From the rudiments of the world - Ye have renounced all hope of salvation from the observance of Jewish rites and ceremonies, which were only rudiments, first elements, or the alphabet, out of which the whole science of Christianity was composed. We have often seen that the world and this world signify the Jewish dispensation, or the rites, ceremonies, and services performed under it.
Why, as though living in the world - Why, as if ye were still under the same dispensation from which you have been already freed, are ye subject to its ordinances, performing them as if expecting salvation from this performance?
Wherefore - In view of all that has been said. If it be true that you are really dead to the world, why do you act as if you still lived under the principles of the world?
If ye be dead with Christ - If you are dead to the world in virtue of his death. The apostle here, as elsewhere, speaks of a very close union with Christ. We died with him; that is, such was the efficacy of his death, and such is our union with him, that we became dead also to the world; Notes, Romans 6:2, note, 4, note, 8, note, 11, note.
From the rudiments of the world - Margin, “elements.” The elements or principles which are of a worldly nature, and which reign among worldly men; see the notes at Galatians 4:3.
Why, as though living in the world - Why do you allow them to influence you, as though you were living and acting under those worldly principles? They ought no more to do it, than the things of this world influence those who are in their graves.
Are ye subject to ordinances - The rites and ceremonies of the Jewish religion; see the notes at Galatians 5:1-4.