'He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.'

Here we are told how God forgave all our sins, how he cancelled all of the law's accusations against us, how he took it away:

'he nailed it to the cross'.

When criminals were crucified it was the custom to nail to their crosses a written list of the crimes for which they were being crucified. When Jesus was crucified Pilate ordered that 'This is Jesus, the king of the Jews' be nailed above Jesus as the 'charge' against him.

God, however, in his mind, in his purpose, nailed above Jesus a different list: my list of sins, and your list of sins. Jesus died on the cross taking the full and final punishment in his own body, for my list of sins and for your list of sins.

Everything for which God's law can accuse us - every sin we have committed, are committing and will commit with our minds or our hearts or our bodies, and every good thing that we ought to do but fail to do - everything in which we fall short of God's perfect standard: all of this is on our list that God nailed to the cross of his Son.

Jesus Christ died taking the punishment for that list of mine, and for that list of yours.

In this cross of Christ God's justice and God's grace meet: our sins are justly punished; God's just law is upheld; yet we go free - no accusation or condemnation of God's law ever stands against us again. We are, in fact, as far as the legal penalty of the law is concerned, dead. It can never touch those who are united by faith to Christ.

This message of salvation puts a deep peace in the hearts of those who have received Jesus Christ: no more condemnation, no more fear of God's judgement, nor more anxiety or lack of certainty about one's final destiny.

Instead: peace, joy, assurance, confidence, thanksgiving - and an overwhelming sense of love and commitment to this God who has saved us in this amazing and incredible way.

[Scriptures: Colossians 2:14; Matthew 27:37; 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 3:26; 5:6,8,10; 6:2-11; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Galatians 2:19-21; Colossians 2:20; 3:3; 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:1; 8:1; 1 John 4:17-18]


'And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.'

In Colossians 1:13 we read that God 'rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us safe into the kingdom of the Son he loves'. Now we are told that God publicly disarmed and triumphed over 'the powers and authorities' by the cross.

Who or what are these 'powers and authorities'? How does the cross bring about their downfall? And what is the significance of this disempowerment to us?

From Genesis 3 onwards Satan has deceived the human race, enslaving us in his lies about God, and in an inescapable situation of sin, accusation, guilt, condemnation and death.

Jesus Christ, in his living, exposed Satan's lies about God: in Jesus Christ, we see God.

Jesus Christ, in his dying, disarmed Satan and his evil spirits. By taking upon himself the full burden of our sin, guilt and condemnation, Jesus Christ robbed Satan of his right to accuse and condemn, leaving him with no power or authority to ever again separate us from God.

The imagery used in this verse is that of a triumphant victory procession, in which the conquered leaders are marched through their city in utter subjection to the conquering general. The meaning is clear: the death of Christ has totally removed Satan and his regime from power and authority.

The person who truly believes in Jesus Christ has this grand assurance: no accusation, no guilt, no condemnation that Satan tries to impose on us can stand. All just accusations against us, all of our true guilt, all of the rightful condemnation/punishment due to us under the law of God - all of these have been fully met in and by our Saviour Jesus Christ on the cross. They are all defused by his death. They have no power, no authority, to ever again sever us from God and from eternal life.

Let us then live with joy and peace in the knowledge of this present and permanent liberation.

[Scriptures: Colossians 2:15; 1:13; Genesis 3; Galatians 4:3,9; Hebrews 2:15; John 10:30; 12:21; 1 Corinthians 15:55,56; Romans 8:31-39]

© Rosemary Bardsley 2018