Colossians 2:13
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
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(13) And you . . .—Here, exactly as in Ephesians 2:1-18, there is a remarkable intermixture of the word “we” and the word “you,” the former conveying the universal statement of the gospel message of mercy, the other applying it emphatically to the Gentiles, as Gentiles. The two passages should be read side by side. There is, as always, strong similarity, yet complete independence. Through the passage of the Ephesian Epistle there runs a two-fold idea, the reconcilement of Jew and Gentile to God, and the union of both in one Catholic Church. In this Epistle it is only on the reconcilement to God in Christ that stress is laid. Even the detailed expressions of the two passages illustrate each other at once by likeness and by variety.

Dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh.—See Ephesians 2:1, “You who were dead in trespasses and sins . . . who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called Circumcision in the flesh.” Here the “deadness” is spoken of, as coming both from the actual power of “sins” (transgressions), and from the alienation from God marked by uncircumcision. In the other passage the uncircumcision is looked upon only as a name of reproach.

Hath he quickened.—It is difficult to determine what is the subject in this sentence. According to all analogy it should be “God,” yet in the latter clauses (as in Colossians 2:14-15) it must surely be “Christ.” Now, when we turn to the fuller parallel passage, we see an overt change of subject. It is said (Ephesians 2:5), “God quickened us together with Christ”; “God in Christ forgave us” (Ephesians 4:32); but “Christ abolished the Law,” “reconciled us to God on the cross.” This suggests a similar change of subject here also, which must be at the words “and took it away,” or (for the tense here is changed) “and He (Christ) hath taken it away.” This, speaking grammatically, introduces an anomaly; but such anomalies are not uncommon in St. Paul, especially in passages of high spiritual teaching.

Having forgiven you . . .—There is no corresponding clause in the parallel passage; but in a different context (corresponding to Colossians 3:13 of this Epistle) we read, “forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

Colossians 2:13-15. And you — Believing Gentiles; being formerly dead in your sins — Under the guilt and power of your sins, (see on Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5,) and the uncircumcision of your flesh — Your corrupt and unrenewed nature, your uncircumcised heart and affections; hath he — God the Father; quickened — Brought you out of that state by infusing into you spiritual life: together with him — Through the merit of Christ’s death, and in conformity to his resurrection; having forgiven you all trespasses — In consequence of his having atoned for them. Blotting out the handwriting — Where a debt is contracted, it is usually testified by some handwriting. And when the debt is forgiven, the handwriting is destroyed, either by blotting it out, taking it away, or tearing it. The apostle expresses in all these three ways God’s destroying the handwriting which was contrary to us. And perhaps, as Macknight thinks, in the expression, nailing it to the cross, he alludes to “an ancient custom of abrogating laws, by driving a nail through the tables on which they were written, and hung up to public view.” The word δογματα, here rendered ordinances, is used by the LXX., Ezekiel 20:26, for the rites of the ceremonial law, as it is also Ephesians 2:15, and that law is evidently here meant. St. Paul says, it was against us; meaning, 1st, The Jews, who had been under an obligation to fulfil it, and whose guilt and liableness to punishment it testified. It was also, 2d, Against and contrary to the Gentiles, as being a middle wall of partition, hindering them from coming to God, and putting an enmity between them and the Jews. This Christ took away by abolishing the obligation of it, and admitting the believing Gentiles to be fellow-heirs with the believing Jews, of the promises and blessings of the gospel, without their becoming subject to it. See notes on Ephesians 2:14-18. And having spoiled principalities and powers — The evil angels, of their usurped dominion, in consequence of his having conquered them. For in the original expression, απεκδυσαμενος, which signifies having stripped off, there is an allusion to the ancient custom of victors, who were wont to strip the vanquished of their arms and clothes. Hence the word is taken to signify spoiling in general. That the evil angels are here said to be spoiled by Christ’s dying on the cross, seems evident from what we read elsewhere. Christ, speaking of his death, said to his disciples, (John 12:31,) Now shall, ο αρχων, the prince, or ruler, of this world be cast out; and, John 16:11, ο αρχων, the prince of this world is judged. See also Ephesians 4:8. And by spoiling them we may understand, with Hammond, Whitby, and others, the destruction of idolatry, the silencing the heathen oracles, and the banishing of those grievous superstitions, with which mankind had been so long oppressed. Some others, however, by these principalities and powers understand the Jewish rulers and great men, who in the first age grievously persecuted the disciples of Christ. But this interpretation seems unnatural, and certainly was not verified by fact at the time when the apostle wrote this epistle, the Jewish sanhedrim and rulers being still in power. He — God the Father; made a show of them openly — Before all the hosts of hell and heaven; triumphing over them in or by it — Even that cross whereby they hoped to have triumphed over him, God turning their counsels against themselves, and ruining their empire by that death of his Son which they had been so eager to accomplish. Or the clause may be rendered, triumphing over them in him; in Christ. By turning the heathen from the power of Satan to God, it was shown that the evil spirits, who formerly ruled them, were vanquished and stripped of their power. It is supposed, that in this and the preceding clause there is an allusion to the Roman triumphs, of which see on 2 Corinthians 2:14; and that St. Paul represents Christ himself, or his apostles, as riding in triumph through the world, with the evil spirits following the triumphant car in chains, and exposed to public view as vanquished enemies.

