Commentary on Colossians, 2:10-12 (Spiritual Baptism)

Colossians 2:10-12

“9 For in Him dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,
“10 and you are in Him, made full, who is the Head of all principality and power;”

“and you are in Him, made full”

“made full”  (Gr. pleroo – 4137)

To make full, to fill up to the full, to complete, to make perfect.


“In Him dwells the fullness; being in Him, ye are filled.”

In Christ we are complete, having no deficiency. Before Christ came into our lives as Lord and Savior, before regeneration, we were spiritually incomplete.  Everyone who comes into this world is incomplete: spiritually dead, sinners separated from God, void of the truth, condemned to the eternal Lake of Fire. Apart from Christ we fall short of what God wills for every individual to become.

In Christ we have everything we need for salvation and for power to live according to the will of God. There is nothing that we lack in our relationship with God. In Christ we are blessed with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places (Eph 1:3), which includes “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). Therefore, we should no longer be looking to the false ways of the world (Col 2:8).

“who is the head of all principality and power.”

Though Christ is the “Head of the Church,” here “head” refers to Him as being the Ruler of all rulers. As fully God, Jesus is the Sovereign Lord of the universe, which includes both angels (holy and unholy) and mankind.

“11 in whom you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ;

Paul explains this in Romans 2:28-29:

“28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh:
29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

The Judaizers of Paul’s day taught that in order to be saved, one not only had to place faith in Christ, but also had to be circumcised. This was a teaching that Paul was apparently always having to correct. Circumcision is not something physical, as the Jews understood it, but is a circumcision of the heart.

Here is the purpose of circumcision in the Old Testament:

“7 And I will establish My covenant between me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your seed after you.
8 And I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
9 And God said to Abraham, And as for you, you shall keep my covenant, you, and your seed after you throughout their generations.
10 This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your seed after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.
11 And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a sign of a covenant between Me and you.”  (Ge 17:7-11)

God made a covenant with Abraham and with his seed, that He would be their God, and that He would give them the land of Canaan. The sign, or symbol of this covenant, was physical circumcision. This circumcision identified Israel as the people of God, through whom God would carry out His purposes, including salvation to the world. It’s through Abraham that the world is blessed spiritually – a reference to Christ who would come into the world through Abraham’s line (Gal 3:16,28,29).

Now it’s through faith in Christ, the faith of Abraham, that we receive “circumcision of the heart,” and are made “sons of Abraham” (Gal 3:6-9) and sons of God. The physical circumcision was symbolic of the spiritual circumcision that we have in Christ. The covenant that God made with Abraham and to his seed (Israel) is fulfilled in Christ. Thus those who share the faith of Abraham become a part of True Israel, consisting of both believing Jews and Gentiles.

This spiritual circumcision takes place in the new birth, and performed within us by the Holy Spirit. This “circumcision of the heart” fulfills the spirit of the law, rather than the outward conformity to the law (letter of the law). Thus God no longer recognizes physical circumcision, but only the circumcision of the heart that makes a person a true Jew in the eyes of God.

“circumcision of Christ”

This doesn’t refer to Christ’s circumcision, but to the circumcision of the heart that is accomplished through Him in those who believe.

“12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”

“having been buried with Him in baptism”

Many view this baptism to be a reference to water baptism. However, Paul is talking the experience of salvation here, and water baptism has no power to save. Water baptism is merely symbolic. It pictures our death and resurrection with Christ, as we go under the water and come up out of the water. Therefore I view this to be a reference to spiritual baptism.

When Jesus died on the cross for our sins, it was as though we were on that cross with Him. When He rose from the dead, it was as though we rose with Him. In Christ we have died to sin and to it’s penalty, and have been raised to new life (regeneration).