“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, first principle. Literally, it means a row, rank, series. The verb means to walk in rank. It was used of the letters of the alphabet as the basic elements of writing.
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, the rudimentary principles of religion.
Heb. 5:12, basic principles taught to spiritual babes.
Jesus freed us from the basics of religion.
“why, as though living in the world”
A believer without an understanding of positional truth will try to fake it. He may fool members of the human race but he will never fool 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 philosophy into it? We live as if Jesus did not die for our sin. 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 has repatriated us into the life of God.
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 perverse delight in asceticism.
Martin Luther lay naked in his cell all night in bitter cold beating his body. He hoped that this would please God. He thought that torturing himself he would find peace in his soul. God freed him from this asceticism by reading the book of Romans.