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.And you, being dead in your sins - Notes, Ephesians 2:1.

And the uncircumcision of your flesh - That is, Gentiles, and giving unrestrained indulgence to the desires of the flesh. They lived as those who had not by any religious rite or covenant brought themselves under obligations to lead holy lives.

Hath he quickened - Notes, Ephesians 2:1.

Together with him - In virtue of his being restored to life. That is, the resurrection of the Lord Jesus was the means of imparting to us spiritual life.

13. you, being dead—formerly (Eph 2:1, 2); even as Christ was among the dead, before that God raised Him "from the dead" (Col 2:12).

sins—rather as Greek is translated at end of this verse, "trespasses," literally, "failings aside" from God's ways; actual transgressions, as that of Adam.

uncircumcision of your flesh—your not having put off the old fleshly nature, the carnal foreskin, or original sin, which now by spiritual circumcision, that is, conversion and baptism, you have put off.

he quickened—God "quickened together with Him (Christ)." Just as Christ's resurrection proved that He was delivered from the sin laid on Him, so our spiritual quickening proves that we have been forgiven our sins (1Pe 3:22; 4:1, 2).

forgiven you—So Vulgate and Hilary. But the oldest manuscripts read, "us," passing from the particular persons, the Colossians, to the general Church (Col 1:14; Eph 1:7).

all trespasses—Greek, "all our trespasses."

And you, being dead in your sins: he further shows they had no need of circumcision in the flesh, Ephesians 2:11, having all in Christ for justification as well as sanctification, though they (as well as the Ephesians, see Ephesians 2:1,5) were by nature spiritually dead in sins, deprived of the life of grace, and separated from the life of glory.

And the uncircumcision of your flesh; and having the foreskin of their flesh in paganism; which was true literally, but, considering the internal circumcision, Colossians 2:11, the apostle’s expression here is to be expounded of the internal corruption of our nature, the uncircumcised heart, original corruption derived unto all by carnal propagation, which is predominant in the unregenerate. These being dead as to the life of grace, Matthew 8:22 John 5:25 Romans 8:7 1 Corinthians 2:14 1 Timothy 5:6.

Hath he quickened together with him; you who were strangers from the life of God, Ephesians 4:18, hath he now quickened or revived to a spiritual life with him here, and hereafter to eternal life, 1 Corinthians 15:22.

Having forgiven you all trespasses; having freely pardoned to you (the word noting a free affection to give and forgive, 2 Corinthians 2:10 Ephesians 4:32) all your sins, after as well as before baptism, which is the sign and seal of it, Psalm 103:3; so that the Spirit of Christ doth not only infuse a principle of grace, and implant a living and abiding seed to work out vicious habits, but God, upon the account of Christ’s plenary satisfaction, doth freely remove all the guilt that binds over to eternal death, and doth not impute to believers any of their sins in whole or in part, but treateth them as if they had committed none at all, Matthew 26:28 Acts 10:43 Ephesians 1:7 Hebrews 9:15, and will remember them no more, so that when they are sought for they shall not be found, Jeremiah 31:34 50:20 Hebrews 10:17. What the papists say of the fault being remitted, when the punishment may be exacted either in whole or in part, that they may have a pretence for human satisfactions, (the groundlessness of which was hinted, Colossians 1:24), is a mere figment of the schools, against Scripture and reason.

