With Him in Glory

Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory. 

‘When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory.’ This is the 1st New Testament prophecy in Colossians (3:4,) and is still unfulfilled. When is not stated, but the fact of it is (John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 4:16). This refers to the rapture.

‘Our life’ – Eternal life is in Jesus Christ (John 17:2-3; Rom. 5:10; 1Jn. 5:11-13).

‘Appear’ [Greek: phaneroo] to make visibly manifest. Translated “make manifest” (3:4; 1:26; John 1:31; 3:21; 9:3; Rom. 16:26; 1Cor. 4:5; 2Cor. 2:14; 4:10-11; 5:11; 11:6; Eph. 5:13; 2Tim. 1:10; Heb. 9:8; 1Jn. 2:19; Rev. 15:4); “manifest” (Mark 4:22; John 17:6; Rom. 3:21; Tit. 1:3; 1Jn. 1:2; 3:5, 8; 4:9); “manifest forth” (John 2:11); “declare manifestly” (2Cor. 3:3); “be manifest” (1Tim. 3:16; 1Pet. 1:20); “show one’s self” (John 21:1, 14); and “appear” (Mark 16:12, 14; 2Cor. 5:10; 7:12; Col. 3:4; Heb. 9:26; 1Pet. 5:4; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:2; Rev. 3:18). Here it means to make Himself visibly manifest to those whom He translates or causes to meet Him in the air (John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 4:16-17; 1Jn. 2:28; 3:2). It is in glory that we shall apear with Him. We must first appear with Him in the glory of heaven before we come back with Him in His glory to the earth to reign (John 14:1-3; 1Thess. 2:12; 4:16-17; Eph. 5:27; Jude 1:24). The word “glory” is used of heaven in 1Timothy 3:16 and 2Peter 1:17.

Set Your Affection on Things Above

Colossians 3:1-3 If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 

‘You then be risen with Christ.’ Note the contrast between this and Colossians 2:20 – if you are dead with Christ from rudiments of the world, act like a dead man. Here, if you ‘are risen’ with Christ, act like a living man (3:1-3).

‘Seek those things which are above.’ Focus on that which is given to us from God, His Word and promises. Not this world and its problems.

‘Where Christ sits on the right hand of God.’ Another proof of God and Christ being separate and distinct persons who sit side by side.  From Acts 2:32-33 we see Jesus had been raised by God and exalted by the right hand of God and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost. Proof of three separate and distinct persons.

‘Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.’ Love heavenly things and be engrossed by them and not earthly things (1Jn. 2:15-17). Think about Godly things, not earthly (Php. 4:8), casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ, having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled (2Cor. 10:5-6). We have the warning from Luke 21:34-35 to take heed of ourselves, lest at any time our hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness and the cares of this life so that the day of the Lord come upon us unawares. Take your cares to Him!!

‘You are dead.’ Christians are dead to three things: Sin (Rom. 6:2, 7, 11; 1Pet. 2:24); the law (Rom. 7:4; Gal. 2:19); the rudiments of the world (2:20).

Be Dead with Christ

Colossians 2:20-23 Wherefore if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. 

‘If you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world.’ If you are dead with Christ, having been freed from the elementary rules of the world and rudiments of Judaism, why then be subject to them any longer? All such things are to perish. They are mere traditions of men, not laws of God in the new covenant (2:20-23).

‘After the commandments and doctrines of men.’ To follow the commands and doctrines of men and not God, have always been the basis of most religions and also idolatry (Matt. 15:9; Mark 7:7; 1Tim. 4:1).

‘Will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body.’ This is any form of worship man chooses for himself apart from the true worship of God (Rom. 1:21-25). Some forms have a great show of refinement, humility, and asceticism, but they are powerless to deal with sin and the old man. They only feed self-righteousness and pride and do not change the heart.

Having Nourishment Ministered

Colossians 2:18-19 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he had not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increased with the increase of God. 

