2:18-23 It looked like humility to apply to angels, as if men were conscious of their unworthiness to speak directly to God. But it is not warrantable; it is taking that honour which is due to Christ only, and giving it to a creature. There really was pride in this seeming humility. Those who worship angels, disclaim Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man. It is an insult to Christ, who is the Head of the church, to use any intercessors but him. When men let go their hold of Christ, they catch at what will stand them in no stead. The body of Christ is a growing body. And true believers cannot live in the fashions of the world. True wisdom is, to keep close to the appointments of the gospel; in entire subjection to Christ, who is the only Head of his church. Self-imposed sufferings and fastings, might have a show of uncommon spirituality and willingness for suffering, but this was not in any honour to God. The whole tended, in a wrong manner, to satisfy the carnal mind, by gratifying self-will, self-wisdom, self-righteousness, and contempt of others. The things being such as carry not with them so much as the show of wisdom; or so faint a show that they do the soul no good, and provide not for the satisfying of the flesh. What the Lord has left indifferent, let us regard as such, and leave others to the like freedom; and remembering the passing nature of earthly things, let us seek to glorify God in the use of them.
20. Wherefore—The oldest manuscripts omit "Wherefore."
if ye be dead—Greek, "if ye died (so as to be freed) from," &c. (compare Ro 6:2; 7:2, 3; Ga 2:19).
rudiments of the world—(Col 2:8). Carnal, outward, worldly, legal ordinances.
as though living—as though you were not dead to the world like your crucified Lord, into whose death ye were buried (Ga 6:14; 1Pe 4:1, 2).
are ye subject to ordinances—By do ye submit to be made subject to ordinances? Referring to Col 2:14: you are again being made subject to "ordinances," the "handwriting" of which had been "blotted out" (Col 2:14).