Section 12, Chapter 3
He warns them against the impostures of the philosophers and the Jewish teachers, that would withdraw them from Christ.
2:1. For I would have you know what manner of care I have for you and for them that are at Laodicea and whosoever have not seen my face in the flesh:
2:2. That their hearts may be comforted, being instructed in charity and unto all riches of fulness of understanding, unto the knowledge of the mystery of God the Father and of Christ Jesus:
2:3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
2:4. Now this I say, that no man may deceive you by loftiness of words.
2:5. For though I be absent in body, yet in spirit I am with you, rejoicing, and beholding your order and the steadfastness of your faith which is in Christ.
2:6. As therefore you have received Jesus Christ the Lord, walk ye in him:
2:7. Rooted and built up in him and confirmed in the faith, as also you have learned: abounding in him in thanksgiving.
2:8. Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit: according to the tradition of men according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ.
2:9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporeally.
2:10. And you are filled in him, who is the head of all principality and power.
2:11. In whom also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand in despoiling of the body of the flesh: but in the circumcision of Christ.
2:12. Buried with him in baptism: in whom also you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God who hath raised him up from the dead.
2:13. And you, when you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he hath quickened together with him, forgiving you all offences:
2:14. Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. And he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross.
2:15. And despoiling the principalities and powers, he hath exposed them confidently in open shew, triumphing over them in himself.
2:16. Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink or in respect of a festival day or of the new moon or of the sabbaths,
In meat, etc. . .He means with regard to the Jewish observations of the distinction of clean and unclean meats; and of their festivals, new moons, and sabbaths, as being no longer obligatory.
2:17. Which are a shadow of things to come: but the body is of Christ.
2:18. Let no man seduce you, willing in humility and religion of angels, walking in the things which he hath not seen, in vain puffed up by the sense of his flesh:
Willing, etc. . .That is, by a self willed, self invented, superstitious worship, falsely pretending humility, but really proceeding from pride. Such was the worship, that many of the philosophers (against whom St. Paul speaks, ver. 8) paid to angels or demons, by sacrificing to them, as carriers of intelligence betwixt God and men; pretending humility in so doing, as if God was too great to be addressed by men; and setting aside the mediatorship of Jesus Christ, who is the head both of angels and men. Such also was the worship paid by the ancient heretics, disciples of Simon and Menander, to the angels, whom they believed to be makers and lords of this lower world. This is certain, that they whom the apostle here condemns, did not hold the head, (ver. 19,) that is, Jesus Christ, and his mediatorship; and therefore what he writes here no way touches the Catholic doctrine and practice, of desiring our good angels to pray to God for us, through Jesus Christ. St. Jerome [Epist. ad Algas.] understands by the religion or service of angels, the Jewish teachers, who sought to subject the new Christians to the observance of the Mosaic law.
2:19. And not holding the head, from which the whole body, by joints and bands, being supplied with nourishment and compacted, groweth into the increase of God.
2:20. If then you be dead with Christ from the elements of this world, why do you yet decree as though living in the world?
2:21. Touch not: taste not: handle not.
Touch not, etc. . .The meaning is, that Christians should not subject themselves, either to the ordinances of the old law, forbidding touching or tasting things unclean; or to the superstitious invention of heretics, imposing such restraints, under pretence of wisdom, humility, or mortification.
2:22. Which all are unto destruction by the very use, according to the precepts and doctrines of men.
2:23. Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in superstition and humility, and not sparing the body; not in any honour to the filling of the flesh.