Grace For The Journey
In yesterday’s blog we looked at the first blessing of the Christian’s eternal fellowship with Christ. What is the next blessing for us to consider?
It is the blessing of cancelled debt.
Nearly everyone understands what it means to be in debt. We owe money to a lender; maybe a financial institution granting a home mortgage, or we are making monthly car payments, paying off a personal loan, or paying off credit card debt. Debt can be overwhelming.
Wouldn’t it be great if someone came
Along and just “deleted” all that debt?
You’d better believe it would!
Applied spiritually, every person without Jesus is in debt, spiritual debt. And through the power of the gospel our debt may be cancelled – removed, erased, forgiven, deleted!
We read about that very truth as we continue our study of the second chapter of Colossians in verse 13, “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses.” We once were “dead in trespasses.” This is similar to what Paul said in his letter to the Ephesians: “You were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
Before salvation, every Christian was spiritually dead; dead in trespasses “and the uncircumcision of our flesh…” There’s that phrase again. If you’re a Christian, remember from yesterday’s study that Paul is using a metaphor here to illustrate the “cutting away” of the “old you.” We all needed God to perform spiritual surgery upon us. Through the gospel, He has cut away the old us, making us into a new creation (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17).
So if you have, in fact, placed your faith in Christ, placing your “faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Colossians 2:12), then God has made you “alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:13). Note the tiny little adjective there just before the word “trespasses.” What is it? It is the word “all.” How many trespasses does God forgive? All. Not some, not a few, not even a bunch, but all.
2) We have Eternal Forgiveness through Christ.
All of your sin is forgiven, all sin reaching back and all sin reaching forward into eternity. From the standpoint of the cross, all sin is forgiven through Christ. Now . . .
You have to be connected to Christ
I order to experience eternal forgiveness of sin.
You have to be “together with Him” (verse 13).
It does not come any other way.
Does forgiveness come by virtue of your performance. No. ❌
Does forgiveness come by your trying to live a good life. No. ❌
Forgiveness comes only by your “faith in the working of God, who raised Christ from the dead (verse 12).” Yes! ✅
But … There is more here! Look at how Paul describes the comprehensive nature of God’s forgiveness in verse 14. What else does God do through the power of the gospel? Verse 14 says, “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Before we came to faith in Christ, it is very likely that many of us were trying to live a life we believed would please God and bring peace between ourselves and God, thus earning entrance into heaven.
- Maybe someone taught us to obey the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do not you” (Matthew 7:12). Maybe they told us that this was the way we gained eternal favor with God.
- Maybe we believed that if we tried to live a “good life” that we would please God and no longer feel guilty.
- Maybe someone suggested we keep the 10 Commandments, or follow Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. So we reasoned:
“Well, I’ll give it my best shot. I’m not as bad as others. Surely God will know that I am trying.”
The problem with this kind of thinking
Is that our trying to be good
Does not save our soul
From the penalty and power of sin.
We are not saved by what we do.
If we could be saved by what we do,
Or by trying our very best,
There would be no need
For God to come to us,
No need for Christ to have lived a perfect life
And die a substitutionary death for us.
Peace with God requires the perfect keeping of His law. Because heaven is a place of perfection – a place where there is no more sin – the only way to gain entrance into heaven is to keep all of God’s requirements perfectly. We can’t do that. We may try, but we will fail. We are sinners.
Apart from faith in Christ, God looks at all of our best efforts and, in essence says: “You have failed there, and you have failed there, and you did this, and you did that.” It is as if there is a record of debt, the “writing out” of all the requirements of God that we tried to keep, but failed. And these requirements are against us.
The phrase used in verse 14, “the handwriting of requirements” is the record of our debt and thus the record of our guilt. We owe God a perfect life, but we have failed because we are imperfect. So . . . we have this record of debt, a written record of everything against us. This record of debt hangs above our heads much like the record of guilt that was hung above the head of a criminal who was being crucified in Roman times.
When the Romans crucified a man, they placed above his head a record of the crimes he had committed, the offenses that were “against him,” offenses for which he had been found guilty. When Jesus was crucified, for example, you will remember that they hung a sign over His head that read about His having said He was King of the Jews (John 19:19). This was the crime that was against Him, the crime for which He had been condemned to die.
Of course, we know from a grander perspective, Jesus died not so much for His being King of the Jews, but for His willingness to take our penalty upon Himself. Jesus died willingly as a sacrifice for our sins. He died so that we could live. His death was a substitutionary death, a death for us, a death we should have died as punishment for our sin. He took our punishment upon Himself.
What this means is that, in a very real sense . . .
Jesus takes the accusation that
Rightly hangs over our heads
And He places it over His head
On the cross. And Jesus dies there,
Not for His sin, but for ours.
Dying as our substitute, Christ took upon Himself that which was ours – sin – and gave to us that which was His – righteousness. Jesus lived a perfect life of righteousness, perfectly keeping the Golden Rule, perfectly keeping the 10 Commandments, perfectly keeping the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus did all of this for you. By trusting Him as Lord and Savior, you receive credit for what He did and He cancels out the debt that you owed.
There’s one more blessing of our union with Christ, but we will look at it for in tomorrow’s blog!
This is God’s Word …
This is Grace for your Journey …
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”