And you being dead in your sins,.... Not corporeally, though sin had subjected them to a corporeal death, and their bodies were really mortal, and in a little time must die; but morally, sin had brought a death upon them in a moral sense, they were separated from God, as at death the body is from the soul, and so were alienated from the life of God, and consequently must be dead; they had lost the image of God, which consisted in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; and were dead as to the understanding of what was good, as to their affections for it, or will and capacity to do it; and, like dead men, were insensible of their state, their sin, and misery; and altogether inactive and helpless in spiritual things, being destitute of spiritual life, strength, and motion; and were moreover in themselves deserving of eternal death, and according to the law of works, under the sentence of it, and so liable and exposed unto it; and all this for, and on account of their sins, their actual sins and transgressions here meant; which separated them from God, deformed his image in them, and hardened their hearts, that they had no true sight and sense of themselves; as also on account of the corruption of their nature, signified in the next clause:

and the uncircumcision of your flesh; which is to be taken not literally, for the prepuce, or foreskin of their flesh, which was a sign and token of the corruption of nature, but figuratively that itself; it being usual with the Jews to call the vitiosity of nature "uncircumcision"; which, they say (y), is one of the seven names of , "the evil imagination", or corrupt nature, denoting the pollution, loathsomeness, and abominableness of it:

hath he quickened together with him; that is, with Christ; this may be understood either of the quickening of them in conversion and sanctification; for as they were dead in sin in a moral sense, in conversion a principle of life was implanted in them, or grace, as a living principle, was wrought in their souls by the Spirit of life from Christ; so that they could see their lost state, their need of Christ, the glory of his person and righteousness, the fulness and suitableness of his grace; feel their burdens, and handle the word of life; could hear the Gospel, speak the language of Canaan, breathe in prayer and spiritual desires, walk in Christ, and do all things through him; and this was God's act and not theirs, and owing to his rich mercy and great love: and this may be said to be done "with Christ", because this is in consequence of his being quickened, or raised from the dead; and by it they were made partakers of the life of Christ, they became one spirit with him; and it was not so much they that lived, but Christ lived in them; and besides, they were quickened, in order to live a life of grace and communion with him here, and of glory hereafter: or it may be interpreted of the quickening of them in justification; and the rather, because of what is said in the next clause; and that either openly, as when a sinner is convinced that he is dead in a legal sense, and faith is wrought in him to behold pardon and righteousness in Christ; upon which he prays for the one, and pleads the other; and the Spirit of God seals unto him the pardon of his sins, brings near the righteousness of Christ, enables him to lay hold on it as his, and pronounces him justified by it; and may well be called justification of life, for he is then alive in a legal sense, in his own comfortable view and apprehension of things: or secretly in Christ, as the head and representative of all his people; who when he was quickened, they were quickened with him; when he rose from the dead, they rose with him; and when he was justified, they were instilled in him, and this seems to be the true sense of this passage:

having forgiven you all trespasses. This was a past act, being done and over; not only at first conversion, when a discovery of it was made, but at the death of Christ, whose blood was shed for the remission of sin; yea, even as early as Christ became a surety, when the sins of his people were not imputed to them, but to him: and this was a single act, and done and complete at once; forgiveness of sin is not done by piecemeals, or at different times, or by divers acts, but is done at once, and includes sin past, present, and to come; and is universal, reaches to all sin, original and actual, before and after conversion; sins of thought, word, and action: and this is God's act, and his only; not men, nor ministers, nor angels, can forgive sin; this is the peculiar prerogative of God, and is owing to his abundant mercy and free grace, and which is signified by the word here used. The Syriac and Arabic versions read, "having forgiven us all our trespasses"; and so the Alexandrian copy, and some others, read "us" instead of "you",

(y) Zohar in Exod. fol. 106. 1. Caphtor, fol. 52. 2.

{12} And you, being dead in your sins {13} and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

(12) Another thing baptism symbolises is, that we who were dead in sin, might obtain free remission of sins and eternal life, through faith in Christ who died for us.

(13) A new argument which lies in these few words, and it is this: uncircumcision was no hindrance to you in obtaining life, because you were justified in Christ; therefore you do not need circumcision for the attainment of salvation.

