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« The Bible on Soul Winning | Main | Themes of Colossians Chapter Two – Part Two »

Themes of Colossians – Chapter Two – Part Three

13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it  .

Being dead…. When you were dead.

  • Sin is the state of spiritual death. Those who are in sin are dead in sin.
  • The body dies when it is separated from the soul. The death of the soul consists in its separation from God.
  • In nature, a dead body becomes decayed and corrupt. Sin corrupts or decays the soul.
  • A dead man cannot help himself by his own power. A sinner is morally powerless, even if he has natural power, or the power of reason.
  • Spiritual power only comes through divine life. Ephesians 2:11-12.
  • A convicted criminal under a death penalty is called a dead man because he is under a sentence of death. Sinners are under condemned already, John 3:18.

Hath he quickened together with him. Quickened means made alive. When we are buried with Christ (vs. 12), we share his death. This literally means that every status, every victory, every accomplishment Jesus gained by dying on the cross has been transferred to our account. It is just as though we, ourselves, had died.

Hebrews 2:14-15 “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”
Hebrews 10:10-18 “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all . 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.”

So, if we share in his death, by the same token we share in his resurrection.
Ephesians 2:4-6 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

The Six Victories of the Cross

1. Victory over the law.

Galatians 2:16 “ Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” There is no benefit, as pertains to salvation, to the observance of the Mosaic law.

2. Victory over sin.

Hebrews 9:26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

1 Corinthians 15:56-57 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The cross destroyed sin in principle. The cross showed the path to destroy sin in its practical aspect. The victory is there if we will avail ourselves of it.

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

3. Victory over death.

2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.” What should the Christian philosophy toward death be? If we are to take God at his word, there is nothing to fear, nothing to cause sorrow when a believer departs this life. It is a time of rejoicing because the saint who leaves this life enters into the joys of the Lord.

4. Victory over the devil’s works.

1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” What is the work of the devil? Deception. Accusation. Fiery darts. (Trials, temptations, irritations). None of these weapons can hurt you if you abide in Christ.

5. Victory over Satan himself.

Revelation 12:10-11 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

6. Victory over all enemies.

John 12:27-33 Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. 28 Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying , I have both glorified it , and will glorify it again. 29 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it , said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him. 30 Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes. 31 Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. 32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. 33 This he said, signifying what death he should die.” All men are drawn to Christ either for grace or judgment. Christ’s death, burial and resurrection qualifies him to judge.

Isaiah 63:1-6 Who is this that cometh from Edom , with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. 2 Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? 3 I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. 4 For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. 5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. 6 And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.”

The victory of the cross will not be complete until the Great Tribulation is over and the Battle of Armageddon has been fought and won. The shadow of the cross stretches from the beginning of creation to the end of time. With that much victory, surely there is enough victory for you today!

Blotting out the handwriting of the ordinances that was against us. The Greek has the meaning of smearing over or expunging the handwriting, so as to make it illegible as a document to be produced against us.

In general, this refers to the ten commandments. Exodus 18:20 And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do.” Leviticus 22:9 They shall therefore keep mine ordinance, lest they bear sin for it, and die therefore, if they profane it: I the LORD do sanctify them.”

Clearly, we must not violate these ordinances. Yet, if each of the ordinances could testify, what would they say? They would say that we have broken each one of them in some way. There is no question as to our guilt. So, Christ did not argue the point for us against his own law in order to preserve our innocence.

So, a very critical question emerges from this act of blotting out the handwriting. Does this destroy the ordinances? By going to the cross and forgiving us our sins, did Jesus impugn the law? Did he essentially say that the law no longer applied to us? The truth is that the cross reaffirms the power of the law. Jesus did not destroy the law. What did he do with it?

And took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. The cross did not despise the law. The cross honored the law to the highest degree possible. Every broken law, every transgression, every sin was nailed to the tree. One ancient mode of canceling bonds was by striking a nail through the writing. Who was nailed to the tree? Jesus was. That means that Jesus equated himself to our sins, our broken commandments. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

If you are struggling with guilt and shame, you need to envision this image of the cross. Instead of seeing only the flesh and blood of Jesus hanging on the cross. You need to see your sins, your shame, your faults nailed to the tree. Zacceus saw his theivery nailed to the cross. Mary Magdalene saw her prostitution nailed to the cross. Simon Peter saw his defection and backslidding nailed to the cross. Paul saw his role of accomplice to the murder of Stephen nailed to the cross. What do you see?

Either you let Jesus nail your sins to the cross or you accept the handwriting of the ordinances that were against you and face an angry God yourself.

16 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: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 18 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,

Let no man therefore judge you… We are not under the law, nor are we encouraged to observe any aspect of the ceremonial law for cultural, symbolic or enhanced meaning to our Christianity. We deal with substance, not shadows.

Let no man beguile you of your reward… This means “to declare you unworthy of the prize.” It comes from ancient athletic contests, especially races, in which any contestant who makes a wrong turn in a marathon race disqualifies himself from the reward. The reality is that all of us must take care because we are vulnerable to being deceived.

Voluntary humility in worshipping of angels… False humility. Developed Gnosticism supposed that a long row of angels stood between the material universe and the immaterial God. The most powerful angels were the furthest from the material. Many worshiped and sought to contact these angels.

19 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 the head… We are to keep our focus on Christ. Every aspect, every strand of Christianity needs to emerge from Christ and converge upon Christ. We are always in danger of peripheral pursuits, of running after novel and intriguing ideas that lead us away from Christ.

All the body by joints and bands having nourishment and knit together… This is a way of showing the need for active participation and interaction. Every person has value in the body. Everyone has a contribution to make. Do not withdraw, isolate yourself or become hostile in any way to the church.

20 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, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting  of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

This last verse has to do with legalism or asceticism. Ascetics think they will sanctify their soul by disciplining the body. Paul attacks this heresy. Observing days and adhering to religious diets have no sanctifying value. Fleshly discipline cannot sanctify a person. While we do discipline ourselves because we respect our bodies and minds, we do not discipline ourselves into salvation.

We are not saved through our own righteousness, but salvation through the cross of Christ leads us to a holier lifestyle. The bottom line is that we have a wonderful Savior whom we love and want to please.

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