these things requirements of eternal life.
  5. Men have tried to add to the word of God from the beginning to earn their own way to heaven.
  6. Sacramentalism, or works salvation, has been and will be one of the threats against the truth.
  7. The most subtle and dangerous error is “Bible based” sacramentalism from the Old Testament.
  8. There has been a reformation of the worship of God, and it was not in the 1500s (Heb 9:10).
  9. The law and prophets were until John, now the kingdom of God is here (Luke 16:16; Jn 1:17).
  10. God’s worship is now inward and in truth, contrary to outward and in form (John 4:20-24).
  11. The “meat” here is the Old Testament dietary laws, but includes Catholic fasting, Hindu vegetarianism, and any other dietary commandments outside Scripture, by logical extension.
  12. The LORD gave commands about meat, which have passed away (Lev 11:1-47; Deut 14:3-21).
  13. These restrictive commands were imposed on Israel until the apostolic reformation (Heb 9:10).
  14. Every creature of God is good, as long as you eat with thanksgiving and prayer (I Tim 4:4-5).
  15. Truth is upheld each time you have a shrimp appetizer, bacon and eggs, or a pepperoni pizza!
  16. The SDA invented cereals and Graham crackers to get rid of meat and solve every health problem of man. The principles were Sylvester Graham, Charles Post, and William Kellogg.
  17. Before their anti-meat/anti-sex heresy, no one poured milk on grass in a bowl to start the day!
  18. Today, due to their heresy from Genesis 1, we have an epidemic of obesity and carb addiction.
  19. The “drink” here is the Old Testament dietary laws, but includes Catholic fasting, Eastern vegetarianism, the Temperance movement, and other unscriptural laws by logical extension.
  20. The LORD gave commands about drink, which also passed away (Numbers 5:24; 6:2-3; etc.).
  21. Again, we go to the plain argument of Paul that meat and drink laws passed away (Heb 9:10).
  22. The “holydays” here are the Old Testament feast days, which churches like Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God still try to keep in the 21st Century.
  23. Halloween, Christmas, and Easter, blatant pagan holy days, are to be judged (II Cor 6:14-17).
  24. The New Testament has a new Passover feast, which is the reality of Jesus Christ (I Cor 5:6-8).
  25. The “new moon” is the monthly calendar for Old Testament sacrifices (Num 10:10; 28:11-14).
  26. The “sabbath days” are the weekly sabbath days of the fourth command of the Old Testament.
  27. The Seventh Day Adventists, who made the Old Testament Sabbath Day their golden calf, will “beg the question” and “reason in a circle” when you bring them to a plain passage like this.
  28. The SDA is so extreme adoring the Sabbath, they make Sunday worship the mark of the beast.
  29. They will argue from the plural that Paul intended only the special Sabbath days, but he had already dealt with them under the terms of “holyday” and “new moon.”
  30. Are there not about 52 weeks in a year, which led Paul to use the plural “Sabbath days”?
  31. The origin of this fetish with them is Ellen G. White’s visions rather than the Word of God.
  32. We worship on the first day of the week, which is the Lord’s Day, with all the apostles and the churches of the saints (John 20:19,26; Acts 20:7; I Cor 16:1-2; Rev 1:10).
  33. He is the Lord of the Sabbath, and He gave us a new Lord’s Day – Sunday (Matthew 12:8).
  34. There are about 15 million Seventh Day Adventists in the world and growing 11% annually.
  35. Jehovah’s Witnesses, another cult from the Millerites, condemn blood transfusions by Moses.
  36. Paul preached on the Jewish Sabbath Day to unconverted Jews and proselytes (Acts 17:2-3).
  37. Don’t let Adventists tell you that Adam kept the Sabbath. Moses wrote Genesis (Neh 9:13-14).
  38. The Sabbath Day was a particular covenant for Israel under the Old Testament (Ex 31:12-18).
  39. If the Sabbath were still binding, the Council at Jerusalem would have included it (Acts 15).
  40. No apostle ever mentioned it again, except to condemn its binding character in this very verse.
  41. Pentecost, the 50th day after the Sabbath following the wave offering, was on a Sunday!
  42. Paul feared that believers keeping the days of Moses were a waste of his labors (Gal 4:9-11).
  43. If a man wants to keep Jewish days for his pleasure, let him do so privately (Rom 14:1-23).
  44. But let him remember that the kingdom of God is not based on meat and drink (Rom 14:17).
  45. All the ordinances of the Old Testament, which are contrary to us, He blotted out (Col 2:14).

2:17 Old Testament ceremonial laws were just figurative pictures of our coming reality in Christ.

  1. We have a relative pronoun “which,” but we need to ask which nouns “which” references.
  2. The Sabbath days just mentioned are a plural noun, but so are the five subjects listed together.
  3. Ceremonial aspects of the Law were shadows of the reality in Christ (Heb 8:5; 9:1-12; 10:1).
  4. The relative pronoun surely includes the last in the list, but it also includes the others as well.
  5. The body is of Christ – our organization, or organism – is the church of the New Testament!
  6. Old Testament saints only had the shadows, and they were of things to come after their death.
  7. We have the reality, and that reality is here now! We are incredibly blessed (Matt 13:16-17).
  8. A body creates a shadow, but we are the body; the Old Testament saints were the shadow.
  9. How did sabbaths shadow Christ? By the rest of His finished work (John 19:30; Heb 4:1-11).

2:18 Paul warns the third time against beguiling teachers who do not know what they preach.