Colossians 2:13. Since that συνηγέρθητε was the awaking to eternal life, Paul now goes on to give special prominence to this great blessing, the making alive, and that in reference to the Gentile-Christian position of the readers; and to this he annexes, in Colossians 2:14 f., an anti-Judaistic triumphant statement reminding them of the cancelling of their debt-bond with the law.

To attach καὶ ὑμᾶςσαρκὸς ὑμῶν still to Colossians 2:12, and to make it depend on ἐγείραντος (Steiger), is rendered impossible by the right explanation of τῆς πίστεως τῆς ἐνεργείας τ. Θ. in Colossians 2:12,[101] to say nothing of the abrupt position in which συνεζωοπ. would thus appear. Καὶ ὑμᾶς goes along with συνεζωοπ., so that ὑμᾶς is then repeated (see Fritzsche, Quaest. Luc. p. 14; Bornemann in the Sächs. Stud. 1846, p. 66; Kühner, II. 1, p. 568; Winer, p. 139 [E. T. 184]), the repetition being here occasioned by the emphasis of the συνεζωοπ.: “You also, when ye were dead … He made you alive together with Him.” The καί therefore is not the copula and, but, in harmony with the ὑμᾶς placed in the front emphatically: also, as in Ephesians 2:1. It has its reference in this, that the readers had been Gentiles liable to eternal death, but the συνεζωοπ. had been extended, as to all believers, so also to them. The correctness of this reference is shown by the context as well through τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ τῆς σαρκ. ὑμ., as through the pronoun of the first person which is introduced after χαρισάμ. Extremely arbitrary is the view of Olshausen, who thinks that in Colossians 2:11 f. the readers are addressed as representatives of the collective community, but by καὶ ὑμᾶς in Colossians 2:13 personally; while Baumgarten-Crusius, in complete antagonism to the position of the words, joins καί, not to ὑμᾶς, but to the verb: “also He has called you to the new life that abideth.”

