Chapter two continues the account of Paul’s struggle on behalf of the Colossians and Laodiceans (Colossians 2:1-5). He thought that those who had never met him could not quite appreciate the struggle he went through for them. This was especially concerning because of the detractors that continually came behind him, slandering him to the new converts he left in the churches. He needed them to know how much he truly cared for them.
More importantly, though, was that they continued to grow and mature spiritually and live out the truths they had been taught (Colossians 2:6-15). No matter what people said about him, Paul wanted to be sure that these believers were not dragged away by false doctrine that diminished the truth about Christ. Because of who he truly is – “all the fullness of deity…in bodily form” – what he did at the Colossians’ salvation was momentous. He changed their hearts, they were buried with him in Spirit baptism, and they were “made alive with him” through the forgiveness of their sins. Everything that stood against them was destroyed when he was nailed to the cross, including “the rulers and authorities” with whom we currently do spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:12).
Because of these great freedoms through Christ, Paul encouraged them to not get bogged down in the legalistic traps of his detractors (Colossians 2:16-23). Focusing on things like dietary laws, required feast days, and circumcision means nothing compared to Christ and, in fact, undermines him and his work. Even though human commands seem to be spiritual and wise, they come from “a wisdom with no true value,” resulting in a false humility and spiritual weakness rather than maturity and strength.