What does Colossians 2:13 mean?
ESV: And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
NIV: When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,
NASB: And when you were dead in your wrongdoings and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our wrongdoings,
CSB: And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses.
NLT: You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.
KJV: And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
NKJV: And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,
Verse Commentary:
Paul notes the spiritual condition of the Colossian believers before Christ: They were both dead in their sins (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:5) and physically uncircumcised (Ephesians 2:11). These believers were clearly Gentiles, as they did not practice the Jewish ritual of circumcision. So, not only were they guilty of sin, as all men are (Romans 3:23), but they were not part of God's chosen people.

Despite being sinners and uncircumcised Gentiles, God took action to forgive Christian believers, and to make them alive in Him, through Christ. Paul makes these two ideas into a direct contrast: first is being dead in trespasses and uncircumcised, the second is being alive in God and forgiven (Luke 11:4; 1 John 1:9). Paul has already mentioned forgiveness of sins in Colossians 1:14 and will again refer to the theme in Colossians 3:13. Forgiveness serves as one of the most powerful aspects of being a believer in Christ. A believer receives new life for eternity, while also experiencing a new quality of life today.

Paul continues his explanation of this idea in verse 14.
Verse Context:
Colossians 2:6–15 describes Christ's superiority in defeating sin. This is shown in stark contrast to the failure of the unbelieving world. Paul encourages the Colossians not to be tricked by deceptive arguments. This passage also explains the drastic nature of salvation. Those who put their faith in Christ are ''spiritually'' circumcised and are identified with God through their faith. This act of forgiveness by God frees us from the eternal penalty of sin, restores our relationship, and defeats the evil forces fighting against us.
Chapter Summary:
In this passage, Paul warns Christians not to be taken in by deceptive arguments. These claims are attractive, but are merely tricks: they sound true, but they are not. Arguing for self-denial, legalism, visions, and other practices only looks good to observers. None of these are the real source of spiritual growth. Paul emphasizes the way Christ accomplished everything we need to be justified before God. As a result, there is no reason for believers to pursue these false, shallow ''shadows.'' We have the real substance: Jesus, so we should follow Him.
Chapter Context:
Chapter 1 introduced Christ as supreme over all of creation. Chapter 2 refines this argument by showing how the salvation offered through Jesus is superior to false, alternative systems. Paul specifically refutes several ideas, such as legalism, asceticism (self-denial), and mysticism. These are not how God intends us to grow, spiritually. Later chapters will contrast these false, external attempts with the true, inner spiritual growth which comes only by faith in Christ.
Book Summary:
The book of Colossians describes Christ as superior to all other teachers, faiths, and philosophies. In this letter, written from prison, Paul once again tackles false teachings. Among these errors are claims that Christians need to give up all physical enjoyments, that they should worship angels, and that they need to rely on the wisdom of an elite few. These problems are consistent with an ancient heresy known as Gnosticism. In response, Paul explains that Christ is supreme, and sufficient for our salvation.
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