"And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;"

                                                                                - Colossians 2:13-14




The believer’s new position in Christ is that of spiritual circumcision made without hands by which he had put off the body of sin.(Rom:6:6). In the Old Testament, the spiritual significance of circumcision was emphasized as well. On one occasion Moses told the Israelites circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff necked (Deut 10:16). Also in Deut 30:6 Moses said, “The Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”

(Jer 6:10) Spiritual circumcision, therefore, was man’s purity and his separation to God. (Sanctification) Believers are to be pure in life and separated to God, not just separated from the world but separated to God.

This is done by trusting Christ and then recognizing that the old self has been put to death. (Rom 6:6)

When Jesus Christ died, we positionally died with Him to the old nature. Although the old nature is still there because it has not been eradicated, its power over us has been broken so it cannot dominate us. The old nature will appeal to us to do and say all the wrong things, but we do not have to let sin dominate us any longer. Its power over us has been broken because we have died with Christ. We are no longer slaves to the sin nature .(Rom 6: 12)says, let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. When we say no to sin, the Holy Spirit takes over and gives us the power we need to resist. This is a benefit of the new life which we have because we are complete in Christ. He has provided everything we need to live a victorious life.

Paul uses the example of baptism “Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead”  (Col 2:12)

Rom 6:35 says – Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized with Christ Jesus were baptized into death in order that, just as Jesus Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If ,we have been united with him in his resurrection.

In the New Testament the word “baptize” has both a literal and figurative meaning. Literally, it means to “dip” or “immerse”. Figuratively, it means to be “identified with”.

In (I Cor 10:2) as the Israelites crossed the Red sea with Moses, they did not get a drop of water on them because they were walking across on dry ground. They were identified with Moses as their only hope of leading them out of Egypt’s slavery. Everything the Israelites were to receive from God was to come to them through Moses, so they had to be identified with him to benefit from the blessings.

This same principle is true of water baptism. No amount of water can bury a person in Christ or make him alive in Christ. However water baptism is a picture of the believer’s death, burial and resurrection with Christ. It also reveals the work of the Holy Spirit, who places us into the Body of Christ and identifies us with Christ as the Head of the Body. We receive the blessings of God because of our identification with Jesus Christ.. When He was buried, positionally we were buried with Him. When He rose again, positionally we rose with Him in newness of life. All of this is brought about “through your faith in the power of God”. (Col 2:12)

The believer’s identification with Christ in His death broke the power of indwelling sin; identification with Christ in His resurrection resulted in impartation of His divine nature or life. This is what is meant when we say we are crucified with Christ. The sin nature no longer has the power to hold us as slaves. We are to say no to sin and let the indwelling Holy Spirit energize us to do what is right.

Having died with Christ, we are endowed with His resurrection life in victory over sin because He who knew no sin is in the believer to live out His resurrected life. Thus, Paul said, “And you being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened (made alive) together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses”. (Col 2:13)

What more do we need then? Having died to sin, having been buried and raised with Him to new life, we have complete forgiveness and a perfect standing with Him. In addition, we have Christ’s life as our life for victorious living (Rom 6:4 and Gal 2:20) especially summarize these great spiritual truths. Christ is all we need.

Dead to the Law

Paul emphasized our completeness in Christ not only by referring to circumcision and baptism but also the handwriting of ordinances (Col 2:14)

Notice 5 specific statements that Paul made concerning the handwriting of ordinances.

1.  He blotted it out.

2.  It was against us

3.  It was contrary to us

4.  He took it out of the way and

5.  He nailed it to His cross.

1. He blotted it out

          When the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood for sinners, He cancelled the huge debt that was against the sinner because of man’s disobedience to the holy law of God. You see, “the wages of sin is death.” (Rom 6:23) Our sin had placed us under the death penalty – not just of physical death but of spiritual death. All of us owed such a great debt it was impossible for us to pay it. But when Jesus Christ died on the cross, He cancelled the debt that was against us. The written law only revealed how far short we had come of the glory of God, but Christ cancelled this because of our faith in Him.

       But more than this, the Lord Jesus Christ took the law that condemned us and set it aside so that we are no longer under its dominion (Rom 6:14). “For sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace”. This does not mean that we are lawless (I Cor 9:20,21). Even though Paul recognized that he was no longer under the Mosaic law of the Old Testament, he was under the law of God.

         The righteousness of the law which we could not fulfill is being fulfilled in us as we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Rom 8:3 says, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh”. The purpose of this is seen in the next verse.  “That  the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit”. (Rom 8:4)  Christ now indwells us to fulfill the Law in us.

Each believer choosing to experience spiritual victory should heed the words of Gal 5:16-18 – “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”

Since each believer is complete in Christ Jesus, he is enabled to obey the Law out of love, not out of slavish fear as had been true previously. The Law still reveals God’s high standard, which has never changed. We must not forget that there was nothing wrong with the Law itself but only with man’s ability to meet its high demands.

Christ said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets, I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matt 5:17).

But now we are identified with Christ, therefore, we are identified with what He accomplished in fulfilling the Law. This includes our standing in His righteousness and His indwelling life and power, which can enable us to live righteously in our daily experience (Gal 2:20).

