I’ll bet you know somebody who lives in fear of the randomness of evil—random violence, random storms, random accidents—that wreaks havoc in their lives. Most want to experience some control over what will happen to them, and they fall victim to all sorts of self-deceptions and scams. In fact it might be hard for you even to imagine thinking in a better way. So we settle for not thinking about it at all. But God invites you to think again – in fact – what would it take for you to form new neural pathways – to escape ways of thinking that are hollow with no foundation or roots. What would take to be rooted, firm, and kidnap-proof?
Colossians 2:6–15 (NIV)
Spiritual Fullness in Christ
6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
“Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.” Albert Camus
Paul’s also uses graphic and colorful imagery in this section to convey the truth of what Christ’s death and resurrection meant. He speaks of kidnapping, of Christ’s death as a circumcision, of a stripping off of the flesh, of baptism as burial, of canceling an IOU, of nailing charges to a cross, and of leading defeated captives in a triumphal parade. This imagery, which was so fresh and compelling in a first-century context, may frustrate the modern interpreter since the passage of time has blurred its transparency. But the compelling power of such imagery in its original context provides a model for us when we communicate this truth today. We should always be attuned to metaphors that will both grip our contemporaries and convey faithfully what Christ’s death and resurrection means so that the gospel message speaks afresh in every generation and culture. – David Garland
Deception of the Idols: This section begins with the reminder that Jesus is to be recognized as “Lord” (2:6),113 and its detailed arguments draw out the implications of such a confession. A visible thread can be identified behind the criticisms launched against the false teachings: in affirming Jesus as Lord, any teaching that contradicts this central confession must be considered idolatry.114 “Empty and deceitful philosophy” (v. 8) recalls OT anti-idol polemic that labels idols as “worthless” and those who worship them as “ignorant” (Isa 44:9; cf. 44:18). More explicit is the claim that “idols speak deceitfully” (Zech 10:2). “According to human tradition” (v. 8) points to the portrayal of idols as human fabrications (Isa 40:18–24; 41:4–7; 44:9–11). “Not according to Christ” (v. 8) is the definition of idolatry because idols are “no god” (Deut 32:21), and they cannot be compared to the one who creates all things (1 Chr 16:26; Ps 96:5; cf. 1:16). “Not performed by human hands” (v. 11) is contrasted to the idols that are “made with human hands”; and unlike impotent idols that cannot “rescue you” (1 Sam 12:21; cf. Isa 46:6–7; 57:13; Jer 14:22), God is able to deliver his people from their transgressions (v. 13). Finally, just as the idols and their makers will be put to shame (Ps 97:7; Isa 42:17; 45:16; Hos 10:6), the “rulers and authorities” that oppose God will be put to shame (v. 15). David W. Pao
Christianity, says the old slogan, is Christ. Put him in the middle of your picture of the world, and the world will stop spinning in incomprehensible circles and begin to make sense. Find him, and you’ve got the treasure. It may take you a while to get it all out of the treasure chest and inspect it, but when you do you’ll find—so Paul is saying in verse 3—that all the wisdom and knowledge that ever there was finds its full meaning in him. He is, quite simply, what it’s all about. – N.T. Wright