Four Influential Truths
Look at Colossians 2:9-10– all the answers you need for time and eternity are in Christ. Fullness of deity in bodily form. For you soul, your sin. God is the ultimate source of authority and this has been communicated thru the Word. 2 Pet. 1:3; Eph. 1:3 – we have everything we need, full. What we need is to seek to grasp that and live it by faith. Knowing Christ is what we need. Grasp the gospel more and more. Deeper into who Christ is, what He has done, and who we are in Christ. The one who is fully deity has filled you believer. We have been transferred into His kingdom. Know the kingdom and the king. Everything comes back to Christ and His work on our behalf. And our response to that work.
Paul builds on this here and offers us in this text four truths that have the power to greatly influence our lives if we would grasp them. What they show us is that believers will have no interest in listening to the offerings of the false teachers once they realize what they already have in Christ. You are complete believer (v. 10). You have been filled, justified, reconciled, redeemed, ransomed, adopted, forgiven – everything you need is in Christ.
Look with me quickly at these truths. Doing this quickly is hard because there is a sermon in each of these.
A. Your sin nature has been conquered and you have been given a new nature thru the work of Christ (v. 11)
In the OT, circumcision marked off the people of God. And it is clear in Scripture that Paul and others battled whether Gentiles had to be circumcised in order to be a part of God’s people. Paul never wavered that this was false. Paul further debunks this theology by using circumcision here to point to something bigger that now takes place to mark of God’s people, as he did in Romans 2:25-29.
It is the circumcision of the heart, performed by the Spirit, not with human hands, that now marks a person as belonging to the people of God. What Paul points to here is our conversion, it is a new heart that we receive at conversion, salvation. Your old self has been stripped off, done away with. This is a picture of the new covenant that Moses spoke of in Dt. 30:6. Look at it. New heart that causes you to walk in His ways.
Jer. 31 and Eze. 36 point this giving of a new heart thru the Spirit, the New Covenant if you will. You don’t need to experience physical circumcision in order to be a part of God’s family. Christ has completed this for you in giving you a new birth and new nature. The power of sin has been disarmed thru the work of Christ and the giving of a new nature.
2 Cor. 5:17 type stuff. Gal. 5:24. We can put off and deny the flesh thru our new nature and the Spirit working in us. Romans 8 and Gal. 5 stuff. Paul spoke to the work of Christ alone as apart from law and works of human hands in Romans 7:24. Gal. 2:20. We don’t need rules and extra works to accomplish this. In Christ we are complete.
B. Though we were spiritually dead, we have been made alive thru the work of Christ (v. 12-13)
Look at Romans 6:1-11to see this clearly and also see the same response Paul calls for here in Colossians. Alive to Christ. Dead to sin. Baptism is a picture that we are trusting in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ for our salvation. And that Christ’s death should have been ours, but that His resurrection guarantees ours. That our old self is dead and we now live in Christ.
Look at Eph. 2:1-7. We were dead in our sin and God raised us up to new life in Christ.
These first two are very closely related, as seen in the text (see v. 13). God is the one doing the work, not human hands. See the contrast here and the subsequent real power to accomplish the desired results. Why human ways and philosophies are empty and void of power and are no rival for the work God has done thru Christ. See 2 Cor. 4:6. Side note – this phrase “not made with human hands” is huge. For something to be “made with human hands” is almost always pointing to idolatry in the Bible. Lev. 26:1; Is. 2:18; 10:11; Acts 17:24-25 – see the contrast of God and man-made idols? Christ is enough, supreme, sufficient. No idol can do for you what Christ has and is. Rejoice in that. Live in light of that.
C. Our sin debt has been totally canceled by the work of Christ (v. 13-14)
Our sin created a debt that we could not pay, no matter how hard we worked. This debt stood against us, condemning us as sinners, hostile towards us. And yet Christ has taken it out of the way, canceled it, nailing it to the cross.
