When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:13-14 (NIV)
Read: Colossians 2:1-15
Consider: In Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae he encourages them to continue steadfast in their faith and warns them against error (false teaching).
Paul’s language is emotive and speaks powerfully of the unregenerate state the believers were in prior to accepting Christ. Paul’s words echo across the centuries and apply as much to us today as they did to the believers in the early church.
Look with me at what Paul is saying. Firstly, he is saying that our deadness in sin and uncircumcision go together. Of course Paul is not referring to the Jewish practice of physical circumcision, but the spiritual circumcision of the heart that takes place when a person is converted. In verse 11 it says: ‘In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ’.
Having spoken of our deadness in sin, Paul moves on to say that we are alive with Christ. This equates to the newness of life mentioned elsewhere in Scripture. This newness of life is as a result of the fact that when we accept Christ, God ‘forgave us all our sins’. Isn’t it wonderful that ‘all our sins’ means all, not just one or two, and includes even those sins for which we might find it difficult to forgive ourselves.
Where once our sin meant that we were condemned, now our ‘legal indebtedness’ is cancelled. I have heard it said that this compares to the words ‘Paid in full’ being written on an IOU. We cannot deny that our sin deserved condemnation, yet as a result of Christ’s death (he nailed our sins to the cross) the debt has been cancelled.
This is how Paul describes it in Romans 8:
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1-4).
Therefore, rejoice in your forgiveness!
Pray: Father, thank you that in Christ we have been forgiven and that our debt has been cancelled and paid in full. May we rejoice that we are no longer condemned, but forgiven. Amen