Col 2:10-12 “And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”
The “him” referenced in verse ten is Jesus Christ (Col 2:8). It is very important that we are perfectly clear on this point. We are complete in Him, so it stands to reason that outside of Him we are lacking. There is wholeness in Jesus that does not exist anywhere else in the world. When we are blessed to understand this, we can then understand how He is the head of all rule (principality) and authority (power).
Since He is the head of all rule and authority, He has the ability to do extraordinary things in our lives. Whereas the physical circumcision of Abraham, and all males since that day, was performed by men’s hands, in Christ we receive a circumcision that has nothing to do with the ability of men. Circumcision under the law was the sign of a covenant that we could not keep. Being circumcised was a symbol of taking up the law, and anyone who relies on the law is a debtor to do the whole law without any failure whatsoever (Gal 5:3).
Our Adamic nature is such that doing the whole law without failing in any part is impossible for us. Thankfully, there is a circumcision in Jesus Christ that supersedes physical circumcision. Whereas the circumcision by men’s hands only highlighted the fact that we are sinners incapable of satisfying God’s righteous law, our circumcision in Christ is not made with hands. The circumcision performed by Christ has removed the great bulk of our sins of the flesh; something the circumcision of men could never do. Only in Christ are we complete.
There is a great circumcising power in being buried with Christ in baptism. This instance does not refer to being baptized with water, which Peter says can never put away the filth of the flesh (1 Pe 3:21). This is that baptism that John the Baptist spoke of when he said there was one coming after him who would baptize us “with the Holy Ghost and with fire (Mat 3:11, Luk 3:16).” The body of the sins of the flesh is cast aside by this baptism because we are truly immersed in His death.
By this baptism, we are also truly risen with Him. This is not just symbolism: we are complete in His death and resurrection. By His death and resurrection, we are made dead to sin and alive unto God. This does not come about by man’s hands, but through the faith of (not in) the effectual working (operation) of God! This is the effectual working of the same God who has raised Jesus from the dead.
We cannot do anything that is pleasing to God until we have been made partakers of the circumcision without hands. This is a work that is outside the scope of man’s ability. Once we are made whole in Him, then we can begin to do those things that are pleasing to God. These works do not give us life: they are an evidence of the life we have through the faith of the effectual working of God.
May we be blessed to live the miraculous life of those who are risen with Christ!