The word here for canceled is amazing. It literally means “to cause something to cease by obliterating the evidence”. Do you see how complete and final the work of Christ is? Unrivaled. Total forgiveness. All of our sins.
Romans 8:1 is the conclusion. No more hostility between us and God.
Satan lies to us about our sin and guilt and tells us that our guilt can never really totally go away. Or that in order to really receive forgiveness, we need to do this or that to complete our forgiveness. And to this Paul says and Christ says “It is finished”. Completed transaction. Took our sin completely away from us.
Think about Romans 5:9 – “since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him?” In crucifying His own Son, God has provided for the full cancellation of the debt of our sin that we had incurred. Nothing to add. Complete. Christ took upon Himself the penalty that we were under because of our disobedience, and Christ’s death fully satisfied God’s necessary demand for due punishment of disobedience. Nothing to add to this completed work.
D. As a result of the work of Christ, Satan and his forces have been disarmed and rendered defeated (v. 15)
Look at Rev. 12:10-11. Realize today believer that we wrestle with a defeated foe. Satan is a defeated foe. This is the climactic note to which Paul exposes the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ’s work. Don’t give in to them. Remain free in Christ. Completed in Christ. Trust the work of Christ totally.
Why subject yourself to a power that has been subdued? They have been stripped of their real power. They cannot separate you from God thru the work of Christ. God has done this work, not humans and human hands.
In Roman military practices, victory was followed by the public demonstration of the glory of the victor as well as the shame of the defeated. Thus, don’t be fooled by these defeated foes, don’t be deceived, they have been stripped of their real power.
Think about this picture: When our professional teams win championships, they hold a parade. They celebrate. Hold up their trophies, party. Rooted in Roman military practices. Celebrate the fruit of their work. That is a picture of what our lives are to be, contained in this passage. Parades of the spoils of Christ’s victory, of our salvation. Celebrations of what Christ has accomplished. His victory over sin and death. Think about that – your life is to be a victory parade of sorts displaying Christ’s work, gratitude, thanksgiving. You are the spoils of Christ’s victory of sorts. Cancelled debt, freedom,
Romans 6:12-19. That is Paul’s conclusion here too. Present yourself to Christ, live a life worthy of your calling as a child of God, people of God, and live to the glory of your king, not a defeated foe. Real power and freedom is found solely in Christ.
The reality is that few if any of us in here would bow before a statue. But the reality is that many of us, all of us, fall prey to placing our trust and hope in things other than God. That really is the essence of an idol – something we trust in apart from Christ and His work. The reality is that many of us in here hunger more for things, success, security and position than we do for God. We have found an alternative security or hope to our belief in God Himself and His work thru Christ. We have dug our own cisterns as Jeremiah says. But just like in his day, these cisterns do not hold water, they do not provide what they promise.
When we do this, we deny the power and sufficiency and supremacy of Christ’s work not only in our own lives but before a watching world. And this is rooted in not understanding the sufficiency and supremacy of Christ’s work, or not being built up in this, a lack of maturity. Who we are in Christ.
Here is Paul’s point: When we fully grasp the work of Christ and its supremacy and sufficiency, believers can live out their salvation before a watching world because our security and sufficiency rests in Christ alone and His work.
Meditate on the summary of our completeness in Christ we see here in this text: The domination of our flesh has been broken. (2:11) 2. Our former manner of life has ended. (2:12a) 3. We have been raised from spiritual death. (2:12b) 4. We have been given new life. (2:13a) 5. Our transgressions have been forgiven. (2:13b) 6. Our debt to God has been paid. (2:14) 7. Our spiritual enemy has been defeated. (2:15) Walk in that truth. Live in this truth.
God has provided a solution to sin singularly in the work of Christ. Sin is serious, but Christ’s work is sufficient to forgive that sin and reconcile us to God. See that today. Believe that in a fresh new way today. Experience true freedom and power and security thru Christ alone today.