I) [Col 2:1-7]:

(v. 1) "I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally.

(v. 2) My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ,

(v. 3) in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

(v. 4) I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.

(v. 5) For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

(v. 6) So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him,

(v. 7) rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

II) [Col 2:8-12]:

(v. 8) "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

"basic principles of this world" = "ta stoicheia tou kosmou"

[Bob DeWaay, Pastor Believers in Grace Fellowship, Cedar Rapids, IA, 'Critical Issues Commentary, March/April 2002]:

"The danger of being 'taken captive' by the same heresy that was threatening the Colossians is as real today as it was in first century Colossae...

What... is at issue is the sufficiency of Christ as proclaimed through the Gospel... This makes it equally clear that whatever was the nature of the false teaching circulating among the Christians at Colossae, it called into question the sufficiency of Christ, the secure position of those who are 'in Christ,' and the adequacy of the finished work of Christ on the cross in delivering believers from the hostile powers...

"stoicheia" are evil, hostile powers. It was these that both Jews and Pagans feared... They feared the "stoicheia" because it was widely believed that these controlled 'fate.'...

Pagans and Jews alike (and evidently some Christian teachers at Colossae) were looking for help in averting the work of the "stoicheia" in their lives. Much of the popular folk religion of the day was focused on this...

What they had in common was the idea that evil forces threatened their well-being and that certain 'magical' practices were necessary to avert their influence.

Astrology provides a good illustration of how something like this is practiced in our day. Persons with varying religious backgrounds consult horoscopes, and take them seriously. When Hindu, Moslem, Jewish, or 'Christian,' people read horoscopes, they mostly do not see this as a repudiation of their own religion, or a conversion to paganism as an organized religion. What is happening, however, is that the pagan ideas of astrology (that one's fate is tied up in the stars - which 'fate' might be averted by the right processes and information) are integrated into the person's larger religious world view. This is what is called 'syncretism.' Astrologers are quick to tell their clients that astrology works with any particular religion...

Jewish angelic names can be found on pagan amulets, being invoked to help the pagan avert the influence of the "stoicheia". There was much borrowing of material in the quest to find the right intermediaries that could be called upon for help... this sort of syncretism and popular folk religion lies behind the Colossian error."

(v. 9) For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,

(v. 10) and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.

(v. 11) In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ,

(v. 12) having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead."

III) [Col 2:13]:

(v. 13) "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,"

"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature" =


1) [Compare Eph 2:1]:

(v. 1) "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,

(v. 2) in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

(v. 3) All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."

[Norman L. Geisler, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, Walvoord & Zuck, Victor Books, USA, p. 678]:

"[Col 2:13-14]. Before a person is liberated to this new life in Christ, he is dead in his sins and in his sinful nature... Death means separation, not annihilation.

[Especially since this passage refers to physically alive individuals before they become believers]

Even the unsaved still bear the image of God (Gen. 9:6; James 3:9), but they are separated from God. Cut off from spiritual life, they still have human life."

[Harold W Hoehner, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, op. cit., p. 622]:

"[Eph 2:1]. Unregenerate persons are dead in...transgressions and sins. This death is spiritual, not physical, for unsaved people are very much alive physically. Death signifies absence of communication with the living. One who is dead spiritually has no communication with God; he is separated from God. The phrase 'in your transgressions and sins' shows the sphere of the death, suggesting that sin has killed people (Rom 5:12; 7:10; Col 2:13) and they remain in that spiritually dead state. Transgressions' (paraptwmasin, 'false steps'; cf. Eph 1:7; 2:5) and 'sins' (hamartiais, 'acts of missing the mark'), though slightly different in their root meanings, are basically synonymous. Both suggest deliberate acts against God and His righteousness and thus failure to live as one should. The plural of these two nouns signifies people's repetitious involvement in sin and hence their state of unregeneration."

