Colossians 2:16-20
Col 2:16 (KJB)
Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
Let judge - Decide between or give judgment
The essence of this verse is that the Colossians had been freed from the requirements of the Mosaic law through Christ, and they should not allow themselves to be judged concerning keeping any elements of the law. They apparently were listening to some Judaizers or maybe even some of the Gnostics who would have still been keeping the law since they rejected Christ. All of the rituals and ceremonies were fulfilled in Christ and therefore the outward keeping of these was not necessary any more. When a person becomes saved, it is like they have kept the law and all its outward observances to the fullest in response to the requirements set forth in the law. So Paul does not want these Colossians to think for a minute that they have been doing anything wrong by not observing the ceremonies. Once Christ went to the cross and the veil in the Temple was rent in two, that signaled the end of the Mosaic law observances, they were now fulfilled in Christ.
Col 2:17 (KJB)
Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
Here Paul states it plainly that all the Mosaic law rituals and ceremonies were only the shadow or foreshadow of things to come. This is why Paul did not want the Colossians to feel judged on account of these rituals simply because they are of no more importance since the Bible teaches that they were only shadows or foreshadows of things to come. Paul wants the Colossians to focus on the body of Christ which is the reality and not a shadow. This is where the focus of all Christians need to be and not on any rituals. We are to help build the body by evangelism and help mature it through teaching.
Col 2:18 (KJB)
Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind,
Beguile you of your reward - Defraud or deprive
Voluntary - The purpose to do or to be willing
Intruding - Inquiring
Vainly - Without purpose or without cause
Apparently there was some false methods of worship present in Colossae and Paul was now admonishing the Christians that they should not lose their reward or their prize by partaking in false worship which causes people to make believe they are so humble or pious to the point that they needed to have angels intermediated for them instead of praying to God through Christ as the Scriptures teach. What was happening here was they were inquiring into supernatural things which in their fleshly minds was necessary for their false worship. False worship also tends to bring a vanity with it, that is, it makes the adherents seem to be so religious yet they are partaking of a false religion. We see in our own time the tremendous focus on angels, go to any Christian bookstore and you will find many figurines of angels. First of all, no one really knows what an angel looks like and secondly, if you focus on the angels for any purpose, you are taking your eyes off of Christ. That is why focusing on angels is not coming from a spiritual mind but rather a fleshly mind. Anything that attempts to divert us from Christ is of a satanic nature.
Col 2:19 (KJB)
And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
Holding - Take hold of get possession of
Joints - Ligament or that which connects a joint
Bands - That which binds
Having nourishment ministered - Furnish, fully supply, or provide
Increase - Growth
If one begins to think they can use angels or anything or anyone else as a mediator, they will begin to set Christ aside and it is He that upholds the body of Christ, which is the body of believers. Just as the human body is held together by ligaments and other joints and requires nourishment to grow and be healthy, so the body of Christ must exist the same way. The Lord Jesus Christ nourishes the body and that results in spiritual growth. When the Lord Jesus Christ is replaced and someone else is made the focus, whatever that focus is can never nourish the body as Christ can and that results in becoming weaker and eventually getting to the point of being so weak, it becomes useless. The Lord Jesus causes every part of the body to function properly. Believers have different callings and different ministries but the goal is always the same and that is building up the body. Christ supplies all the necessary strength to every believer to keep the body strong and functioning properly.
Col 2:20 (KJB)
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
If - Since
Ye be dead - Die or be put to death
Rudiments - Elements or fundamental principles
Are you subject to ordinances - Subject to a decree
Since these Christians are now dead to the fundamental principles or elements of worldly things such as the ceremonial law, then why, as if they are still in the world are they allowing themselves to be subject to these decrees. Christianity is not a list of doís and doníts, it is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ which continues to grow stronger each day. The world sees salvation as being obtained by works and those works are always tied to the world, they are not of a spiritual nature. False religion today would have us work for the environment, to save the whales, etc. It will always be a works based formula for salvation. The problem with that is salvation is by grace through Jesus Christ and not works. Paul did not want the Colossians to regress in their walk by attempting to please God by works. They subjected themselves to these decrees which added nothing to their salvation but confusion. If you speak to someone concerning works, ask them the following questions. What works? How many works? How long do you do the works? I can guarantee you will not receive an answer. Christians must be dead to the idea of salvation by works because it is not a Scriptural principle.