The Christ of God Conquering the Sin of Man
Text: Colossians 2:14
Unlike many of Paul’s epistles, the letter to the Colossians was not written to a church he directly established. It was a gentile town, and as such the church was made up of those who came from a pagan background.
As a result, they required theological help, especially with regard to the person and work of Christ. Erroneous teaching quickly began to threaten the church. Like many of the churches, they came under the subtle attack of the Judaizers, but added to that was a gnosticism and mysticism that was polluting their understanding of the gospel.
With such threats, a man by the name of Epaphras in the church sought out Paul for help. And the manner in which Paul addresses the issues is supremely skilful. It is not the job of the Christian to master error. It is the job of the Christian to master truth. Thus, Paul deals with the errors by focussing on the truth.
And like most grave errors, they stem from a wrong view of Christ. If you don’t have time or the interest to read everything about every false religion, don’t worry. Just make sure you have a good understand of the person of Jesus Christ. That will go a long way to equipping you.
And that’s what Paul does. The Gnostics believed the material world was inherently evil, and those who mixed it with Christianity taught therefore that Christ was a created being, because God could not be associated with the material world.
But instead of Paul giving us a booklet on the errors of Gnosticism, he gives us teaching on the person of Christ. 1:12-22. Then he tells them 2:6.
But he did not merely expound the person of Christ, but also the work of Christ. He wanted them to know what His work accomplished on their behalf.
Remember, this is a new church our of paganism, they needed grounded in the fundamentals of the faith: 2:13b. This was necessary to kill false ideas of Judaism. All your sins are forgiven.
But how? v14 gives the answer.
Some of you are not forgiven. You’re still living without fully embracing forgiveness on God’s terms. You need to get this.
I. THE EVIDENCE OF MAN’S SIN – “handwriting of ordinances”
He speaks of a document that is written to condemn sinners.
1. There’s a Document Written That’s Over Us – “ordinances”
i.e. dogma, a formal statement concerning rules or regulations that are to be observed. It refers to a standard of practice, or law that must be followed.
So what has God handwritten that is relevant to you gathered here? We’re told it is against you, what is it? Can you think of what it might be? What dogma is against you? Is it not the law of God?
Just because you ignore the law of God, doesn’t mean to say you’re not under it. You might disregard the government laws, but you’re still under them. And if you think you’re not, just keep breaking them and see what happens. Rom 3:19; Gal 4:4.
2. There’s a Document Written That Condemns Us – “that was against us”
This document is against you. It is not standing in your favour. And there’s no fault in the law. “The law of the LORD is perfect…” Ps 19:7.
The problem is in you. Do you claim guiltlessness? No, and you know you’re guilty. There’s a voice in your mind that rebuffs you in your sin. It’s your conscience. Some of you have seared you conscience, allowing you to go deeper into sin without hearing it’s voice.
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Also: “which was contrary to us”
“contrary” i.e. adverse. It is in opposition to you. It seeks to judge you when you are guilty. It will not bend in sympathy. It cries out for your destruction and damnation. That’s its duty. So is there any hope for you?
II. THE EFFECT OF CHRIST’S WORK – “blotting out…took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross”
Here we see Christ giving Himself to deal with the evidence that is against us. “blotted out” i.e removed, wipe away, obliterate, erase. He has deleted our violations of the law. And those who will ask Him to save them, He promises this very thing.
“took it out of the way” i.e. he removed what is a hindrance between you and God.
“nailing it to his cross” i.e. it wasn’t just Jesus who was nailed to the cross, it was all that He bore. What do I mean? He became the sin bearer. Upon him was our sin imputed, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Cor 5:21.
“But now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Heb 9:26
Sin was not overlooked, it was dealt with by the Son of God. Sin is gone. All the hell that I deserve was poured into a cup.
“Condemning voice, accusing heart, that on the gallows lift me high. At one tremendous draught of love he drank damnation dry.”
Oh sinner, why do you wait? What reason are you looking for? Are you testing God? When if not now? How if not Christ?
All the work done, all the blessings offered. God’s time is the present. Your time is now.