III cont.) [Col 2:13 cont.]:

(v. 13) "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,"

"God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins" =


1) [Compare Eph 2:1-6]:

(v. 1) "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,

(v. 2) in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

(v. 3) All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

(v. 4) But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy,

(v. 5) made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved."

2) [Compare Acts 10:43]:

"All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."

[Geisler, cont.]:

"But now God made you alive with Christ (cf. Eph 2:1-6). The same 'power' (energeias; cr. 'energy' in Col. 1:29) that raised Christ from the dead (2:12) resurrects believing sinners to spiritual life (v. 13).

This new life came when God forgave us all our sins..."

IV) [Col 2:13-14]:

(v. 13) "When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,

(v. 14) having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross."

"He forgave us all our sins having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross." =


The Law is a picture of the absolute righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. Only He among all men could and did keep the Law perfectly and in conjunction with His sacrificial death provide the only way for mankind to be reconciled to God. The Law is a picture of what Scripture foretold was the Savior to come - of the standard of absolute perfection which a man must never fail to live by, which our Lord in fact demonstrated in His life. Now that Christ has come, it is His life and death on the cross that has superseded, i.e., has taken the place of the Law. He Himself has fulfilled it on our behalf because no individual except the Lord Jesus Christ could perfectly keep the Law and then take upon Himself the penalty for the world's sins, (1 Jn 2:2).

Note that something that has been canceled relative to forgiveness of sins had to have been in effect at some time before it was canceled relative to being a set of rules to keep in order to receive forgiveness of sins unto eternal life. If the Law was canceled by our Lord's work on the cross then it was in full force before that as a means for forgiveness of sins, i.e., salvation unto eternal life. Everyone who lived during the period when the Law was in effect was held accountable to keep the Law in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Since no one kept the Law perfectly during the times before calvary, no one went to heaven when they died. All remained under God's judgment for violating the Law after they died even Moses, David and the prophets, (and all the saints of the Old Testament period: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob et. al.).

But there has always been another way to enter the Kingdom of God throughout the ages - through the Promise of Abraham - trusting alone in a Messiah alone to take care of ones accountability before God, even under the Law. For one must come to the realization of the impossibility of being held innocent before a Holy God - no matter when they lived, no matter what system of rules they were required to live by.

So when Christ died on the cross, nailing the Law to the cross, it canceled the accountability of the Law for everyone who was under it as well as any and all rules of self-righteousness - rules to live by in order to be saved if they trusted in Christ to do just that - throughout the ages. Then and only then - in the past before the cross (and now too) - when an individual trusted in God's promise through His Son of taking care of this problem of being held accountable to God for not being as righteous as God could one be brought into the presence of God in heaven.

When the Old Testament saints who did trust in this promise of Abraham died, they actually were held in Hades until the time came when God was justified in bringing them into heaven which our Lord did when He was resurrected []. (The paradise compartment in Hades - which was quite pleasant to be present in, but no where near being in the presence of God in heaven).

Unfortunately for those during this period, (and all periods of time), who did not trust alone in Christ alone to take care of their accountability problem before God will not make it to heaven.

1) [Ro 10:4]:

"Christ is the end of the Law so that there may be [God's] righteousness for everyone who believes."


"Christ is the end of the Law" = The end of the Law signifies that one is no longer held accountable to live a perfectly righteous life as pictured by the Law in order to have eternal life. Now through the provision provided by our Lord at Calvary, such a righteousness is accounted to one who believes in Jesus as Savior.

1) [Compare Ro 3:21-24]:

(v. 21) "But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.

(v. 22) This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,

(v. 23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

(v. 24) and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

2) [Compare Phil 3:8-9]:

(v. 8) "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ

(v. 9) and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from ...[keeping] law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith."


Notice that the Law is taken away which includes the obligatory observation of such things as the Sabbath day, and special holy days, and dietary restrictions, etc.., etc.

