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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Colossians 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-23

Colossians 2:1. 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;

Paul had not met these Colossian Christians, but he had heard of their faith, and hope, and love, and he so desired their good that he had a continual care for them in his heart. He carried that care to God in prayer, yet he still bore them in loving remembrance. They were always on his heart as a sick child is ever on the heart of its mother.

Colossians 2:2-3. 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.

In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He wanted them to know God, and to rest comforted and happy in what he revealed. He saw in them a tendency to look abroad for something more than that, a desire to tack something else on to the gospel, a wish to try and find some fresh light outside the Word, and over this he greatly grieved. He himself was more than satisfied with the gospel, and he wanted them to be, in that respect, as he was.

Colossians 2:4. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.

They did not openly contradict the gospel, they pretended to have a great affection for it, and then they tried to tear the very heart out of it with their enticing words of man’s wisdom.

Colossians 2:5. 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.

He never forgot them; and it was his joy when he found them standing fast in Christ, and his sorrow and his horror when they went away after anyone else.

Colossians 2:6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

“Do not turn away from him, do not dream of going beyond him. You received him at first very simply, you trusted in him entirely, so go on doing so. You were satisfied with Christ when you first came to him, so be satisfied with him still, for you do not need anything more than Christ, and there is nothing more than Christ.”

Colossians 2:7. Rooted and built up in him,

“Take a living hold of Christ as a tree does of the soil. Be also built up in him; as a building settles down upon the foundation, so do you settle down upon Christ.”

Colossians 2:7. And stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

When a man is established in the truth that he knows, and rejoices in what he has already received, he will not go away from it.

Colossians 2:8. Beware lest any man spoil you

(plunder you, it might be rendered,)

Colossians 2:8. through philosophy and vein deceit,

“Beware of those who pretend that they are going to enrich you, but whose real object is to plunder you. They say that they will give you advanced thought, deeper ideas, a system more congruous with the age; but it is” —

Colossians 2:8. After the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

“What do you want with their traditions? Christ has revealed his truth to you. What do you want with the world’s rudiments? You have gone beyond such elementary, useless knowledge as that, for you have got the truth itself.”

Colossians 2:9. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

In Christ, we enter into the fullness and completeness of life both materially and spiritually.

Colossians 2:10-11. Which is the head of all principality and power: 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;

“The Jew boasts that he is a circumcised man, but you have spiritually all that circumcision meant literally. Even though you have not the wounded your flesh, you have more than that, for you have the death of the flesh and your very flesh has been buried with Christ. All that circumcision can possibly mean you have in Christ.”

Colossians 2:12. 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.

“You have death, burial, and resurrection, all in Christ; and you received the outward sign and token of this when you were baptized, so believe firmly that it is so, and do not look anywhere else for it. You are neither dead nor buried apart from Christ, nor are you driven apart from him all you have is in him.”

Colossians 2:13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.

“You do not need to go to a ‘priest’ for pardon, for Christ has forgiven you all your trespasses. You are so complete in Christ that confession to man and priestly absolution from man would be of no use to you.”

Colossians 2:14. 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;

“All the Mosaic ceremonials, from which you were shut out as Gentiles, are abolished. Christ has driven a nail through them and fastened them up to his cross.” As, sometimes, a banker stamps through a cheque when it is paid, so has Christ but through the very heart of all Jewish ordinances by what he has done for his people.

Colossians 2:15. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Exhibiting them as his prisoners in a triumphal procession, as the victorious Roman Generals did when they returned from war.

Colossians 2:16. 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;

“Do not put yourselves under rules and regulations which God has not ordained. If you think it is right for you to abstain from certain drinks do so, but do not act thus simply because others do so. If you abstain from certain meats, because they have been offered to idols, and the consciences of others might be offended if you partook of them, do not act thus as though it would save you. Do not make yourself subject to the judgment of other men, for Christ is your Law-giver and Lord.”

Colossians 2:17. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

“You can do without the shadow now that you have the substance; so keep to that.” Some men multiply church ordinances; they have this form and that form, well, let them have them if they find them of service; but do not you bring yourself under subjection to anything of the kind; follow the New Testament and above all things keep close to Christ, for he is everything to you.

