Cancelled – Colossians 2:13-14 08/02/20

Cancelled – Colossians 2:13-14 08/02/20

This week continue where we left off last week, please take a moment to read through Colossians 2:13-14, you might want to go back and review Colossians 2:11012 as well. Last week we found that we Christians are described as having died with Christ, we were buried with Him, and we were then raised with Him.[1] Throughout that discussion we discovered that, to understand Christianity, we must come to terms of our being “in Him.” The emphasis is on our union with Christ.[2]

That is the key that makes salvation possible. We are “in Him” in both His death and His resurrection life. Whatever our circumstances, the Christian is best described as being “in Him.”

The text now turns to the harsh reality that, prior to coming to Jesus, we were dead to God.[3] That was a reflection of life separated from Jesus Christ, the source and sustainer of life.[4] Or, to put it another way, this is a reflection of a life “not in Him.” Paul moves from what we receive “in Him” to what God has done to make that reception possible.[5] The wonder of this reality should make us sit up and take notice.[6]

The text opens with “You” (ὑμᾶς),[7] this refers to the Gentile believers Paul is addressing in this letter.[8] As a matter of practical application, the letter to the Colossians was written to the Colossians, a people living in present day Turkey roughly 2000 years ago. It was written to them, but it was preserved for us. That means discernment is required. In some cases there will be direct transfer from then and there to here and now. In other cases, we need to look for universal principles.

This is a universal principle: prior to coming to Christ we were both spiritually and morally dead.[9] Paul uses the expression “the uncircumcision of your flesh” to reference the uneradicated, sensuous, and sinful nature that marks the lives of the unconverted.[10] They, and we, were dead in our sins for two reasons, first for the sins themselves. Every one of us are guilty of violating God’s law. But there’s a second problem that feeds into the first, all of us are corrupted in our nature, and it is this that made those sins possible.[11]

We need to understand that, but we shouldn’t stop with our attention focused on sin and unregenerate natures. Having been united to Christ, we who follow Jesus are now made alive.[12] We share in the new life of Jesus Christ Himself.[13] The result is that all of our “trespasses” (παραπτώματα)[14] are “forgiven” (χαρισάμενος)[15].

Trespasses describes the acts through which we violate God’s commands.[16] It refers to a lapse or deviation from the standard of righteousness, and can therefore be used as a synonym for a sin or misdeed.[17] However, as opposed to simple “sin” (ἁμαρτία), “transgression” (παραπτώματα) emphasizes deliberate acts of disobedience.[18]

The message of the Gospel never ends with bad news. There is bad news, but there is also very good news. In contrast to our moral failure, God forgives us. This word “forgiven” (χαρισάμενος)[19] means to show one’s self to be gracious, kind, or benevolent. From this then develops the idea of graciously granting forgiveness.[20] It is primarily the act of releasing the offending party from judgment and choosing not to hold them answerable to ourselves.[21] This is exactly what God does when He forgives.

Our world offers all kinds of gimmicks, even within the Church we find the idea that, if you’ll just read the right books, or practice the right practices, we’ll be able to live the Christian life.[22] The problem is, we cannot do it. And… we were never intended to. Our passage today tells us we have been joined to Jesus Christ, and it is His life that is now present within us.[23] Our old lives, the life of the flesh, that’s supposed to be gone. When Christ died He took our old selves into the grave, yet how many of us live as if we really believe that?[24]

There is an awkward transition as Paul spoke to “you” (ὑμᾶς) and all of a sudden transitioned to “us” (ἡμῖν).[25] The point he’s making is that this need is universal, it wasn’t only the Gentiles of Colossi that needed a Savior, all of humanity needed, and still needs, that Savior.[26]

Here we have a description in verse 14 as Paul addresses the circumstance around our salvations.[27] In the Jewish community the relationship between God and humanity was often described as between the Creditor and the debtor.[28] The “handwriting” (χειρόγραφον)[29] references the record of our actions that stand against us. Literally, the handwriting is a certificate of indebtedness was written by the debtor acknowledging they owed the debt.[30] Underlining all of this is the painful reality that we, individually, have incurred a debt we are incapable of paying off.[31] That debt was recorded, even as our transgressions continue to accumulate.[32]

That brings us to the amazing wonder of the Gospel. In love, Jesus took the signed indictment against us and cancelled it by meeting its legal requirements.[33] He expunged the records that were held against us.[34] The record of our sins is simply gone, they have been “wiped out” (ἐξαλείψας)[35]. The list of our transgressions simply no longer stands against us.[36]

Our passage goes on to say that the record against us was nailed to the cross, left to die there, helpless to bring witness against us any longer.[37] But on what basis was this accomplished? When God looked upon the cross, He didn’t see a Roman instrument of execution, He saw an altar on which the Lamb of God died.[38] The wonder of it all is this: in death… He won.