[Geisler, cont.]:

"[God] canceled the written code. Before God's written Law, His 'written code,' people stood condemned (cf. Rom 3:19), so it worked against them and opposed them. But in Christ the Law is fulfilled (Rom 8:2) and done away with (Gal 3:25; Heb 7;12). Legalism is wrong because believers are dead to the Law in Christ. He fulfilled its demands in His life and by His death, and Christians are in Him.

This written code, the Law, was like a handwritten 'certificate of debt' (NASB) Since people cannot keep the Law, it is like a bill of indebtedness. So people, unable to pay the debt, are criminals. but Jesus took...away this criminal charge, this certificate of indebtedness, by His death. It is as if He were nailing it to the cross with Him, showing He paid the debt. He wiped the slate clean."

IV) [Col 2:15-17]:

(v. 15) And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.[3]

(v. 16) Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New- Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.

(v. 17) These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ."


The passage in Colossians reads simply that no man is to judge another relative to the way one acts relative to what the Mosaic Law, the 'written code' stipulates an individual must do who is under that Law - because Christ, by His work on the cross, canceled such 'written code' as necessary to follow:


So before the church age those under the Mosaic Law were indeed required to keep the Sabbath, and follow the Law re: what he ate, and drank, and what special days he observed before God and in what specific manner. But believers of this age are not under such Law:

1) [Romans 6:14]:

"For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace."

2) [Compare Gal 4:10-11]:

(v. 10) "You are observing special days and months and seasons and years!

(v. 11) I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you."

[Campbell, cont.]:

"4:10. Under the influence of the Judaizers the Galatians had at least begun to observe the Mosaic calendar. They kept special days (weekly sabbaths), and months (new moons), and seasons (seasonal festivals such as Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles), and years (sabbatical and jubilee years). (Cf. Col. 2:16.) They observed these special times, thinking that they would thereby gain additional merit before God. But Paul had already made it clear that works could not be added to faith as grounds for either justification or sanctification."

3) [Compare Mk 2:23-28]:

[Note that the time of this passage is during the OT Mosaic Law period, even though it appears in the Bible's New Testament section]:

(v. 23) "One Sabbath Jesus was going through the grainfields, and as his disciples walked along, they began to pick some heads of grain.

(v. 24) The Pharisees said to him, 'Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath?'

(v. 25) He answered, 'Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need?

(v. 26) In the days of Abiathar the high priest, he entered the house of God and ate the consecrated bread, which is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions.'

(v. 27) Then He said to them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

(v. 28) So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.' "

a) Notes:

i) Just as computers were made for man, i.e., to serve man and not man to serve computers, in the same way the Sabbath was made for the benefit of man and not man for the benefit of the Sabbath.

So verse 27 is not declaring that all men are to keep the Sabbath, it is declaring the relationship of the Sabbath to man, i.e. that the Sabbath is to serve those individuals who were commanded to keep the Sabbath and not the other way around. Nor does verse 27 stipulate who those individuals were who were commanded to keep the Sabbath. Other verses in Scripture indicate that only Israel was in view relative to keeping the Sabbath, not Gentiles or Christians.

ii) This verse was spoken by our Lord to Jews in a time of the Mosaic Law - so the context would be limited to that audience.

iii) Thinking back to Exodus times: the Sabbath was commanded only of Israelites to keep, the Gentiles of the times were not required to keep it.

iv) It was simply explaining that the Sabbath was to benefit man not rule over him. So in certain cases as explained in the passage: like when David and his men were starving, it was permitted to eat of the ceremonial shobread and therefore override the Law in the case of dire need. Thus it is ok to break the Sabbath on certain occasions and this is within the context of the audience: Jews in the time of the Mosaic Law. So the Sabbath was made to benefit man not man to benefit the Sabbath - a statement of the character of the Sabbath not a statement of who was to observe it and who not, (otherwise, how come the Gentiles in OT times where not commanded also to keep the Sabbath?) Then in v. 28, our Lord concluded that He, the Son of Man was Lord over the Sabbath not the Sabbath lord over Him. Gentiles and Church Age believers were not in view in this passage, nor could this passage be indirectly applied to them, especially in view of passages which admonished believers of the Church Age not to insist that one another keep it, (Col 2:16, Ro 14:5, Gal 4:10).

