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.
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.
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 290.6Read in context »
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 906.2Read in context »