COLOSSIANS-SERIES NR 10 : Five-fold identity
Colossians 2: 13-15
It is hard to express how rich and full these two verses are. It is breathtakingly beautiful. One could almost say that the entire Bible is condensed in these verses. It is a summary of the Good News of the Gospel-message of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul writes in the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 3:16) and carried along by the Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) about the absolute triumph that God worked through Jesus. And this triumph concerns Christ-believers in particular – the redeemed children of the Lord.
We should however take careful note of the WAY he puts it – we must keep our wits about us when we read this.
Something happened to the Christian-believer in that person’s own life-experience during his/her earthly life AND that very same thing also happened 2000 years ago with that same person when Jesus died and rose from the grave. The same things that took place 2000 years ago, happen here-and-now when a person comes to repentance and faith in Christ!
What happens here-and-now when a person comes to repentance and faith? FIVE THINGS:
1 From your conception in the womb until repentance and faith-in-Christ take place, you are spiritually dead in sin and guilt. DEAD.
2 Your sinful nature forms the warp and woof of your daily life.
3 When God brings you spiritually to life in Christ, the power of spiritual death is broken for ever and you come ALIVE.
4 All your sins are forgiven. The Law, which accused you and condemned you to death – because you are a transgressor of the Law – is taken away through the power of Jesus’s death on the cross. Not the Law itself, but the accusations and guilt that the Law generates. The accusations against you are wiped out. Nothing accuses you and condemns you any longer.
5 All spiritual powers and authorities who are at war with you, are disarmed and defeated in Christ’s victory.
These 5 things happen all at the same time to every person who truly repents and comes to faith in Christ. And it is God who does it singlehandedly.
But that is not all.
Concerning this same converted person, 5 things also happened 2000 years ago. The person who is a child of God TODAY, was INCLUDED by God the Father in everything that happened to Jesus (as substitute) 2000 years ago.
The 5 things are as follows:
1 All the time before Jesus died, you were spiritually dead in sin and guilt. DEAD. It is a death which was destroyed with Jesus’s death.
2 All the time before Jesus died, your sinful nature formed the warp and woof of your life.
3 When Jesus was resurrected from the dead and the grave, God brought you spiritually to life in Christ. Brought to life TOGETHER WITH Him (that is included with Him). The power of spiritual death was broken for ever in Jesus’s death and resurrection and that was the time you received life!
4 When Jesus died on the cross ALL your sins were forgiven you. The Law, which accused you and condemned you to death – because you are a trespasser of the Law – was taken away by Jesus’s death on the cross. The accusations against you were wiped away 2000 years ago. Nothing accuses you and condemns you any longer.
5 All spiritual powers and authorities that wage war against you, were disarmed and destroyed in Christ’s victory. When Jesus died and rose from the grave, all these powers WERE disarmed. Jesus’s death and resurrection disarmed and destroyed them.
Not of all people, but only of those who become Christian-believers IN THIS LIFE is it true that they were included with Christ 2000 years ago already – through the choice and work of God alone.
What happens in these people’s earthly life, is the following:
That which happened 2000 years ago already, takes hold in their lives here-and-now! And it happens when they hear the Gospel-message and the Holy Spirit irresistibly works in their hearts and they realise their lost condition before God and cast themselves upon Christ in faith-trust. That is how what happened 2000 years ago, takes hold in my life-experience of today!
The important truth for every Christian-believer to see, is firstly that these 5 realities are true of him/her, but particularly that it is anchored in the work which God did 2000 years ago. It is not possible for the Christian to uproot himself from these realities or to loose it somewhere along the way.
In closing we focus a bit closer upon some of the essential elements.
1 Every human being is by nature inseparably tied in the sphere of sin, world (Eph 2:12), flesh (Rom 8:8) (fallen sinful nature) and satan (1 John 5:19). It is absolutely impossible for man to be released from this and to become spiritually alive. It is an absolute state of death that man cannot escape in any way. The impartation of Life has to come exclusively from God.
2 Only through unity with Jesus Christ can man obtain spiritual life. It is God’s work that unites and includes the fallen dead person with Christ.
3 Forgiveness of sin is complete and sufficient. Paul is emphatic: The guilt of sin was nailed to the cross and in THAT way it was totally destroyed. It is figure of speech he is using. We should not imagine some or other document that was literally nailed to the cross. It was Christ who was nailed to the cross. But, Jesus “became sin for us” (2 Cor 5:21). Together with His death on the cross was included the charge-sheet with the millions of charges against us. It is actually the law that condemns. Not because the law is bad, but because it is WE who are bad and are unable to keep the law. Mankind owes God a debt beyond price as a consequence of breaking the Law (Gal 3:10; James 2:10; Matt 18:23-27) and is under sentence of death (Rom 6:23).
In the days of the Roman empire, thousands of criminals were crucified and their offences were recorded and nailed to the cross together with the condemned person. It was symbolic of: “These transgressions are now punished”.
Paul is thinking about this practice and says: “THIS is the way that the millions of sins of the Lord’s people have been punished in the death of Christ – once and for all!”
Lastly, the death of Jesus achieved something more:
Satan with his fallen angels have been doomed and condemned and disarmed for ever. Because remember WITH WHAT WEAPON the devil torments God’s children: with the law! With judgment and accusations (Rom 8). The law is the power of sin (1 Cor 15:56) because we cannot obey it perfectly and the devil uses it to accuse us and keep us captive.
But the good news is: The cross of Jesus – because our charge-sheet was nailed and dealt with there – IS the victory over satan’s weapon and methods.
In the ancient world, the Roman generals, who conquered new cities and towns, paraded the defeated enemy’s leaders through the streets for all to see: This is what the defeated enemy looks like. A public spectacle therefore.
That is the type of spectacle that Christ made of the enemy. Therefore, no Christian has to side with the enemy any longer.
The profound truths of verses 13-15 are truths that we must make our own and believe God for. But – of course we should first get an understanding of it for ourselves. That is why I would encourage you to print this sermon and study it by making notes, to enable you to digest it properly.
Translated by Marthie Wilson