To arrive at a proper understanding of what follows we must observe: (1) That συνεζωοποίησεν is not to be taken, any more than συνηγέρθητε previously, in an ethical sense, as referring to regeneration (so usually since Oecumenius, as e.g. Grotius: “sicut Christo novam contulit vitam ex morte corporis, ita et nobis novam ex morte animorum;” comp. also Bleek and Hofmann), but in its proper sense, and that (comp. Kaeuffer, de ζωῆς αἰων. not. p. 94 f.) as referring to the everlasting life to which God[102] raised up Christ, and which He has thereby also provided for believers in virtue of their fellowship with Christ (as an ideal possession now, but to be realized at the Parousia). See also Ephesians 2:5. The reconciliation (which de Wette understands) is not the ζωοποίησις itself, as is plain from the compound συνεζωοπ., but its precursor and medium. The συζωοποιεῖν stands in the same relation to the συνεγείρειν as the nature of the act to its process; but the reason why συνηγέρθ. here stands before the συζωοποιεῖν (it is different in Ephesians 2:5) is, that the συνηγέρθητε was correlative with the συνταφέντες in Colossians 2:12, hence that word is used first, while in Eph. l.c. the being dead preceded, with which the συζωοποιεῖν primarily corresponds. (2) Like συνεζωοπ., so also νεκρούς is not to be taken in an ethical sense (so usually both here and in Ephesians 2:1, as e.g. Calvin, who thinks that the alienatio a Deo is meant), but, with Chrysostom and Theodoret, in its proper sense; the readers have been—this is the conception—prior to their conversion to Christ a prey of death. This is by no means to be understood, however, in the sense of physical death (for that comes from Adam’s sin, see on Romans 5:12), but in that of eternal death, to which they were liable through their sins, so that they could not have become partakers of the eternal ζωή (comp. on Romans 7:9 f.). See also on Ephesians 2:1. What is meant, therefore, is not a death which would have only become their eternal death in the absence of the quickening (Hofmann), but the eternal death itself, in which they already lay, and out of which they would not have come without that deliverance, nay, which on the contrary—and here we have a prolepsis of the thought—would only have completed itself in the future αἰών.[103] (3) This being dead occurred in the state (ἐν) of their sins (τοῖς indicates the sins which they had committed) and of the uncircumcision of their flesh, i.e. when as respects their sinful materially-psychical nature they were still uncircumcised, and had not yet put off by conversion their Gentile fleshly constitution.[104] The ἈΚΡΟΒΥΣΤΊΑ in itself they even now had as Gentile Christians, but according to Colossians 2:11 it was no longer ἀκρόβ. τῆς σαρκός in their case, but was now indifferent (Colossians 3:11; 1 Corinthians 7:19; Galatians 5:6; Galatians 6:15), since they had been provided with the ethical circumcision of Christ and emptied of the σῶμα τῆς σαρκός. The ethical reference of the expression does not lie, therefore, in ἈΚΡΟΒΥΣΤΊΑ itself, but in the characteristic Τῆς ΣΑΡΚῸς ὙΜῶΝ (genitive of the subject); in this uncircumcision they were as Gentiles prior to their conversion, but were so no longer as Christians. Consequently ἀκροβ. is not to be taken figuratively (Deuteronomy 10:16; Ezekiel 44:7; Jeremiah 4:4) as a designation of vitiositas (so Theodoret, Beza, Grotius, Bähr, Bleek, and most expositors), but in its proper sense, in which the readers as ἀκρόβυστοι could not but have understood it, and therein withal not as a symbol of uncleanness (Huther), or of the alienatio a Deo (Calvin, comp. Hofmann), or the like; on the contrary, the entire ethical stress lies on τῆς σαρκ. ὑμ. The idea of original sin (Flacius and other dogmatic expositors, comp. Bengel: “exquisita appellatio peccati origin.”) is likewise involved, and that according to its N. T. meaning (Romans 7:14 ff.), not in ἀκροβυστ., but doubtless in Τῆς ΣΑΡΚ. ὙΜῶΝ. Nevertheless this Τῆς ΣΑΡΚ. ὙΜῶΝ belongs only to Τῇ ἈΚΡΟΒΥΣΤΊᾼ, and not to ΤΟῖς ΠΑΡΑΠΤΏΜΑΣΙ as well (Hofmann); comp. Ephesians 2:11. Otherwise we should have, quite unnecessarily, two references heterogeneous in sense for the genitive; besides, the notion of ΠΑΡΆΠΤΩΜΑ presupposes not the ΣΆΡΞ, but the Ego in its relation to the divine law as the subject; hence also the expression παράπτ. τῆς σαρκ. (or ἉΜΑΡΤΊΑ Τ. Σ.) does not occur, while we find ἜΡΓΑ Τῆς ΣΑΡΚΌς in Galatians 5:19. Holtzmann, p. 71, ascribes the words ΚΑῚ Τῇ ἈΚΡΟΒ. Τ. ΣΑΡΚῸς ὙΜ. to the interpolator’s love for synonyms and tautological expressions, and wishes to condemn them also in consequence of what in Colossians 2:11 belongs to the latter (p. 155). But they are not at all tautological; and see on Colossians 2:11.

ΧΑΡΙΣΆΜΕΝΟς Κ.Τ.Λ.] after having granted to us, i.e. forgiven, etc. This blotting out of our whole debt of sin was necessarily prior to the συνεζωοπ. ὑμᾶς σὺν αὐτῷ. By the fact, namely, that He remitted to us all the sins which we had committed (πάντα τὰ παραπτ.), the causa efficiens of the being (eternally) dead was done away. Comp. Chrysostom: τὰ παραπτώματα, ἃ τὴν νεκρότητα ἐτοίει. This ΧΑΡΙΣΆΜΕΝΟς Κ.Τ.Λ. is the appropriation of the reconciliation on the part of God, which believers experienced when they believed and were baptized; the objective expiatory act through the death of Christ had preceded, and is described in Colossians 2:14.

ἡμῖν] applies to believers generally.[105] This extension, embracing himself in common with others, is prepared for by καὶ ὑμᾶς, but could not have been introduced, if χαρισάμ. κ.τ.λ. had been conceived as synchronous with συνεζωοπ., in which case Paul must logically have used ὑμῖν (not ἡμῖν), as the reading is in B א** Vulg. Hilary. On χαρίζεσθαι, comp. 2 Corinthians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 4:32. On the subject-matter: 2 Corinthians 5:19 ff.

