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God’s Word for You

Colossians 2:14 nailing it to the cross

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, April 20, 2019

Paul ended verse 13 with the words, “He forgave us all our sins.” Verse 14 is not a new thought, but a continuation of the previous one.

14 he wiped out the record of our debt with its regulations which stood against us, which was hostile to us. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

There is no reason to debate whether the forgiveness came before the wiping of our record or not. The two actions are companions. A teacher writes a student’s name on the board because of misbehavior, and later in the day for whatever reason the teacher wipes the student’s name off the board. The forgiveness and the wiping of the record are either successive or synonymous, but they are both completed actions. The wiping of the record cannot happen without the forgiveness, and the forgiveness cannot stand with the record intact. If one has been done, then both have been done. Therefore, if Christ has declared you to be forgiven, you have nothing to fear of the record he will hold in his hand on Judgment Day. That record of sins (Hosea 13:12) is contained in the books to be opened on the Last Day (Daniel 7:10; Revelation 20:12), but we who have faith in the Christ have our names written in the book of life (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 21:27).

The old record of sins is technically a “bond,” a document with charges which is held until a case can be tried in court or paid back directly in the case of a personal debt (Philemon 19). In the case of our sins, this was the Law of Moses. There is no escaping this law, either by ignorance or by race. Paul said, “When Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts” (Romans 2:14-15). Unlike the law of the Persians which was posted “in every province and made known to the people of every nationality” (Esther 3:14), the law of God is simply written into our hearts and onto our consciences, so that we will feel guilty when we have broken it. This is the function of the conscience, about which Paul also says: “Their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them” (Romans 2:15).

All of this law that condemned us was wiped away as God forgave us. When? The when is proclaimed along with the what: “nailing it to the cross.” When Jesus was crucified, our debt of sin and guilt was done away with forever.

How can this be so? Remember that when Christ took on our humanity, he put himself under the law (“born of a woman, born under law” Galatians 4:4). He kept the whole law without sinning, “to redeem those under law” (Galatians 4:5). So when he was crucified as the sacrifice for our sins (1 John 2:2, 4:10), the debt of our sins was canceled, wiped away, as God forgave us for Christ’s sake.

When we grieve over our sins, when we are crushed by them, the Holy Spirit drives us back into the gospel through preaching or through the Lord’s Supper or through our daily Bible reading. He shines a light on the gospel of our forgiveness so that we will cheer up and know that we are loved by God. Everyone knows his anger. “Who can withstand his indignation? Who can endure his fierce anger?” (Nahum 1:6). But for everyone who has been washed in baptism, for everyone with faith in Christ, “The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him” (Nahum 1:7).

  We are saved only through the Holy Scriptures
  by the grace of God
  through faith in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.



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