Because God hath saved the believer, Paul also instructed, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil 2:12,13). We are to work out in daily living what God has already worked within us. No wonder Paul told believers, “be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might” (Eph 6:10).


2. It was against us.

           This is because it is like a hard taskmaster, commanding us to do what is right but giving us no inclination or power to accomplish what is right. Thus, as a standard it serves only as an accuser and an avenger of those who do not measure up.


3. It was contrary to us

           Why is the Mosaic Law considered to be contrary to us? Because it is impossible for us to satisfy God’s requirements in the power we humanly possess. God’s standard cannot be kept in our own strength. The standards are high because they are God’s standards and are as holy as He is holy. When we see ourselves so far short of being able to keep such high standards, we realize those standards are “contrary to us”.


4. Christ took it out of the way

        God did not change His mind because He saw man could not keep His high standards. He did not lower His standards just because man could not keep them. God’s righteousness had to be satisfied, and He will not lower His standards for anyone. But the good news or the Gospel is that although we could not meet these high standards, Christ gave himself for us on the cross. He took the handwriting of ordinances out of the way by fulfilling the Law and fully paying the penalty of our sin. He paid our full debt.


5. Nailing it to his cross

          Jesus Christ paid our full debt – He nailed it to the cross. This emphasizes that Christ fully met the demands of the Law. Jesus said, He came to fulfill the Law and added, “For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt 5:18). Jesus spoke these words before He went to the cross because, even then, He was fulfilling the Law by His completely righteous life. Then on the cross, He fulfilled the Law for us by taking our full penalty upon Himself. So He took the handwriting that was against us out of the way nailing it to the cross. The Lord Jesus Christ perfectly kept the Law while He lived among men and proved He was the perfect substitute for our sin. He was the only One who could die for the sins of others because He had no sin Himself. Having personally fulfilled the Law Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ then liberated us from the condemnation of the Law by His death in our place. This is why( Rom 8:1) says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Since Christ not only fulfilled the demands of the Law for Himself but also for us. He won a double victory.

Because Jesus Christ has paid our full penalty, we will never be called into question again. Even as criminal who has paid the penalty for a broken law is not punished again, so the Lord Jesus Christ has paid our full penalty, and we will never again come into condemnation.

When Jesus Christ fulfilled the Law by His own righteous life and by dying for our sins, this brought an end to the Age of Law. When Christ died, “the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom”.  (Matt 24:51). This symbolic miracle indicated that everyone now had direct access to God. It was no longer necessary to come through the Jewish nation or by means of the Old Testament Law. Everyone is now able to come boldly into the presence of God by the blood of Jesus Christ (Heb 10:19-22).

The purpose of the Law was never to provide salvation. Paul in his letter to the Galatians made it clear that it was through faith in Jesus Christ we are saved.

Some of the Galatians thought one needed to add the keeping of the Law to faith in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “Wherefore then serveth the Law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator,” (Gal 3:19). The Law was given in order to make sin more easily recognizable and more clearly defined and till the seed should come to whom the promise was made”.

This set a time limit on the Law. It had a definite beginning “it was added”, implies there was a time when it did not exist. And it had a definite end – “till the seed should come”.

At least 2500 years of man’s history elapsed before the Law was given through Moses. Until that time, when men transgressed, there were few specific laws to condemn them. But the Law was added in order that transgression might be recognizable and specific.

But there was also a time limit! The Mosaic Law was never intended to be in effect forever. It was added “till the seed should come”, which is a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ.

(Gal 3:24) “The law has become our trainer unto Christ with Christ’s coming in view”. This indicates the precise time limit.(Gal 3:25) “But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster”. The Law system was not only in effect until the coming of Christ, but it also brings an individual to see his need of placing faith in Christ because the person becomes aware he cannot meet God’s standards in his own strength. But once faith is exercised, the Law has served its purpose and the individual “is no longer under a school master”.                                                                       

            Therefore Paul’s words to the Galatians and all believers were – “ stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage (Gal 5:1). That is, once you are free from the Law system because you have placed your faith in Christ, do not try to be justified by keeping the Law.

            Paul further said, “Christ is become of no effect unto you whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we, through the spirit wait for the hope of righteousness of faith.” (Gal 5:4,5). Thus we see that the words “fallen from grace” apply specifically to those people who are seeking to be justified by the works of the Law rather than by faith in Jesus Christ alone. This is because all that Christ has accomplished is of no effect to the person who is endeavoring (trying) to be justified by the works of the Law. Such a person has simply put himself back under the bondage of the Law system rather than accepting what Christ has done in his behalf. Such a person has nullified the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Paul says in (Gal 5:13), “Ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another”. Paul also urged, “walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Gal 5:16). “If ye be led of the spirit, ye are not under the law”. And (Gal 5:25) reminds us, “If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit”.

What we have been saying about the Law has direct bearing on what is said in       (Rom 8:3,4) “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit. “There is nothing wrong with the Law itself, only with our ability to fulfill it. But Christ fulfilled it for us and now lives in us to work out His perfect life through us. In other words, if we walk in the spirit, we shall fulfill the Law of Christ and not fulfill the sinful things of the world. What wonderful provisions God has made for us so we can stand fast in the liberty Christ made available.


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