[101] This applies also in opposition to Hofmann, who takes ver. 13 likewise as a continuation of the description of God given in τοῦ ἐγείρ. αὐτὸν ἐκ νεκρ., and therein makes the apostle guilty of a clumsy change of construction, viz. that he intended to make συζωοποιήσαντος follow, but, because this word would have been “inconvenient” after νεκροὺς ὄντας κ.τ.λ., exchanged it for an independent sentence. But συζωοποιήσαντος would have been inserted without any inconvenience whatever: on the contrary, it would only have expressed the alleged idea conformably to the construction clearly and definitely. The comparison of Colossians 1:26 is unsuitable. Holtzmann follows substantially the view of Hofmann, but regards the change of structure as the result of dictation. There is no change of structure in the passage at all.

[102] God is the subject of συνεζωοποίησεν, not Christ (Ewald and the older expositors); for God has raised up Christ, and God is, according to the present context (it is different in Colossians 3:13), the forgiver of sins, and has brought about the remission of sins through the ἱλαστήριον of Christ (ver. 14). Hence also it is not to be written σ. αὑτῷ (with the aspirate). Just as God was obviously the acting subject in περιετμήθητε, in συνταφέντες, and in συνηγέρθ., so also He is introduced in the same character emphatically in ver. 12, and remains so till the close of ver. 15.

[103] Quite correlative is the conception of the ζωή as eternal life, which the righteous man already has, although he has still in prospect the glorious perfection of it in the future αἰών.

[104] The ἐν is not repeated before τῆ ἀκροβ. because the two elements coupled by καί are conceived together so as to form the single idea of unconversion; Kühner, II. 1, p. 476. This applies also in opposition to Holtzmann, p. 156.

[105] Not specially to Jewish Christians (Hofmann, who discovers here the same idea that is expressed in Hebrews 9:15, and makes a new period begin with χαρισάμενος), since Paul does not express a contrast with the Gentile-Christians, but very often passes from the second person, which refers to the readers, to the first, in which he, in accordance with the sense and connection, continues the discourse from the standpoint of the common Christian consciousness. Comp. Colossians 1:12; Galatians 4:5-6; Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:4, et al.; Winer, p. 539 [E. T. 725]. Nor does the idea of the figurative χειρόγραφον, which Hofmann urges, by any means require such a limitation—which there is nothing to indicate—of the ἡμῖν embracing himself and others.

Colossians 2:13. Partially parallel to Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5.—καὶ ὑμᾶς: “and you”. Frequently this is taken to mean “you also,” i.e., you Gentiles. But since Paul has been using the second person before, he can hardly be introducing a contrast. We should therefore take καὶ as simply copulative. It means “you as well as Christ,” as is shown also by the verbal parallel between ἐκ τ. νεκρῶν and νεκροὺς ὄντας.—νεκροὺς. Here Paul varies the sense of death. In the preceding verses it is death to the old life, here the old life itself is described as a condition of spiritual death. It is not of liability to eternal death (Mey.), or to physical death as the certain consequence of sin that he is speaking, but of a state of actual death, which can only be spiritual (cf. “sin revived and I died,” Romans 7:9).—τοῖς παραπτώμασιν: “by your trespasses”. The dative is probably one of Cause, but it could be translated by “in”. παραπτ. are individual acts of transgression, of which ἁμαρτία is the principle.—τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ της σαρκὸς ὑμῶν: “by the uncircumcision of your flesh”. This is often supposed to refer to literal uncircumcision, i.e., to the fact that they were Gentiles. But we have already seen that there is no emphasis on this fact. And the implied contrast that Jews were not, while Gentiles were, spiritually dead, is impossible in Paul. He cannot have said that they were dead by reason of uncircumcision, and, if the dative is taken otherwise, yet the coupling of τῇ ἀκρ. with τ. παραπτ. shows that physical uncircumcision is not referred to, but an ethical state. And this would not, as Abbott thinks, be unintelligible to Gentile readers, for he had already explained the metaphor in Colossians 2:11. τ. σαρκὸς is accordingly to be taken as an epexegetical genitive, “the uncircumcision which consisted in your flesh”.—συνεζωοποίησεν: to be taken in the same sense as συνηγέρθητε, not in any of the senses wrongly attributed to that word, which are reintroduced here. Chrysostom (followed by Ew., Ell.) makes Christ the subject. This is defended by Ellicott on the ground of the prominence of Christ through the passage, of the difficulty of supplying Θεός from Θεοῦ, and of referring the acts in Colossians 2:14-15 to the Father. But this last difficulty, urged also by Lightfoot, rests on a probably wrong interpretation of Colossians 2:15. Neither of the others is of any weight against the argument from Pauline usage, which always refers such actions to God. This view would also involve the awkwardness of making Christ raise Himself and us with Him, whereas in Colossians 2:12 His resurrection is referred to God. It is therefore best to regard ὁ Θεός as the subject, as in the parallel Ephesians 2:4-5.—χαρισάμενος: “forgiving”. Forgiveness is contemporary with quickening.—ἡμῖν: the change from the second person may be due to Paul’s wish gratefully to acknowledge his own participation in this blessing. It must not (with Hofm.) be referred to Jewish Christians.