The great principle of this passage is that the record of our sin, the record of our failure to meet God’s standard, has been irrevocably eliminated.[39] That was accomplished by the cross of Jesus Christ.[40] Now, for the sake of Christ Jesus the Lord, God has forgiven all our sin.[41]

If you have experienced this miracle, then there is only one reasonable response. It is to stand in awe of what Jesus Christ has done. It is to walk in His presences as servant and prophet and herald. My challenge to you today is to spend some time thinking about all that God has done, and then thank Him. He deserves that.

[1] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary: Volume 44, gen. eds., David Hubbard and Glenn barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, (Word Books, Waco, TX.: 1982), 121. [2] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 200. [3] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary: Volume 44, gen. eds., David Hubbard and Glenn barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, (Word Books, Waco, TX.: 1982), 121. [4] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary: Volume 44, gen. eds., David Hubbard and Glenn barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, (Word Books, Waco, TX.: 1982), 121. [5] Eduard Lohse, Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary on the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon, Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, ed., Helmut Koester, Trans., William Poehlmann and Robert Karris, (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA.: 1971), 106. [6] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary: Volume 44, gen. eds., David Hubbard and Glenn barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, (Word Books, Waco, TX.: 1982), 121. [7]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:13. [8] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagar, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 163. [9] F.F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, gen. eds., Ned Stonehouse, F.F. Bruce, and Gordon Fee, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1984), 108. [10] John Peter Lange et al., A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Colossians (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 46. [11] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 201. [12] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 201. [13] F.F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, gen. eds., Ned Stonehouse, F.F. Bruce, and Gordon Fee, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1984), 108. [14]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:13. [15]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:13. [16] Eduard Lohse, Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary on the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon, Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, ed., Helmut Koester, Trans., William Poehlmann and Robert Karris, (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA.: 1971), 107. [17] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995). [18] Peter O’Brien, Colossians, Philemon, Word Biblical Commentary: Volume 44, gen. eds., David Hubbard and Glenn barker, NT ed., Ralph Martin, (Word Books, Waco, TX.: 1982), 122. [19]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:13. [20] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995). [21] Walter A. Elwell and Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale Reference Library (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 496. [22] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 351. [23] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 351. [24] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 351. [25] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagar, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 164. [26] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagar, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 164. [27] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 201. [28] Eduard Lohse, Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary on the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon, Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, ed., Helmut Koester, Trans., William Poehlmann and Robert Karris, (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA.: 1971), 108. [29]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:14. [30] Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 263. [31] Eduard Lohse, Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary on the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon, Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, ed., Helmut Koester, Trans., William Poehlmann and Robert Karris, (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA.: 1971), 108. [32] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagar, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 164-165. [33] F.F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians, The New International Commentary on the New Testament, gen. eds., Ned Stonehouse, F.F. Bruce, and Gordon Fee, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1984), 109. [34] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagar, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 165. [35]Kurt Aland et al., The Greek New Testament, Fourth Revised Edition (Interlinear with Morphology) (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1993), Col 2:14. [36] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 201. [37] James Dunn, The Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon: A Commentary on the Greek Text, The New International Greek Testament Commentary, eds., I. Howard Marshall, W. Ward Gasque, and Donald Hagar, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1996), 166. [38] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume V, 1 Corinthians – Revelation, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1983), 351. [39] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 202. [40] Curtis Vaughan, Colossians, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Volume 11, Ephesians – Philemon, gen. ed., Frank Gaebelein, assoc. ed., J.D. Douglas, NT eds., James Boice and Merrill Tenney, manuscript ed., Gerard Terpstra, (Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1978), 202. [41] Eduard Lohse, Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary on the Epistles to the Colossians and Philemon, Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, ed., Helmut Koester, Trans., William Poehlmann and Robert Karris, (Fortress Press, Philadelphia, PA.: 1971), 111.

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