The deception in Colossians claimed to have special knowledge from supernatural sources and the support of supernatural mediators. It criticized other Christians for having a lesser experience.
Introduction of the letter to the Colossians – Paul is the author – addressed to the church in Colossae – the Father is the One Who willed Paul’s apostleship. We thank God, the Father of Jesus Christ, for the hope laid up for us in heaven.
1:9-14 THE FATHER RESCUED US.
The Father rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son. The deception in Colossae claimed to have special knowledge.
1:15-19 COLOSSIAN DECEPTION
The deception claimed to have received special knowledge from supernatural sources, but all knowledge is found in Christ; the Creator of all.
1:20-22 WAR IN HEAVEN
In the time before Christ, there was war in heaven. God was not angry. He brought an end to the war by providing evidence through Christ’s death, which even heaven needed.
1:23-28 THE MYSTERY WHICH HAS BEEN HIDDEN
Paul rejoices in his suffering because it is part of the stewardship he received from God. The Lord gave Paul a new message, namely that Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body.
2:1-4 SUPERNATURAL KNOWLEDGE
Deceivers in Colossae were merging the church with mystery religions, arguing that Christ is not the only source of supernatural knowledge.
2:5-8 PAGAN PHILOSOPHY
The Colossian deception was man-made pagan philosophy; not Old Testament law. It claimed that God’s grace flow to man through various supernatural mediators.
2:9-10 YOU CAN IMPROVE
The deception claimed that Christians will only be complete when they obey supernatural rulers. But Christians, trusting Christ, are already complete.
2:11 CIRCUMCISION WITHOUT HANDS
A heart circumcised by the Spirit loves the LORD and His Law and hates sin. Its guilt and penalty for past sins are canceled.
2:11-14 CHRISTIANS ARE ALREADY COMPLETE.
Christians were made complete through the circumcision of the heart, through baptism into Christ’s cross, and by canceling their certificate of debt, which is forgiving all their sins.
COMPARE TO EPHESIANS 2:15
Ephesians 2:15 abolishes the Law of Moses and is similar to Colossians 2:14, but Colossians 2:14 abolishes something else to achieve a different purpose.
TRANSLATIONS OF CHEIROGRAPHON
Essentially only the KJV implies that the Law of Moses has been canceled. Most translations imply that the penalties for our sins have been canceled.
CERTIFICATE OF DEBT
Given the pagan nature of the deception, cheirographon is not the Law of Moses. It is a note of indebtedness, as confirmed by most translations and by the context.
2:15 DISARMED THE RULERS AND AUTHORITIES
Satan accused God of unfair judgment. The cross demonstrated the true nature of both sides of the war in heaven and vindicated God’s judgment.
While the Sabbath is today heavily debated, but it was a not controversial issue in Paul’s day
FESTIVALS, NEW MOONS AND SABBATHS
“Festival … new moon … Sabbath” (Col. 2:16) is a technical phrase for “all the appointed feasts of the house of Israel”.
ANNUAL OR WEEKLY SABBATHS?
The “Sabbath” in Colossians 2:16 does not refer to the annual Sabbaths, but to the weekly Sabbath, because it is a shadow of events still future and because the phrase “festivals, new moons, or Sabbaths” implies an annual, monthly, and weekly sequence.
MEROS – IN RESPECT TO
The word translated “in respect to” means “part of.” To say that the Colossians were criticized for a part of the Jewish special days means that they were criticized HOW they kept these days. This means that they observed these special days, including the Sabbath.
For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.