‘Let no man beguile you of your reward.’ Let no man take your prize. You have found Christ and been made free from sin by the gospel and the Holy Spirit. You started in the spirit so do not let any man induce you to finish in the flesh (Gal. 3:1-5).

‘Voluntary humility and worshipping angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.’ Five facts about false cults: [1] Self-imposed fastings and self-denials of many things to appear religious, that is not forbidden in Scripture – touch not, taste not and handle not (2:18, 20-23). [2] The Greek word threskeia means worshipping (2:18) and religion (Acts 26:5; Jas. 1:26-27). Here it is a cult or religion of angels and demons (2:18, 23; 1Tim. 4:1-8). [3] Religion that is based upon visions that are supposed to come from God and angels (2:18; Deut. 18:1-22; Jer. 23:1-40; Ezek. 13:1-23). [4] Religion that is based upon the superior knowledge, new discoveries, occult secrets, piety, and sensuous feelings (2:18, 8; Rom. 1:21-23; 1Tim. 6:20). [5] Religion that is not Christ-centered and true to the gospel (2:19; Eph. 4:14; 5:11-12; 2Cor. 11:14-15; Matt. 7:15)

‘Holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered.’ Not acknowledging the Head of the body (Christ) on whom every member depends for nourishment and life.

A Shadow of Things to Come

Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 

‘Let no man therefore judge you …’ Five things not to judge others about: what to eat (2:16; 1Tim. 4:1-16; Rom. 14:1-23); what to drink (2:16; 1Cor. 10:31); what days to keep (2:16; Gal. 4:1-31); what new moon festivals to keep (2:16); what days to observe (2:16; Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 4:9-10)

‘Meat’ – refers to clean animals (Lev. 11:1-47; Deut. 14:1-29). The new covenant has never permitted any kind of unclean meat to be used as food, the meat of unclean animals is poisonous and not for human consumption because their meat contains toxins that are not excreted from their bodies like the bodies of cows, sheep, certain bucks and chickens (some other fowls also) and fish with gulls do. Many Scriptures are quoted out of context to allow the eating of unclean toxic meats. God never intended for us to eat dogs, pigs, cats or horses, to name but a few. Some animals were made as scavengers and some for labour and transport. Before Noah’s days, clean and unclean animals were known to man (Gen. 4:4; 7:2-3).

‘Drink’ – The law was very liberal about drinks (Deut. 14:24), and yet under it, God condemned strong drink (Pro. 20:1; 31:4-7; Isa. 5:11-23). Like every other subject, we must go to the new covenant – given under the New Testament – to find out God’s will for Christians. It demands that whatever we eat or drink we are to do it to the glory of God (1Cor. 10:31). It condemns all drunkenness and commands constantly our soberness (1Cor. 15:34; 1Thess. 5:6-8; 1Tim. 3:2, 11; 2Tim. 2:26; 4:5; 1Pet. 1:13; 4:7; 5:8).

‘Holyday’ – Jews had many holy days, new moons, festivals, and sabbaths that were binding upon all men under the old covenant (Lev. 23:1-44; 1Chron. 23:1-32). None of them is commanded in the new covenant and men must heed not to fall back on family traditions and festivals that lead to idolatry (2:14-17; Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 4:9-10).

‘Sabbath days’ This refers to all the sabbaths of the law of Moses, including the regular weekly sabbath. All of them are now abolished with the law, thus fulfilling prophecy (Isa. 1:13-15; Hos. 2:11). Christians are now free to keep any day they want to as a sabbath (2:14-17; Rom. 14:5-6; Gal. 3:9-10). All sabbaths were a shadow of the rest we now have in Jesus Christ (2:17; Matt. 11:28-30; Heb. 4:3, 10-11; 10:1).

