If for a moment we glance back at the passage beginning with 1:24 and ending with 2:3, we find reference to a threefold mystery: the first, the Church, which is the Body of Christ; then the secret of life in the individual believer, "Christ in you, the hope of glory"; finally, the deepest mystery of all, "the mystery of God even Christ." The apostle declared his reason for having so carefully stated this doctrine of Christ and the Church. It is that the Colossian Christians might not be deluded.
The central declaration of the epistle is found in this chapter, "For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in Him ye are made full, which is the Head of all principality and power."
As the apostle approaches the personal and practical application, he shows what this relationship of the believer to Christ means in two fundamental respects. Union with the death of Christ means union with His work of reconciliation. Union with the resurrection of Christ means union with all the glories of His Person.
Certain perils were threatening the Church at Colossae with which the apostle dealt. Some were attempting to bring believers into bondage to external observances, and the apostle warned them against such. The other peril was putting Christ at a distance by allowing intermediation between the soul and Him, even that of angels.
The perils against which the apostle warned these Colossians have often recurred in the history of the Church. By pledges and promises according to human ordinances a man is constantly in danger of worshiping his own will. By submission of the conscience to human intervention an unwarranted subservience is created. How true it is that there may be a development and strengthening of the lower side of human life in self-denial, in submission to false authority, and in the mere bruising of the body. There can be no such result where the soul is living in conscious experience of death with Christ and life in Him.