Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Colossians 2:13-15

Day 11

When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He disarmed the rulers and authorities, he made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.

This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. In a quick thumbnail sketch, Paul gives us a wonderful picture of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross. It was a victory unparalleled in the history of the world. Let’s take a look at what He did.

1. He made us alive.
We were dead. Maybe not physically, but spiritually, we were without hope or light. Because of the sin of Adam, the entire human race was condemned. Nothing we could have done could have wiped the slate clean. But Jesus could and did. His perfect atoning sacrifice paid for the sin of Adam and the subsequent sin of his offspring. “So then, as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men” (Romans 5:18).

2. He forgave us all our transgressions.
I wish I could blame it all on Adam. But unfortunately, my sin put Jesus on the cross as well. My voice was among the mockers as He carried his cross down the road to Calvary. When He died for the sin of the world, He was dying for all of the times I rebelled and put myself above the mighty, perfect God.

3. He cancelled the Law, nailing it to the cross.
The Law was given to demonstrate to the Israelites how to live when following a perfect God. Its careful instruction reflected the holiness that was His alone. Our need to be saved from our own evil nature became perfectly clear when we matched our standards against that of a holy God. Paul told the Galatians: “The Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.”

As instructive as the Law was, it was “hostile” to us as well. We couldn’t meet its standards. No matter how hard we tried, failure waited around the corner. It stood in silent condemnation of not only what we had done but of who we were.

When Jesus paid for our sin, He took that Law and metaphorically nailed it to the cross along with our sin. The Law’s terrible, impossible requirements had finally been fulfilled. Our debt was paid in full. The heavenly Judge banged his gavel and set us free.

4. He disarmed and made a public display of the rulers and authorities.
Paul uses this same phrase, “rulers and authorities” to describe Satan and his army of fallen angels in Ephesians 6. Satan’s goal is to bring as much destruction to God’s creation as possible. He pulls out the heavy armory when it comes to people who seek after God. In Ephesians 6:16, Paul tells us to take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all of the flaming arrows of the evil one. What arrows does he aim in our direction? He reminds us that we are unworthy to be in the presence of God Almighty. He tempts us to move away from God in our own selfish pursuits. His intent is to make us feel we are without hope. Revelation tells us that Satan stands at the throne of God and accuses those who have committed their way to God. I can hear him now: What? You are letting her into heaven? Have you seen the way her heart turns so easily away from you? Watched how she makes a mess of her life? Looked into the dark, ugly parts of her heart?

If I run into Satan at the Throne of God, I will agree with him. Yes, Satan, you are correct. I don’t deserve to be here. I failed God even when I started with the best of intentions. But then I will point to Christ, and with all of the gratitude that is in my heart, look Satan right in the eye. I am here, not because of me. It is because of Him.

Satan lost the war that day that Jesus died for the sin of mankind. Not that there was ever any doubt of the outcome, of course. He still tries to engage us in skirmishes even though the war is already won. He has even had success, on a limited scale. But the outcome has already been determined.

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The cross was an ironic victory on so many levels. It was a victory over the impossible standards of the Law. It was a victory over sin. It was a victory over Satan and his army; his weapons are now powerless against us. We who believe are truly alive, and that life is eternal.

The victory over so much has been handed to us as a free gift. By the grace and mercy of God, we can claim Christ’s victory as our own. Are you living as one who has already claimed victory? Think about the areas in your life that do not reflect the victory that is already yours. Commit them to the Lord and ask for help to live out those things in a way that demonstrates you have already won.


Anonymous said...

Dear Julile
your insight in to these Scriptures are the best that I have seen. thank you. your brother in Christ. Lee

Julie Coleman said...

Thanks, Lee! You might be interested in the study I wrote on Colossians, which is available on my website. You can download it for free! Click on over to Thanks again for your words of encouragement! God bless you in your own study of His Word!

Thomas said...

Hi Julie.

I would like to question you about the law. In Matthew 5:17- Yeshua (Jesus) said that not one stroke of the pen would be removed from the law before heaven and earth would pass away; heaven and earth have not passed away. So according to Messiah's teaching the law has not moved from it's position. In act 15 we read that the diciples were meeting in synagouges on the 7th day of the week, and what was been taught? the law of Moses. In Matthew 23 Yeshua said "the scibes and pharisees sit on Moses seat, observe and do what they say, but do not do as they do" Clearly Yeshua was telling us that the law is a good thing. In church we are taught that the law has been done away with. If that's case then why does Yeshua tell us to observe the law? surley he was not saying that his diciples were to observe only until he died. Again Paul talks about the law in Romans 3:31 "should we nullify the law (Torah) because of this faith? heaven forbid, we establish the law (Torah). There is a lot more to this but i thought i would leave this with you.