Brothers and sisters:
As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him,
rooted in him and built upon him
and established in the faith as you were taught,
abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy
according to the tradition of men,
according to the elemental powers of the world
and not according to Christ.
For in him dwells the whole fullness of the deity bodily,
and you share in this fullness in him,
who is the head of every principality and power.
In him you were also circumcised
with a circumcision not administered by hand,
by stripping off the carnal body, with the circumcision of Christ.
You were buried with him in baptism,
in which you were also raised with him
through faith in the power of God,
who raised him from the dead.
And even when you were dead in transgressions
and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
he brought you to life along with him,
having forgiven us all our transgressions;
obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims,
which was opposed to us,
he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross;
despoiling the principalities and the powers,
he made a public spectacle of them,
leading them away in triumph by it.
2:8 Elemental powers of the world: while the term can refer to the “elements” like earth, air, fire, and water or to elementary forms of religion, the sense here is more likely that of celestial beings that were thought in pagan circles to control the world.
2:9 Fullness of the deity: the divine nature, not just attributes; in gnostic usage this term referred to a spiritual world of beings above, between God and the world; many later interpreters take it to refer to the fullness of the deity (Col 2:9); the reference could also be to the fullness of grace (cf. Jn 1:16).
2:11 A description of baptism (Col 2:12) in symbolic terms of the Old Testament rite for entry into the community. The false teachers may have demanded physical circumcision of the Colossians.
2:14 The elaborate metaphor here about how God canceled the legal claims against us through Christ’s cross depicts not Christ being nailed to the cross by men but the bond … with its legal claims being nailed to the cross by God.
2:15 The picture derives from the public spectacle and triumph of a Roman emperor’s victory parade, where captives marched in subjection. The principalities and the powers are here conquered, not reconciled (cf. Col 1:16, 20). An alternate rendering for by it (the cross) is “by him” (Christ).
Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. The angelic principalities and powers are insignificant by comparison with him: God has overpowered them and publicly exposed them through the death of his Son.
We were guilty and deserved the most rigorous of punishments because we were all of us in sin! What, then, does the Son of God do? By his death on the cross he removes all our stains and exempts us from the punishment due to them. He takes our charge-sheet, nails it to the cross through his own person and destroys it
This is one of the central teachings of the epistle—that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between God and men. The basic purpose of his mediation is to reconcile men with God, through the forgiveness of their sins and the gift of the life of grace, which is a sharing in God’s own life.