13. And you] It is as if the Apostle would have written, “and you with Him” carrying on the last sentence. But he pauses on the word “you,” and makes a new statement.

dead in your sins] See Ephesians 2:1; Ephesians 2:5, for a close parallel written about the same time.

Dead:—devoid of spiritual and eternal life, in its Christian sense. For the truth that unregenerate man is thus “dead” see Ephesians 5:14; John 5:24; 1 John 3:14; 1 John 5:12; and cp. John 3:3; John 6:53. See also Genesis 2:17. The state indicated is one not of dormancy, or imperfect development, but one in which a living principle necessary for organization, growth and energy, in reference to God and holiness, is entirely lacking, and in which there is no innate tendency to develop such a principle. The “life eternal” must come ab extra.

in your sins] Better, in respect of your trespasses; the conditions and the symptoms of the “death.”—On the word rendered “trespass” see Trench, N. T. Synonyms, on ἁμαρτία, and our note on Ephesians 2:1. It has a slight tendency by usage to denote sin in its less grievous aspects; but this must not be pressed here.

the uncircumcision of your flesh] A phrase explained by the previous passage (Colossians 2:11) where the spiritual circumcision is in view, and “the body of the flesh.” It is the unregenerate state, in which man is separated neither from the guilt of sin nor from its power.

hath he quickened] Better, He quickened, He raised to life; ideally, when your Lord rose, actually when you came into union with Him by faith.

The word “you” should be repeated after “quickened,” by the best documentary evidence.

having forgiven] Better, forgiving; at the moment, in the act, of the “quickening.” The Lord’s Resurrection was the expression of the fact of His acceptance by the Father; our entrance on union with Him as the Risen One was the expression of our acceptance in Him.

you] Better, us; all believers, not Gentiles only. “St Paul is eager to claim his share in the transgression, that he may claim it also in the forgiveness” (Lightfoot).

all trespasses] Lit., all the trespasses; with reference to the recent mention of “your trespasses” (see last note but three).—Observe the Divine fulness of the remission.

Colossians 2:13. Καὶ ὑμᾶς, and you) The discourse, Colossians 2:10-12, was indefinite under the form of the second person, whereas now he speaks strictly in the second person; and, indeed, there is a remarkable Asyndeton [want of the copulative conjunction], by which Colossians 2:13-15, are connected.—νεκροὺς ὄντας, being dead) Ephesians 2:1-2.—τῇ ἀκροβυστίᾳ τῆς σαρκὸς, in the uncircumcision of the flesh) An exquisite term for original sin.—συνεζωοποίησε σὺν αὐτῷ) God hath quickened you together with Christ; comp Ephesians 2:4-5. The words, took away (ἦρκεν, Colossians 2:14), and made a show (ἐδειγμάτισεν, Colossians 2:15), which have no copulative conjunction connecting them, either with one another or with συνεζωοποίησεν,[8] depend on this expression, along with the annexed participles, all of which (viz. both the verbs and the participles) are to be referred to God the Father.—χαρισάμενος) The aorist is determined by the tense of the verb, to which it is added. Now, I adopt this reading, χαρισάμενος ὑμῖν,[9] and connect this clause with the preceding words. In this view, Colossians 2:13, along with those that precede it, addresses the Gentiles; and Colossians 2:14 introduces the Jews speaking.—παραπτώματα, offences) from which death had arisen. Deliverance from the reproach of sin, Colossians 2:14, and deliverance from the power of darkness, Colossians 2:15, are united with this deliverance from sin.

[8] For the καὶ before αὐτὸ qualifies it, and is not a copulative of the verbs, as the Engl. Vers. makes it.—ED.

