Prison is fine, but it's not a total cakewalk. Go figure.
It's mostly a bummer because Paul can't get out to see any of his fellow Christians. He has to settle for writing letters. Luckily, he's pretty good at that.
Paul wants all his Christian friends to know that the key is Jesus. He's the source of all God's wisdom and knowledge.
And he doesn't want the Colossians to listen to just any Tom, Dick, or Harry off the street, no matter how convincing these naysayers might seem.
He might not be physically present, but Paul's there with them in spirit.
Time for a Clean Slate
Just keep living lives in Christ and everyone will be fine, says Paul.
Paul warns them not to be swayed by false teachers who swoop in with their fancy theories and lead nice Christians astray.
Human traditions and ideas don't mean anything. It's the stuff that God tells us that really matters. Figuring that out is kind of the trick, though…
See, the Christians in Colossae used to be non-believing Gentiles. That means they weren't circumcised like Jewish guys. But God dug the Gentiles so much he gave them "a special circumcision." In other words, they knew and understood God through Jesus, not through thousands of years of Jewish law, scripture, and traditions.
After Jesus died, God didn't worry so much about all the laws and traditions that he had made such a big deal about starting way back in Exodus.
God took those rules and the sins of the world and he nailed them to that cross with Jesus. Basically, he left them there and forgot about them and started over fresh with everyone.
Watch Out for False Teachers
Because these Gentile-Christians are circumcised in their heart, they shouldn't worry about anyone who claims they're not up to snuff with God just because they're not physically circumcised.
They also shouldn't panic about what foods they eat, or which festivals they celebrate or what they should and shouldn't be doing on the Sabbath. God is so over those things. He just wants everyone to put their faith in Jesus.
Christians also shouldn't listen to anyone who worships angels or worries too much about visions or only understands things with their tiny human brain.
Um, isn't that everyone?
These false teachers need to focus on Jesus—he's the head of this body (remember?). That's the only way to keep the body and the individual parts healthy and happy. Otherwise, we're gonna need to start amputating toes over here.
Besides, if Christians are dead to the world, then why would they need to worry so much about all the worldly things they're doing? No bacon? No work on the Sabbath? No touching unclean things? It's kind of minor stuff in the grand scheme of things.
Paul thinks those are things Christians don't need to worry their pretty little heads about. People think they're being holy when they do these things, but in reality, following these rules doesn't have any effect on a person's heart, says Paul.