  1. He has already warned of this grave danger twice before in just this single chapter (2:1,4,8).
  2. What is our reward, or benefit? Knowing our salvation is complete in Christ Jesus (2:10-15).
  3. What is our reward? Hope of salvation in Christ (3:24; Rom 4:4; Heb 10:35; 11:26; II Jn 1:8).
  4. False teachers pretend humility. Consider the effeminate, self-depreciating priests and nuns of Rome, whose arrogance against God is measured by countless heresies contrary to Scripture.
  5. False teachers introduce alternative worship. Consider the worship of saints of the Catholics.
  6. They make a fine show of humility, but they don’t have a problem stealing worship from God.
  7. They are not reluctant to elaborate on things they know nothing about but by God’s revelation.
  8. Catholics teach Mary’s immaculate conception, her perpetual virginity, and her assumption.
  9. Are we picking on Catholics? No! They just fit these verses far better than most other heretics.
  10. A little education does a lot for men – it can vainly puff up his fleshly mind to think he is wise.
  11. Some promote the worship of angels on the grounds they are too humble to go directly to God.

2:19 True religion is founded, fixed, increased, centered, and capped by the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. The mark of these heretics is to steal glory and preeminence from the Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. Consider carefully the preliminary work of Paul exalting Christ in 1:1-4; 1:13-20; and 2:1-9.
  3. We must, at all times, in every way, make the Lord Jesus Christ the only Person of our faith.
  4. The church is the body of Jesus Christ: all sustaining grace and strength comes through Him.
  5. We have here a verse summarizing true church growth taught also in Ephesians (Ep 4:11-16).
  6. Without Jesus Christ, a church can do nothing, will be nothing, and will be judged for poverty.
  7. Here we have mention of the practical salvation and blessing we have in Christ in the church.
  8. Here is the supreme goal for our church – holding the Head preeminent – even Jesus Christ.

2:20 Knowledge of complete salvation in Jesus Christ condemns any manmade rules for salvation.

  1. If we are complete (2:10), circumcised (2:11), buried, (2:12), regenerated and forgiven (2:13), justified (2:14), and delivered (2:15), no man can lay anything to our charge.
  2. If Jesus Christ is superior in His Person (2:1-9) and complete in His salvation (2:10-15), we have been delivered by anything the world can offer or require – the basics of any religion.
  3. No child of God should give the world any attention or listen to their vain attempts at bondage.
  4. The rudiments and ordinances of the world are explained as manmade rules in the next verses.
  5. If we have chosen by faith to die with Christ from ceremonial religion, let us not return to it.
  6. Paul will pick up this theme again, when he opens the third chapter, appealing to 2:12 again.

2:21 The little picky rules of manmade religion are the “do nots” of trying to earn favor with God.

  1. Paul here, in the parenthesis, makes fun and mocks the nitpicking commandments of men.
  2. Jesus said it is things on the inside that defile a man, but these are all things on the outside.
  3. Maybe you have heard, “I never touched a drop of alcohol in my life.” How holy you must be!
  4. Some say, “I don’t smoke, drink, or chew; nor hang around with those who do!” Is this holy?
  5. Paul allowed going to feasts with unbelievers and eating meat offered to idols (I Cor 10:27)!
  6. These rules were often Old Testament ceremonial laws, and sometimes merely manmade laws.

2:22 Heretics put burdens on men and threaten them with eternal judgment, if they do not obey.

  1. These are the commandments and doctrines of men. They are not found in the Word of God.
  2. The damnable heresy here is making such manmade rules binding for salvation and eternal life.
  3. If it cannot be found in the Word of God, then it is to be rejected, no matter how it may appear.
  4. The SDA may throw you out for eating meat, since they are vegetarians for manmade reasons.
  5. The SDA will charge you with the mark of the beast and the road to hell for Sunday worship.

2:23 Manmade religion does have its superficial attractions that deceive the simple hearts of fools.

  1. Paul does not deny, but admits “indeed,” that false religion has an appeal in certain false ways.
  2. For those impressed by human conduct rather the Word of God, heresy will be very deceptive.
  3. Their outwardly pious conduct and constant attention to “religion” impresses simplistic minds.
  4. The things under consideration are the commandments and doctrines of men for pleasing God.
  5. The “self-less” dedication and service of priests and nuns have seduced many to Catholicism.
  6. They make a show of wisdom in worshipping their own will by choosing their own ways to worship God (self-will) and by denying themselves unnecessarily (excessive self-denial).
  7. Being more conservative than Scripture is no better than being more liberal than Scripture, as some have foregone marriage or foregone consummating their marriage in self-willed heresy.
  8. Which was worse? The liberal ideas of the Sadducees? Or the conservatism of the Pharisees?
  9. They make a show of wisdom in the false humility and pretense mentioned earlier of feigning themselves humble by their outward appearance and subservience to leaders (2:18; Matt 6:16).
  10. Outward humility proves nothing at all. “Pride may be pampered while the flesh grows lean.”
  11. They make a show of wisdom in neglecting of the body from things the bodily naturally needs, as pretending their great nobility and spirituality puts much more emphasis on the spiritual.
  12. Their religion is dishonorable by not satisfying the flesh, as God holily intended (Deut 14:26; Psalm 104:14-15; 127:2; Prov 11:17; Eccl 5:18-19; Song 2:3-7; Matt 6:31-33; I Tim 6:17).
  13. We declare again – the marriage bed is honorable – contrary to Rome (Heb 13:4; I Tim 4:1-3).
  14. Catholics, living in monasteries and convents (prisons) after vowing celibacy and poverty, creep around in ascetic self-denial and mock humility, neglecting honorable body needs.
  15. Amish, living in squalor and poverty, reject all the witty inventions of God (Proverbs 8:12).

For further study:

  1. Review the true Sonship of Jesus Christ
  2. Philosophy confusing Christ
  3. Seven Day Adventists and meat
  4. Seventh Day Adventists and cereal
  5. Seventh Day Adventists and cereal
  6. Seventh Day Adventists and Saturday
  7. Seventh Day Adventists and Saturday