A Circumcision Made Without Hands


by Mike Ratliff

8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 9 For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; 11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. Colossians 2:8-12 (NASB) 

I have been working on a manuscript for a book that is an exegetical study of Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians. Stuart and I are in the editing phase now. I still have to exegete Chapter 4 and work on the Introduction some, but it is coming together. The passage above takes place in a critical point in Paul’s Epistle. He has been working through a section that I titled The Preeminence of Christ and now just before he addresses the theological issues going on there he gives them more depth of the reality of who they are in Christ and just one verse earlier he warns them not to let anyone take them captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ (v8). There is a great deal of false teaching in our time that claims that people can be saved without repentance and surrender to the Lordship of Christ. However, both repentance and surrender to the Lordship of Christ comes through regeneration and, therefore, are not “works,” but those who say the opposite are guilty of the very deceit Paul is talking about in v8. Continue reading