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.
15. Alford, Ellicott, and others translate the Greek to accord with the translation of the same Greek, Col 3:9, "Stripping off from Himself the principalities and the powers: " God put off from Himself the angels, that is, their ministry, not employing them to be promulgators of the Gospel in the way that He had given the law by their "disposition" or ministry (Ac 7:53; Ga 3:19; Heb 2:2, 5): God manifested Himself without a veil in Jesus. "The principalities and THE powers" refers back to Col 2:10, Jesus, "the Head of all principality and power," and Col 1:16. In the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, God subjected all the principalities, &c., to Jesus, declaring them to be powerless as to His work and His people (Eph 1:21). Thus Paul's argument against those grafting on Christianity Jewish observances, along with angel-worship, is, whatever part angels may be supposed to have had under the law, now at an end, God having put the legal dispensation itself away. But the objection is, that the context seems to refer to a triumph over bad angels: in 2Co 2:14, however, Christ's triumph over those subjected to Him, is not a triumph for destruction, but for their salvation, so that good angels may be referred to (Col 1:20). But the Greek middle is susceptible of English Version, "having spoiled," or, literally [Tittmann], "having completely stripped," or "despoiled" for Himself (compare Ro 8:38; 1Co 15:24; Eph 6:2). English Version accords with Mt 12:29; Lu 11:22; Heb 2:14. Translate as the Greek, "The rules and authorities."
made a show of them—at His ascension (see on Eph 4:8; confirming English Version of this verse).
openly—Joh 7:4; 11:54, support English Version against Alford's translation, "in openness of speech."
in it—namely, His cross, or crucifixion: so the Greek fathers translate. Many of the Latins, "In Himself" or "in Him." Eph 2:16 favors English Version, "reconcile … by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." If "in Him," that is, Christ, be read, still the Cross will be the place and means of God's triumph in Christ over the principalities (Eph 1:20; 2:5). Demons, like other angels, were in heaven up to Christ's ascension, and influenced earth from their heavenly abodes. As heaven was not yet opened to man before Christ (Joh 3:13), so it was not yet shut against demons (Job 1:6; 2:1). But at the ascension Satan and his demons were "judged" and "cast out" by Christ's obedience unto death (Joh 12:31; 16:11; Heb 2:14; Re 12:5-10), and the Son of man was raised to the throne of God; thus His resurrection and ascension are a public solemn triumph over the principalities and powers of death. It is striking that the heathen oracles were silenced soon after Christ's ascension.