Monday, January 31, 2011

To the Cross Our Trespasses Are Nailed

“And when you were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.”

~Colossians 2:13-15 (NRSV).

We have won a valuable prize, one not worth giving up... that is if we’re saved by the shed blood and broken body of the sinless Jesus; crucified for the sins of humankind!

But we can easily begin to forget these facts in rustle of everyday life. For that we’re to be forgiven but for the reminder that active worship of God is the only method that will protect us from such spiritual amnesia.

Resting in the Pedigree of Christ

The pedigree of Christ is first burial with him—killing off the ‘legal’ power of our transgressions—to be raised to new life “through faith in the power of God, who raised [Jesus] from the dead.” (Colossians 2:12)

The operative word in the passage at top is “when”when he forgave us all our trespasses.

The pedigree of Christ is no proud thing; it detests pride and boasting. Instead it is banishing the lasting stench and stain of reviling legal demands which could never be appeased!

Setting it aside, nailing it to the cross, so that we bear it no more (to paraphrase Horatio Spafford’s, It Is Well With My Soul) God has brought to pass a breeding that only God could achieve—a breeding available to the whole of humankind.

This pedigree is rest. It is peace against torment, rejection, condemnation, retribution, complaint, hypocrisy, genocide, and finally over the power of sin itself.

Vanquishing the Levitical Demands

Not many people apart from Christian Jews will recognise the power of the cross to annihilate the onerous demands of the Levitical code—which of itself seemed idolatrous as we look back now; meaning that the 613 laws explicit of this code—as they were—neither glorified God nor were based in truth. But these laws had a Divine purpose; they foreshadowed what was to come. They were godly order for the Jews. But Jesus’ obedience on the cross saved the Jews from this mode of spiritual degradation; the obedience of what had become myriad superstition.

This is lost on many a non-Jew from the period. Obeying ‘the Law’—from a living viewpoint—had not only become impossible, it was also meaningless from the aspect of grace.

But thankfully it’s not only the Jews who were freed...

For All Have Trespassed – And All Are Forgiven

The message of redemption is a universal message.

Though we are not saved from actively sinning we’re saved from the eternal consequences of that sin. The thankfulness that’s instilled in us because of the abundance of grace shown to us—erasing our records of sin—motivates us to hate our sin enough to cooperate with the power of the Holy Spirit to do something worthy about it.

The sweet irony is cognisance of our sin, and responses of repentance to turn from that sin, bends us forward on a trajectory of pleasing God by faith (Hebrews 11:6).

© 2011 S. J. Wickham.

General Reference: John Phillips, Exploring Colossians & Philemon: An Expository Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2002), pp. 124-28.

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