Colossians 2:18. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility-

We know those who say, “We do not know anything, we are only seekers, trying to find out the truth.” They talk very humbly considering how desperately proud they really are, but that humility which makes men doubt is mock humility, and is not of God. “Let no man beguile you of your reward.” When you have learned the truth from the Scriptures, be dogmatic about it, do not be afraid of the presumption of which venue will accuse you, or the bigotry which they will impute to you.

Colossians 2:18. And worship of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,

Agnostics by their name confess that they do not know, but do not let them take away from you what you do know, and set you to investigate matters which are beyond you with a judgment which they would lead you to think is well nigh infallible, whereas your judgment is very fallible indeed. Be not puffed up by your fleshly mind.

Colossians 2:19. And not holding the Head,

That is the point, these people get away from the Deity of Christ, they get away from the atoning blood, they get away from glorifying him who alone is the Truth.

Colossians 2:19. From which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increased with the increase of God.

Take away the head, and there is death, everything is out of order then. If the Head be denied, if any doctrine be taught which is contrary to the glory of Christ, you have killed the body however much you may pretend to be increasing and feeding it

Colossians 2:20-22. Therefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances. (Touch not; taste not; handle not; which, all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

You may and you should feel that there are some things which you will not touch, or taste, or handle. You had better let poisonous drugs alone; but, at the same time, if any man seeks to impose upon you any regulation concerning them as a part of the faith, you may resist it and repudiate it, and plead your freedom in Christ.

Colossians 2:23. Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship,-

There were some of the Jews who would not eat certain kinds of meat, and others who would fast for long periods. Some thought it was very wicked to eat flesh meat on a certain day, and there were many such notions; and similar superstitions still survive among us, such as not eating meat on Fridays, being afraid of thirteen people sitting at table, and so on: but you have nothing to do with all that kind of rubbish so get away from it. If you are a believer in Christ, tread all such nonsense under your feet. “Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship,” —

Colossians 2:23. And humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour-

There is no honour about such things, they are contemptible: “not in any honour” —

Colossians 2:23. To the satisfying of the flesh.

That is all such things would do, — make you seem better than other people; so do not be led into these ways, but stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made his people free.


Verses 6-17

Colossians 2:6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

Do not go away from him. You have received him; keep to him. Whatever he was to you at first, let him be that to you to the very last. Do not begin with Christ, and then go back to self; let it be all Christ from first to last.

Colossians 2:7. Rooted and built up in him,

Growing in him. Have your very life, like a tree, rooted in Christ; and like a temple, built up in Christ.

Colossians 2:7. And stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein, with thanksgiving.

Do not forget what you have been taught; do not reject it; keep to it. He who should learn one system of philosophy, and then unlearn it, and begin another, and then unlearn that, and begin another, would be more likely to turn out a fool than a philosopher; and he who begins to learn the faith in one way, and then tries to learn it in another way, and then attempts to learn it in yet another way, is more likely to be a skeptic than to be a saint.

Colossians 2:8. 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.

Plenty of people would spoil you in this way, by teaching you their profound thoughts, their grand inventions, their bright ideas. Beware of all of them.

Colossians 2:9. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Everything, then, must be in Christ if all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in him. Why do you want to go anywhere else for wisdom? What can you find by going elsewhere? “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

Colossians 2:10. And ye are complete in him,

You are like vessels filled up to the brim. You are like warriors thoroughly furnished, fully armed for the fight: “Ye are complete in him.”

Colossians 2:10-11. Which is the head of all principality and power: 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:

All that the Jew ever had you have in Christ, only you have the real purification of which his rite was but a symbol.

Colossians 2:12. 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.

It is only as you are one with Christ that baptism will be to you what he intended; but “buried with him in baptism,” you are dead to all beside, and all your life lies in him.

Colossians 2:13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision, of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him,

All your life is in Christ; you are “quickened together with him.”

Colossians 2:13. Having forgiven you all trespasses;

Your pardon is given to you in Christ. Oh, how full and how free is that forgiveness that comes to you through Christ Jesus!

Colossians 2:14-15. 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; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

His cross was his triumph. Then he led captivity captive. What more do you want? Your enemy is vanquished, your sins blotted out, your death changed to life, your necessities all supplied. Will you not stay at home with Christ? “Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way?” Canst thou have a better lover than thy Lord, a dearer husband than the heavenly Bridegroom? Oh, love the Lord, ye his saints; cling to him, and make much of him; let him be all in all to you!