Spoiled Principalities and Powers

Colossians 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 

‘And having spoiled principalities and powers’ – Christ’s two conquests: [1] Abolished and cancelled the law by Blotting it out (2:14); taking it out of the way (2:14); nailing it to the cross (2:14). [2] Defeated the executors of the law by Spoiling or conquering them (2:15); making a show of them openly (2:15); triumphing over them in the very cross that they thought was a triumph over Him (2:15; 1:20-22; Acts 2:23-36; 3:13-18; 1Cor. 1:18-24; Eph. 2:16).

‘Spoiled’ [Greek: apekduomai] to strip off the clothes of another. Translated spoil (2:15), and put off (3:9). Here it means satan and his forces were stripped of their power to condemn and kill the race. The law was blotted out and they had no further claim to hold man in sin and bondage, as they did employ the law (Rom. 7:5-25).

‘Made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it’ [Greek: deigmatizo] to expose to public infamy and shame. The intensive form, paradeigmatizo, is used in Matthew 1:19 and Hebrews 6:6 of public shame. The allusion is to the custom of conquerors making a public demonstration of conquered enemies. Satan and his human agents made a public shame out of Christ by crucifying Him. By that they thought they would triumph over Him, putting an end to His new religion, but the cross turned out to be their public defeat and shame (2:15; 1:20-22; Acts 2:23; 3:13-18; 5:28; 1Jn. 3:8).

Nailing It To His Cross

Colossians 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross

‘Blotting out’ [Greek: exaleipho] blot out (2:14; Acts 3:19; Rev. 3:5) and wipe away (Rev. 7:17; 21:4). The allusion here is to erasing ink from parchment by a fluid as the muriatic acid, or erasing oriental inks of burnt ivory, cork, and gum water by a wet sponge. No trace of the writing can be seen afterwards.

‘Handwriting’ [Greek: cheirographon] something written by hand; written decree. It refers to the complete law of Moses – not just the ceremonial part of the law, but the commandments also and every detail of the old contract.

‘Contrary to us’ – The whole law of Moses was against us and contrary to us and had to be taken out of the way or redemption could never have been experienced. The law made no provision for redemption. It only cursed and killed all men because all broke the law and could not possibly keep it (Rom. 8:3; Gal. 1:6; 3:5, 19; 2Cor. 3:6).

‘And took it out of the way’ – He took the law of Moses out of the way (out of the midst), so we do not have to remain under its curse and the eternal death penalty. Since it is out of our way, let us not stumble over it again. Keep it out of our way.

‘Nailing it to his cross’ – This is how He took the law of Moses out of our way. He simply nailed it to the cross and annulled its penalty so we could have a new start in life before God again. Figuratively, He killed the killer. He crucified the thing that brought guilt and death to all men (Rom. 3:19-20; 6:23; 8:2-3; 2Cor. 3:6-7; Eph. 2:14-16). Ancient laws are said to have been abrogated by nailing them to a post.

Buried with Him in Baptism

Colossians 2:12-13 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses 

‘Buried with him in baptism.’ Baptism is by burial or immersion (Matt. 3:11). This does not refer to water baptism, but to the baptism into Christ and into His body by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 6:1-10; 1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27). Water baptism is a symbol or figure of this spiritual baptism (1Pet. 3:21).

There are seven baptisms in Scripture: [1] John’s baptism in water (Matt. 3:1-17; Mark 1:1-45; Luke 3:1-38; 7:29-30; John 1:31-33; 3:23-26; 10:40; Acts 1:5; 11:16; 19:3); [2] Christ’s baptism in water (John 3:22; 4:1-2); [3] Baptism in suffering (Luke 12:50); [4] Baptism in the cloud and the sea (1Cor. 10:2); [5] Christian baptism in water (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 8:12-16, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16; 1Cor. 1:13-17; 1Pet. 3:21); [6] Baptism into Christ and into His body (Rom. 6:3-7; 1Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12); [7] Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11, 14; 20:22-23; Mark 1:8; 10:38-39; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; 7:37-39; Acts 1:5; 11:16; 19:2-3).

