Chapter 2

In Christ is hidden all the treasures of wisdom:
(Read Colossians 2:1-7)
Paul wanted the Colossians to know how much he cared for them though he never had seen them. He had such pastoral concern for them that he earnestly prayed that their heart may be encouraged and strengthened with the knowledge of Christ.  Paul wants them to have closer unity and love for one another to safeguard them against false teaching. Paul challenges Gnostics with the fact that Christ is the storehouse of wisdom and knowledge. He is accessible to every believer. “In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (2:3).  Paul wanted them to know that it is extremely important to study the Bible so that no one will deceive them with persuasive arguments.  Only when we grow in the knowledge of Christ we are able to face false teaching in whatever shape or form it may come.  Though Paul was away from Colossians, he was rejoicing in the fact that their faith in Christ was strong. They have been rooted and established in faith. Scholars suggest that Gnostic heresy denies the historical Jesus in His humanity.  Many people know about Christ but lack personal experience with Him. Only when we get saved, the Holy Spirit draws us closer to Christ. No one can say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3).  They hunger and thirst for righteousness.  The Holy Spirit who indwells in us would give us a desire to be Christ-like. Knowing the Bible from cover to cover does not transform life.  But when we apply what we know about Christ, we will grow strong in Christ.  Praise and thanksgiving will be the result of our spiritual growth. Pray that we may grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. 
Beware of Legalism:
(Read Colossians 2:8-10) 
Christianity is anchored in the person of Jesus Christ.  Believers are rooted, built up and established in Christ. Satan will try to draw believers away from the centrality and sufficiency of Christ by the false philosophy of the world (1 Timothy 6:20). Philosophy is love of earthly wisdom. Paul does not condemn knowledge and wisdom but false philosophy.  Colossians were influenced by false wisdom that depended on human tradition rather than on Christ. Paul says that false philosophy comes from human thinking. It is devoid of truth, empty, deceitful, according to human tradition and from the spirits of the world.  Philosophy is based on human speculations and cannot meet the spiritual needs.  Here we see the contrast between divine revelation and human speculations. Gnostics believed in materialistic human reasoning rather than divine revelation. This is still a problem in the church today. Legalism is focusing on external behavior rather than Biblical  truth about Jesus Christ. It imposes man-centered rules on people and attaches spiritual virtue to non-essential matters. Paul strongly denied legalism. “Do not handle, do not taste and do not touch". Such rules are mere human teachings and destined to perish with use (2:21). We should never undermine the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ. It is not Christ plus tradition but Christ alone. Every addition to Christ is a subtraction from Him and His sufficiency. The fundamental truth about our salvation is the nature of the person of Christ and His work on the cross. Paul wrote “For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (2:9).   Christ is one person with two natures.  He is the God-man. Those who are saved are complete in Christ through their union with Him.  All they need for salvation is to believe in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30).  We do not need any other source of truth such as Gnosticism.  Christ is the head of the church, the source of life and He is sovereign over all things.  There must be unity in the essential truths and liberty in no-essentials.
New Life in Christ:
(Read Colossians 2:11-15) 
When we get saved, we become a new creation in Christ and experience inward spiritual circumcision.  Circumcision was a sign of covenant between God and Abraham (Genesis 17: 11).  This speaks of Israel’s identification with God.  In Christ believers have died to sin and have been raised to live in the newness of life (2:12).  Still our old nature is not totally eradicated (1 John 1:8).  We are exhorted to present our body as an instrument of righteousness unto God (Romans 6:11-14).  Baptism symbolizes our identification with Christ in His death and resurrection. Baptism is an outward expression of an inward experience. Only through faith in Christ we  receive newbirth (John 1:12-13). In Christ we have been forgiven of all our sins and made alive to serve Him (Ephsians 2:8-10).  Christ canceled the record of charges against us by nailing it to the cross (2:14).  In the East the bond of guilt was canceled by nailing it to a post. We are all guilty before God. Christ blotted out the charges against us by nailing them on His cross (1 Corinthians 15: 55-57).  By His death Christ conquered His enemies.  In Christ we have victory over Satan and death (2:15).  Christ has set us free from ceremonial law. Today, we enjoy direct access to God. We approach God with confidence, knowing that Jesus’ sacrifice has torn down the barrier between us and God.  May we never take it for granted but cherish this privilege of coming to the heavenly Father as His beloved children remembering what Christ has accomplished on the cross for us.
Beware of Man Made Religion:
(Read Colossians 2:16-23) 
Paul warns believers of the danger of legalism, ritualism and Jewish ceremonies. These ceremonies are shadows of things to come. The substance is Christ (Hebrews 8:13; 10:1).  Christ himself is the reality. It is dangerous and meaningless to replace the reality of living Christ with shadows. Colossians were influenced by false teachers to embrace the deceptive man-made religious practices (2:16-18, 22).  Paul says that don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting “On self denial, false humility and the worship of the angels” (2:18). Gnostics believed in visions to claim that they are the recipient of special knowledge.  Thus they were filled with senseless pride and lost connection with the head, who is Christ.  They willingly undermine the supremacy and sufficiency of Christ.  Our spiritual nourishment and strength come only from Christ.  Since Christians died with Christ, they should be separated from the principles of the world and regulations of man made religions. Touch not, taste not and handle not are the test of holiness among Gnostics. They are still a test of holiness in certain religious groups. These rules may have an appearance of wisdom because they require human devotion, self denial and bodily disciplines. Will-worship is self-imposed worship.  Ascetic discipline cannot stop the indulgence of the flesh. The essence of Christian faith is the person of Christ. Only Christ gives victory over flesh.  So let us “Turn our eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of the earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace”.