Throughout this chapter, two major themes come to light: spiritual fullness in Christ, and freedom from human rules. The first theme is of course an expansion on what Paul covered in Colossians 1.
Spiritual fullness in Christ
In the world today, where political instability and social uprising become increasingly common, it is important for us to ‘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’ (Colossians 2:8). We need to be vigilant in weeding out lies from the truth, so that we can avoid letting false, worldly ideals affect us. Some things that come to mind are: the prosperity gospel, the seeds of hate sown by a certain recently elected president, and the self-entitled mindset that many millennials nowadays seem to hold. Personally, I need to stop letting everything be about ME, and to really stop and wait on God to see what his plans are. Spiritual fullness in Christ will only come when I listen to the Holy Spirit and let him guide me and prevail in my life.
How can I be confident that I will no longer be “ruled by the flesh”? (Colossians 2:11). As a child of God, having been baptised in him and having received the Holy Spirit, I was “raised with him through my faith in the working of God” (Colossians 2:12). I have been brought to fullness in Christ. Not only were our personal sins forgiven at the cross, but those rules that condemned us have been removed by the death of Christ.
Freedom from Human Rules
In the second half of this chapter, Paul warns against the blind following of false teachings based on “human tradition.” Instead, real wisdom stems from a believer’s decision to increase their spiritual well-being through God’s grace.
Significantly, we are reminded that we no longer belong to this world, and we do not have to submit to its rules, human commands and teachings. Specifically, verse 23 mourns the lack of any restraint in “sensual indulgence” – pointing to sexual gratification and the selfish satisfying of needs. As young adults, this is of course a prominent issue, and of course, pressure is felt to conform with society’s norms in engaging in casual sexual relations. With continual reliance on the Spirit, this temptation can be avoided.
TL;DR: Personal goals
- Focus on spiritual fullness, not on selfish ambition and worldly satisfaction.
- Be aware of false teachings and deceptive philosophy.
- Be reminded that as children of God, made in his likeness, we should have faith in the working of God and the Holy Spirit in our lives.