|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:8-17 There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men's fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God. To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word complete, is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. In him, not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law. Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities. The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord's day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.
Verse 10. - And (because) ye are in him made complete; or fulfilled (Ephesians 1:3, 7-11, 23; Ephesians 3:18, 19; Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 4:19; Galatians 3:14, 24; Galatians 5:1, 4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Corinthians 2:2). A complete Christ makes his people complete; his pleroma is our plerosis. Finding the whole fulness of God brought within our reach and engaged in our behalf (Philippians 2:7; Matthew 20:28) in him, we need not resort elsewhere to supply our spiritual needs (Philippians 4:19). "In him" is the primary predicate (see Alford, Ellicott, against Meyer: comp. ver. 3): "Ye are in him" is the assumption (Romans 8:1; Romans 16:7); "(ye are) made complete" is the inference. (On the verb πληρόω (the basis of pleroma), used in perfect participle of abiding result, see notes, Colossians 1:9, 19.) This completeness includes the furnishing of men with all that is required for their present and final salvation as individuals (vers. 11-15; Colossians 1:21, 22, 28), and for their collective perfection as forming the Church, the body of Christ (vers. 2, 19; Colossians 1:19; Ephesians 1:23; Ephesians 5:26, 27); for this twofold completeness, comp. Ephesians 4:12-16. Who is the Head of all principality and dominion (vers. 15, 18; Colossians 1:16; Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:10, 11; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Hebrews 1:6, 14; 1 Peter 3:22). (On "principality," etc., see note, Colossians 1:16.) The Colossians were being taught to replace or supplement Christ's offices by those of angel powers (see notes, vers. 15, 18). Philo ('Concerning Dreams,' 1. §§ 22, 23) writes thus of the angels: "Free from all bodily encumbrance, endowed with larger and diviner intellect, they are lieutenants of the All ruler, eyes and ears of the great King. Philosophers in general call them demons (δαίμονες); the sacred Scripture angels, for they report (διαγγέλλουσι) the injunctions of the Father to his children, and the wants of the children to their Father.... Angels, the Divine words, walk about [comp. 2 Corinthians 6:16] in the souls of those who have not yet completely washed off the (old) life, foul and stained through their cumbersome bodies, making them bright to the eyes of virtue." In such a strain the Colossian "philosopher" may have been talking. But if Christ is the Maker and Lord of these invisible powers - (Colossians 1:15, 16), and we are in him, then we must no longer look to them as our saviours.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And ye are complete in him,.... Or "filled up", or "filled full" in him; that is, are perfect in him: saints are in Christ, and all fulness being in him, they are full too, of as much as they stand in need, and are capable of containing: for these words are not an exhortation to perfection, as the Arabic version reads then, be ye complete in him, like those in Genesis 17:1; but are an affirmation, asserting not what the saints shall be hereafter, or in heaven, but what they now are; not in themselves, for in themselves none are perfect, not even those who are truly sanctified; for though all grace is seminally implanted in them, and they have a perfection of parts, of all the parts of the new man, or new creature, and are perfect in comparison of what they sometimes were, and of profane persons and hypocrites, and with respect to weaker believers, yet none are absolutely perfect; the good work of grace is not yet finished in them, sin dwells in them, they are full of wants and complaints; the best of them disclaim perfection as attained to by them, and express their desires of it; but they are perfect in Christ their head, who has all fulness in him, in whom they are chosen and blessed: they are complete and perfect in him as to sanctification; he having all fulness of grace and holiness for them, they have it in him; and he is made perfect sanctification to them: and as to justification, he has perfectly fulfilled the law for them, he has made full atonement for sin, has obtained eternal redemption, brought in a complete and perfect righteousness, by which they are justified from all things; are freed from sin, and made perfectly comely, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing: and as to knowledge, though it is imperfect in them in their present state, yet in Christ all the treasures of it are, and they have no need to go elsewhere for any; they are filled with the knowledge of God and of his will, and are complete therein in Christ; and what knowledge they have, is eternal life, the beginning, pledge, and earnest of it; so that they have no reason to be beholden to angels or men, only to Christ:
which is the head of all principality and power; not only of the body the church, and who is to be held unto as such, from whom all light, life, grace, and strength, are to be derived; but of all others, though in a different sense; and not only of the kings, princes, and potentates of this world, who hold their kingdoms, and receive their crowns from him, and rule by him; but also of the angels, good and bad, often called principalities and powers; especially the former is here meant, of whom Christ is head, being their Creator, Governor, and upholder; who not only maintains them in their beings, but has confirmed them in their state of holiness; so that they are dependent upon him, and beholden to him for all they have and are: with the Jews, "Metatron", which with them is the name of the angel in Exodus 23:20 and seems to be a corruption of the word "mediator", and to design the Messiah, is said (w) to be King over all the angels. This is mentioned, partly to set forth the glory and excellency of Christ; and partly against worshipping of angels, making use of them as mediators, or applying to them on any account, since Christ is the head of these, and of every creature; therefore no creature is to be looked and applied unto, trusted and depended on: unless rather should be meant the Jewish rulers, Scribes, and Pharisees, their doctors, wise men, and Rabbins, called the princes of this world; the Jews' tutors and governors, to whom Christ is superior; he is the only master and Father, and in whom perfection of wisdom is, and not in them; and therefore should not regard them, their vain philosophy, worldly rudiments and traditions,
(w) Zohar in Deut. fol. 120. 8.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. And—And therefore; and so. Translate in the Greek order, "Ye are in Him (by virtue of union with Him) filled full" of all that you need (Joh 1:16). Believers receive of the divine unction which flows down from their Divine Head and High Priest (Ps 133:2). He is full of the "fulness" itself; we, filled from Him. Paul implies, Therefore ye Colossians need no supplementary sources of grace, such as the false teachers dream of. Christ is "the Head of all rule and authority" (so the Greek), Eph 1:10; He, therefore, alone, not these subject "authorities" also, is to be adored (Col 2:18).
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