4) [Compare Mt 12:1-14]:

(v. 1) '''At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.

(v. 2) When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him, "Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath."

(v. 3) He answered, 'Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?

(v. 4) He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread--which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.

(v. 5) Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?

(v. 6) I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.

(v. 7) If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.

(v. 8) For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."

[BKC, NT, op. cit., p. 18]:

"12:1-8. As Jesus and His disciples were going through the grainfields on the Sabbath, His disciples began to pick the wheat and eat the grain. The Pharisees immediately jumped on this 'violation' of the Law (Ex 20:8-11) and accused the disciples of working on the Sabbath. According to the Pharisees, plucking wheat from its stem is reaping, rubbing the wheat heads between one's palms is threshing, and blowing away the chaff is winnowing!

Jesus, however, disputed the Pharisees' claim, using three illustrations. First, he cited an event in the life of David (Matt 12:3-4). As he fled from Saul, David was given the consecrated bread which had been removed from the tabernacle (1 Sam 21:1-6), and was normally reserved for the priests alone (Lev 24:9). David believed that preserving his life was more important than observing a technicality. Second, the priests in the temple were involved in work on the Sabbath (Matt 12:5; cf Num 28:9-10, 18-19), yet they were considered blameless. Third, Jesus argued that He Himself was greater than the temple (Matt 12:6; cf. 'One greater' in vv. 41-42), for He is Lord of the Sabbath, that is, He controls what can be done on it, and He did not condemn the disciples (the innocent) for their action. The Pharisees were splitting hairs with their technicalities about reaping, threshing, and winnowing. They failed to understand compassion for people's basic needs (in this case, the disciples' hunger; cf. Deut. 23:24-25), but were intense in their concern for the sacrifices. Jesus reminded them of the words in Hosea 6:6, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, that is, inner spiritual vitality, not mere external formality."

4 cont.) [Compare Mt 12:1-14 cont.]:

(v. 9) Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue,

(v. 10) and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, 'Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?'

(v. 11) He said to them, 'If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?

(v. 12) How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.'

(v. 13) Then he said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other.

(v. 14) But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus."

[BKC cont.]:

"12:9-14. The first controversy (vv. 1-8) was barely over when Jesus arrived in the synagogue. Since it was the Sabbath Day, one would expect Jesus to be in the synagogue. A man with a shriveled hand was there. Since the Pharisees were continually looking for some way to accuse Jesus, they undoubtedly planted this man in the synagogue to create an incident. The Pharisees raised the question, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath? Jesus answered their question, as He often did, with another question. If one's sheep would fall into a pit on the Sabbath, would he not...lift the sheep out of the pit, even though this might be construed as work? An act of mercy toward an animal was perfectly in order. Since people are much more valuable than animals, mercy should be extended toward them even on Sabbath Days. Jesus thus removed any possible objection to what He was going to do, for Scripture did not forbid it and His logic was flawless. His healing the man, however, did not prompt faith in the Pharisees for they went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus."

5) [Compare Ex 16, 20, 31, 35; Lev 16, 23-26; Nu 15, 28; Dt 5]:

Note that these chapters and all others which have in view observance of the Sabbath deal specifically with the nation Israel. No where can any reference be found dealing with Gentiles or church age believers being obligated to observing the Sabbath


The list, "by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day" is not intended to be all inclusive - it is actually very general as it follows vv. 13-14.