[9] For the reading ὑμῖν, in the larger Ed., is considered not so certain: whereas by the margin of 2d Ed., with the concurrence of the Germ. Vers., it is reckoned among those that are more certain.—E. B.

Ἡμῖν is read by ABCDGfg Hilar. 204, 773. Ὑμῖν is supported by Vulg. Hilar. 990, 1067, and according to Lachm. by B (but Tisch. claims B for ἡμῖν).—ED.

Verse 13. - And you, being dead by reason of (or, in) your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses (Ephesians 2:1-5; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:12-21; Romans 6:23; Romans 7:9-13, 24; Romans 8:1, 2, 6, 10; 1 Corinthians 15:56; John 5:24; John 6:51; 1 John 3:14; Genesis 2:17). (For the transition from "having raised" (ver. 12) to this verse, comp. Ephesians 1:20 - 2:1; also Colossians 1:20, 21.) Again the participle gives place to the finite verb: a colon is a sufficient stop at the end of ver. 12. Death, in St. Paul's theology, is "a collective expression for the entire judicial consequences of sin" (see Cromer's ' Lexicon,' on θάνατος and νεκρόζς), of which the primary spiritual element is the sundering of the soul's fellowship with God, from which flew all other evils contained, in it. Life, therefore, begins with justification, (Romans 5:18). "Trespasses" are particular acts of sin (Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 2:1, 5; Romans 5:15-20; Romans 11:11); "uncircumcision of the flesh" is general sinful impurity of nature. The false teachers probably stigmatized the uncircumcised state as unholy. The apostle adopts the expression, but refers it to the pre-Christian life of his readers (see vers. 11, 12), when their Gentile uncircumcision was a true type of their moral condition (Romans 2:25; Ephesians 2:11). These sinful acts and this sinful condition were the cause of their former state of death (Romans 5:12). The Revisers rightly restore the second emphatic "you" - "you, uncircumcised Gentiles" (comp. Colossians 1:21, 22, 27; Ephesians 1:13; Ephesians 2:11-18; Romans 15:9). It is God who "made you alive" as he "raised him (Christ)," (ver. 12); the second act being the consequence and counterpart of the first, and faith the subjective link between them. Χαρίζομαι to show grace, used of Divine forgiveness only in this and the Ephesian Epistle (Colossians 3:13; Ephesians 4:32: comp. Luke 7:42, 43; 2 Corinthians 2:7, 10; 2 Corinthians 12:13), points to the cause or principle of forgiveness in the Divine grace (Ephesians 2:4, 5; Romans 3:26; Romans 5:17). In "having forgiven us" the writer significantly passes from the second to the first person: so in Ephesians 2:1-5 (comp. Romans 3:9, 30; 1 Timothy 1:15). The thought of the new life bestowed on the Colossians with himself in their individual forgiveness calls to his mind the great act of Divine mercy from which it sprang (the connection corresponds, in reverse order, to that of Colossians 1:20, 21; 2 Corinthians 5:19, 20), and he continues - Colossians 2:13Dead (νεκροὺς)

Morally, as Ephesians 2, Ephesians 1:5; Romans 6:11. In your sins (ἐν τοῖς παραπτῶμασιν) The best texts omit ἐν in, and the dative is instrumental, through or by. Rev., through your trespasses. See on Matthew 6:14.

The uncircumcision of your flesh

That sinful, carnal nature of which uncircumcision was the sign, and which was the source of the trespasses. Compare Ephesians 2:11.

He quickened together (συνεζωοποίησεν)

Only here and Ephesians 2:5. Endowed with a new spiritual life, as Colossians 2:12. This issues in immortal life. Compare Ephesians 2:6.

Having forgiven us (χαρισάμενος ἡμῖν)

Freely (χάρις grace, free gift), as Luke 7:42; 2 Corinthians 2:7, 2 Corinthians 2:10; Colossians 3:13. Note the change of pronoun from you to us, believers generally, embracing himself. This change from the second to the first person, or, vice versa, is common in Paul's writings. See Colossians 1:10-13; Colossians 3:3, Colossians 3:4; Ephesians 2:2, Ephesians 2:3, Ephesians 2:13, Ephesians 2:14; Ephesians 4:31, Ephesians 4:32.

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