A Study of Colossians 2:10-14 presents Jesus as the sovereign God who spiritually circumcises, the one who replaces the law, and baptism the symbol of a new life in Christ.

A Study of Colossians 2:10-14.  Jesus is the sovereign God who spiritually circumcises.

V.10 And you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority

Paul says in V.9, the whole fullness of deity dwelled bodily in Jesus and in V.10, the Colossians were filled in Jesus. Although “fullness” in V.9 and “filled” in V.10 use the same root Greek word, their meanings are different. To be filled in Jesus doesn’t mean Christ’s divinity or his perfection is passed on to us. But that in him all our spiritual needs are met. Paul says more about this “fullness” in Ephesians 1:23 and 3:19.

The Greek word for “rule” is archē, and means rule, power, magistrate and chief in order, time, place, or rank. “Authority” is the Greek ĕxŏusia, which includes mastery, power, right and strength. In other words, Jesus is God and therefore, sovereign. He rules over all and therefore, all spiritual requirements are met in him alone.

The old and new

V.11 In him also, you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands…

Genesis 17:1-14 records the covenant God established with Abraham. And it included circumcising all Jewish males. So if some of the false teachings the Colossians faced included converting to Judaism, it meant circumcision too. Perhaps he was warning them of what following such a teaching involved.

Putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ

Paul differentiates between the Old covenant practice of circumcision and the New covenant relationship with Jesus Christ. What he calls a circumcision made without hands. One is physical and the other is spiritual. Circumcision of new Gentile believers was a controversial topic in the early church. And Paul addresses it more fully in Galatians 5:1-13 and Romans 2:25-30.

A Study of Colossians 2:10-14. Baptism symbolizes a new life in Christ.

V.12 Buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised with him through faith…

Baptism is a symbol of the New Covenant. It pictures the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and publicly demonstrates a new believer’s faith in Jesus Christ. And a symbol of identification, not a qualification for salvation. But an act of obedience that follows the example of Jesus. However, it’s not simply punching an entrance ticket to heaven. But the public declaration of an intent to follow Jesus’ example of dying to self. The shedding of a sin nature and the start of a new nature in Christ.

The powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

Salvation comes through faith in Jesus. Yet, it’s because of a powerful work of God. Therefore, baptism symbolically pictures the Gospel story. But it was through an actual historic event. God physically raised Jesus from the dead. And He spiritually raises those who follow Jesus.

A Study of Colossians 2:10-14. Jesus fulfills and replaces the law.

V.13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses…

Paul also discusses circumcision in Ephesians 2:10-13. And it helps further explain his meaning here. In short, as uncircumcised Gentiles, but more importantly guilty sinners, they were spiritually dead. However, God made them alive by forgiving those sins through Jesus’ sacrifice. Today, we likewise experience forgiveness and spiritual life through Jesus. 

V.14 By cancelling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

God forgives sin because Jesus fulfilled all the requirements of the law. And through his sacrifice for sin, he cancelled the debt. The cross is where he completed that mission. The instrument of his death. And the provision that sets us free.

Chip Tudor is an author, blogger and professional writer. He publishes books, humorous Christian drama, and thought provoking blogs from a Christian worldview.

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