So it does not exclude observance of the regular Sabbath day simply because this is not specifically referred to. This is so because the preceding verses 13-14 indicate that Christ has 'canceled the written code' within which is included such things as the Sabbath day observance rules. What follows is just a few of the hundreds of rules of life stipulated in that 'canceled code'.

[Norman L. Geisler, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, NT, Walvoord & Zuck, Victor Books, USA, p. 678]:

"2:15-17. By fulfilling the demands of the Law, Christ disarmed the demonic powers and authorities (cf. 1:16; 2:10), triumphing over them (cf. 2 Cor 2:14). As a result believers are delivered from these evil powers which inspire legalistic rules about foods and festivals. No one should judge you by what you eat or drink because Christians are free from the Law's legalistic requirements (such as those in Lev. 11; 17; Deut. 14). God does not condemn those who eat everything (Rom. 14:1-4). In fact, God says that all foods may be eaten since they were 'created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth' (1 Tim 4:3). The teaching that forbids this, Paul wrote, is 'taught by demons' (1 Tim 4:1) whom Christ has disarmed (Col 2:15). This liberation of believers pertains also to festivals such as a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath Day (cf. Gal. 4:10). Those who would bring Christians under the bondage of the Law make artificial distinctions between the 'ceremonial' and 'moral' law, and so they say the Sabbath has not passed away. That this is false can be seen from the following:

(1) The Sabbath command is the only one of the Ten Commandments not repeated in the New Testament.

(2) The early believers, following Christ's resurrection and appearance on Sunday (Mark 16:1; John 20:1), met on Sundays (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2).

(3) The Bible nowhere distinguishes between the so-called 'moral' and 'ceremonial' laws (this distinction was not made before the 13th century A.D.)

(4) This Colossian passage explicitly condemns those who command Sabbath obedience.

(5) As Paul put it, the Old Testament Law (including the Sabbath) was only a shadow of the things that were to come. The reality or 'substance' (swma, lit., 'body'), however, is to be found in Christ (cf. Heb 8:5; 10:1). What the Old Testament foreshadowed, Christ fulfilled (cf. Matt. 5:17; Rom 8:3-4). A 'shadow' (skia) is only an image cast by an object which represents it form. Once one finds Christ, he no longer needs to follow the old shadow."


The Sabbath was NOT instituted before the Fall. God rested on the 7th day as reported in Genesis 1, but there is nothing in particular in Scripture until Exodus that commands man to observe a day of Sabbath rest for man to honor until the Mosaic Law period. Not only that, since the 'written code' of the Mosaic Law is what is being specifically referred to, then even if the Sabbath were formally instituted before then, it would not negate the point being made, which is to say that the observance of the 'written code' which includes the Sabbath day is up to the individual to decide to do or not do; and no man should judge another as to whether or not it is required of any other individual.


Furthermore, the fulfillment of our Lord's purpose on the cross has in view the overall fulfillment of the entire Mosaic Law which includes the Sabbath - all of which represents the perfect righteousness of God - which our Lord demonstrated by following it perfectly and then dying on the cross, paying the penalty for your sins - nailing them to the cross and thus canceling the written code so that one does not have to fulfill the perfect righteousness of the law oneself, only to believe in Christ doing it for one. So the observance of the Sabbath is made of no effect - yet according to vv. 6-17 which follow one is not to judge of another whether one is to indeed observe such Sabbath or not. So by strong inference, this kind of judgment is no longer in effect which includes judging one another as to whether or not one kept the Sabbath. This is a private matter between the individual and God as an exercise of his private priesthood. It is no longer part of the daily rule of life of every believer such that one may judge another has not having kept it.

1) [Compare Ro 14:1-6]:

(v. 1) Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.

(v. 2) One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.

(v. 3) The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.

(v. 4) Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

(v. 5) One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

(v. 6) He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God."

V) [Col 2:18-23]:

(v. 18) Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.

(v. 19) He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

(v. 20) Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules:

(v. 21) 'Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!'?

(v. 22) These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.

(v. 23) Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."