New Defender's Study Bible Notes
2:13 together. In principle, or position, we have already been raised physically with Christ as well as spiritually, since His victory over death assures our ultimate resurrection as well, with sins forgiven and the righteousness of Christ imputed to us. See John 14:19; Romans 4:3-8; 8:10-11; Ephesians 2:4-7.
2:14 handwriting of ordinances. When a criminal was crucified, the charges against him were specified, being nailed to his cross. In this case, the charges against Christ encompassed the whole law of God, because Christ was dying for all the sins of all the world. Note Galatians 3:10,13.
2:15 principalities and powers. This phrase, “principalities and powers,” referring usually to the angelic hierarchy, occurs eight times in the New Testament, all in the writings of Paul (Romans 8:38; Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:10; 2:15; Titus 3:1). In this case (as also in Ephesians 6:12) it refers specifically to the Satanic coterie of rebellious angels, surrounding Christ on the cross (note Psalm 22:12-21). By dying for the sins of the world, Christ actually defeated Satan (even though the Devil may well have been temporarily gloating over his apparent triumph) because He thereby paid the price to redeem all men from their Satanic captivity (compare Hebrews 2:14-15).
2:16 judge you. Because Christ has paid for all our sins, and because believers have been saved entirely by grace, we should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by either legalistic stipulations (e.g., “sabbath days”) or pagan rituals (e.g., “worshipping of angels,” Colossians 2:18). Both were threats to the Colossian church because of the Judaizers on the one hand and the pagan philosophers on the other. The same dangers in somewhat different garb (modern legalists and new-age pantheists, respectively) confront believers today.