Colossians 2:16. 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:

Do not let anybody come in, and tell you that it is necessary for your salvation that you should abstain from this meat or that drink, that there is a merit in fasting for forty days in Lent, or that you cannot be saved without observing such and such a holy day. Your salvation is in Christ. Keep you to that, and add nothing to this one foundation which is once for all laid in him.

Colossians 2:17. Which are a shadow of things to come;

That is all that they are: “a shadow of things to come.”

Colossians 2:17. But the body is of Christ.

Christ is the real one thing needful. Mind that you have the substance, for then you can let the shadows go. May God bless to us all this brief reading of his Word!


Verses 6-23

Colossians 2:6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: —

That is, keep on as you began. Christ was enough for you when, as poor, guilty sinners, you came and trusted him; so keep on trusting him in the same way as you did at the first. Do not try to live by feeling, after having lived by faith. Do not begin to live upon outward forms and ceremonies after having found salvation by grace through faith: “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:”

Colossians 2:7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

Christians are to make progress in the heavenward road; but they are not to have any other foundation for their faith than they had at the beginning of their Christian career. We are still to stand fast as we stood at the first; we are to be rooted, grounded, “stablished in the faith,” keeping to the old truth that saved our souls, and laying hold upon the same Saviour with greater tenacity every hour of our lives. We are not to be like chaff driven before the wind,— for ever moving; but to be like the cedars of Lebanon, firmly rooted, and withstanding the heaviest storms.

Colossians 2:8. Beware lest any man spoil you —

Or, “rob you”

Colossians 2:8. Through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Cleave to Christ, beloved. Go no further than he leads you; and turn not away from him either to the right hand or to the left. In him are contained all the riches of grace, and all the treasures of knowledge. If you would become truly wise, seek to know more of the wisdom of God in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 2:9-10. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

You have everything in Christ that you ought to want; you are fully furnished, completely supplied and equipped for all future service. You need not go to Christ for the supply of some of your needs, and then go elsewhere for the supply of other needs; but, “ye are complete in him.”

Colossians 2:11. 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:

Anything good that there was in Judaism, you have secured to you in Christ. Whatever there was of blessing and privilege in the covenant mark in the flesh of those whom God made to be his people in the olden time, you have handed on to you by the death of Christ.

Colossians 2:12-15. 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. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took at out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

The Lord Jesus Christ has done everything for his people, fought their battle, won their victory, and, on their behalf, celebrated the triumph in the streets of heaven, “leading captivity captive.” What more, then, do we want? Surely Christ is enough for us.

Colossians 2:16. 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:

Do not put yourself under the bondage of any rules and regulations that may be made by men. If you choose to do anything, or to abstain from something else, because you judge it to be right and beneficial, do so. Christ is your only Ruler and Leader; and if he does not command anything, let it not signify to you who does command, it,

Colossians 2:17. Which are a shadow of things to come;

All this regard for meats, and drinks, and holy days, and new moons, is but a shadow; what is the great substance that is all-important?

Colossians 2:17-18. But the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, —

Do not be beguiled by those who tell you that you ought to pay reverence to angels, and saints, and I know not what besides. One day is called St. Matthew’s, and another is St. Michael’s, and one, I suppose, is St. Judas’s day; there are all sorts of supposed saints, some of whom are never mentioned in the Bible, and about whom nobody ought to care at all: “Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels,” —

Colossians 2:18-20. Intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 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. 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,—

Such ordinances as these,—

Colossians 2:21-22. (Touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

I have actually seen this text quoted as though it stood as a matter of teaching,-“Touch not; taste not; handle not;”— whereas the apostle here means, “Why are ye subject to such ordinances of men when Christ has set you free from them all? If, with a view to the good of your fellowmen, you choose not to touch, or taste, or handle, you will act very wisely; but, as far as your own conscience is concerned, do not submit to any merely human regulations as to your manner of life,”

Colossians 2:23. 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.

This exposition consisted of readings from Colossians 2:6-23; and Colossians 3:1-3.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Colossians 2:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/colossians-2.html. 2011.

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Friday, December 13th, 2019
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