“Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—”
“from the basic principles of the world”
The Greek word for “basic principles” denotes an element, a first principle. Literally, it indicates a row, rank, or series. The verb means to walk in rank. Koine Greek used the term of the letters of the alphabet as the basic elements of writing.
Col 2:8 uses this word of the delusive speculations of Gentile cults and Jewish legalism.
2 Peter 3:10,12 uses this word of the substance of the material world.
Gal 4:3,9 uses the term as the rudimentary principles of religion.
Heb. 5:12 uses the word as basic principles taught to spiritual babes.
Jesus freed us from the basic principles of religion.
“why, as though living in the world”
A believer without an understanding of positional truth will try to fake spirituality. He may fool members of the human race, but he will never con God. A believer ignorant of the Bible is a spiritual zombie.
If we find interests, aims, and enjoyments in the Christian life, why should we interject foreign principles into it? We would live in that case as if Jesus did not die for our sins. If we died with Christ, all mundane relations cease. Mere rules get us nowhere. We need to live the expatriated power of the new sphere of life in Christ.
Jesus repatriated us into the life of God.
If Jesus delivered us from basic legalism, why then do we continue to live in legalism? We seek to please God by extreme self-denial. We can make a god of discipline. We can take a perverse delight in asceticism.
Before Martin Luther became a believer, he lay naked in his cell in the bitter cold, beating his body all night. He hoped that this would please God. He thought that he would find peace in his soul by torturing himself. God freed him from this asceticism by reading the book of Romans.