Three baptisms are for believers: [1] Into Christ or into His body at repentance and the new birth (pt. 6). Called “one baptism” (Eph. 4:5), because it is the only baptism that saves the soul and brings into the body of Christ. [2] Water baptism after one is saved (pt. 5). [3] Spirit baptism, is the enduement of power for service. It can take place before water baptism (Acts 10:44-48) or after it (Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-11; 8:12-21; 19:1-7).

The Holy Spirit is the agent to baptize into Christ and into His body (1Cor. 12:13); Christ is the agent to baptize in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; John 1:31-33); and the minister is the agent to baptize into water (Matt. 28:19).

‘Wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead.’ This baptism refers to the spiritual resurrection from death in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1-9). It is an operation of God, not of a preacher who baptizes in water (2Cor. 12:13; Rom. 6:1-10; Gal. 3:27). It is made effective through the faith of the operation of God, not through the operation of others.

‘You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, has he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses.’ This verse is the same in doctrine as Ephesians 2:1, 5, 11, proving that this baptism is not the one in water by a minister. It is God here that quickens or resurrects from death in trespasses and sins. No minister can do this by water.

Complete in Him

Colossians 2:10-11 And you are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ

‘Complete in him’ –  we need nothing more when we are in Him [in unity] (John 15:1-7). The so-called doctrine of interpenetration, that is, persons entering physical into each other, is false. The Bible does speak of the Corinthians and Philippians being in Paul’s heart (2Cor. 7:3; Php. 1:7); God being in Christ (2Cor. 5:19); Christ being in God (John 14:20); God and Christ being in each other (John 14:10-11); men being in both the Father and the Son (1Jn. 2:24); men being in Christ (2Cor. 5:17); men and the Spirit being in each other (Rom. 8:9); Christ being in men (Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10); man and Christ being in each other (John 14:20); all creation being in God (Acts 17:28); and satan entering into men (Luke 22:3; John 13:27). However, these passages refer to being in union with, being consecrated to the same end – one in mind, purpose, and life. They do not teach the physical entrance of one being into another. It may be best understood by a man and woman becoming one in life together, being in each other’s plans, life, etc.

‘In whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.’ Literally, in Him, you have been circumcised, not by cutting the flesh, but by the circumcision of Christ in putting off the body of sins of the flesh. Christ became circumcised and fulfilled all the Law to become a true mediator between God and man. Now through Him, we are freed from all Mosaic law observance and have been redeemed through the work of Christ on the cross (2:11-17; 1:14, 20-25; 1Pet. 2:24).

All The Fulness

Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelled all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 

‘For in him dwelled all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.’ In Christ alone – not in the philosophies, vain deceit, human traditions of the Jews and Gentiles, or the world principles, church religions – will be found the fullness of the Godhead in reality, or bodily. Jewish institutions were mere shadows of the realities and of the redemption made through the offering of the body of Christ in sacrifice (2:14-17; Matt. 26:26-28; Rom. 7:6; Eph. 2:16; Heb. 10:1-18; 1Pet. 2:24). Hence, the Greek word somatikos translating as bodily and referring to that which is real in contrast to that which is typical, or shadowy as in Colossians 2:17 and Hebrews 10:1.

The Greek word for Godhead is Theotes meaning Deity. It occurs only here and relates to the Godhead or Deity personally. Christ is the personal and bodily manifestation of all the fullness of Deity. He was God incarnate and the manifestation of all the fullness of God’s power and blessings to men (Isa. 7:14; 9:6; Matt. 1:18-25; Luke 1:34-35). The fullness of the Holy Spirit rested upon Him and worked through His body (Isa. 11:2; 42:1-7; 61:1-2; John 3:34; Acts 10:38). The fullness of redemption from the Deity came through His body (1Pet. 2:24). This is why we become complete in Him and why He is the head of all principality and power (2:10; 1:16-18; Eph. 1:20-23; Php. 2:9-11; 1Pet. 3:22).