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Colossians 2:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

In whom also ye are circumcised - All that was designed by circumcision, literally performed, is accomplished in them that believe through the Spirit and power of Christ. It is not a cutting off of a part of the flesh, but a putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, through the circumcision of Christ; he having undergone and performed this, and all other rites necessary to qualify him to be a mediator between God and man; for, being made under the law, he was subject to all its ordinances, and every act of his contributed to the salvation of men. But by the circumcision of Christ, the operation of his grace and Spirit may be intended; the law required the circumcision of the flesh, the Gospel of Christ required the circumcision of the heart. The words των ἁμαρτιων, of the sins, are omitted by ABCD*EFG, several others, by the Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and Itala; and by Clement, Athanasius, Basil, Cyril, and several others. Griesbach has omitted them.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

In whom - In connection with whom, or in virtue of whose religion.

Ye are circumcised - You have received that which was designed to be represented by circumcision - the putting away of sin; Notes, Philemon 3:3.

With the circumcision made without hands - That made in the heart by the renunciation of all sin. The Jewish teachers insisted on the necessity of the literal circumcision in order to salvation (compare Ephesians 2:11); and hence, this subject is so often introduced into the writings of Paul, and he is at so much pains to show that, by believing in Christ, all was obtained which was required in order to salvation. Circumcision was an ordinance by which it was denoted that all sin was to be cut off or renounced, and that he who was circumcised was to be devoted to God and to a holy life. All this, the apostle says, was obtained by the gospel; and, consequently they had all that was denoted by the ancient rite of circumcision. What Christians had obtained, moreover, related to the heart; it was not a mere ordinance pertaining to the flesh.

In putting off the body of the sins of the flesh - That is, in renouncing the deeds of the flesh, or becoming holy. The word “body,” here, seems to be used with reference to circumcision. In that ordinance, the body of the FLesH was subjected to the rite; with Christians, it is the body of Sin that is cut off.

By the circumcision of Christ - Not by the fact that Christ was circumcised, but that we have that kind of circumcision which Christ established, to wit, the renouncing of sin. The idea of the apostle here seems to be, that since we have thus been enabled by Christ to renounce sin, and to devote ourselves to God, we should not, be induced by any plausible arguments to return to an ordinance pertaining to the flesh, as if that were needful for salvation.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
There is a philosophy which rightly exercises our reasonable faculties; a study of the works of God, which leads us to the knowledge of God, and confirms our faith in him. But there is a philosophy which is vain and deceitful; and while it pleases men's fancies, hinders their faith: such are curious speculations about things above us, or no concern to us. Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God. To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word "complete," is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. "In him," not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law. Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ's death was the death of our sins; Christ's resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities. The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord's day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ's resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.
Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 290.6

I beseech the churches in every place to make thorough work for eternity by confession and putting away of sins. “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). By what means? “Through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3:18). TDG 290.6

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 906-7

What Our Churches Should Be—The first and second chapters of Colossians have been presented to me as an expression of what our churches in every part of the world should be (Letter 161, 1903). 7BC 906.1

9-11. God's Will May Be Known—[Colossians 1:9-11 quoted.] How complete this prayer is! There is no limit to the blessings that it is our privilege to receive. We may be “filled with the knowledge of his will.” The Holy Ghost would never have inspired Paul to offer this prayer in behalf of his brethren, if it had not been possible for them to receive an answer from God in accordance with the request. Since this is so, we know that God's will is manifested to His people as they need a clearer understanding of His will (Letter 179, 1902). 7BC 906.2

15 (Hebrews 1:3; see EGW on Acts 1:11). The Perfect Photograph of God—We have only one perfect photograph of God, and this is Jesus Christ (Manuscript 70, 1899). 7BC 906.3

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