McKee Road Baptist – May 6, 2020 Wednesday Evening – Pastor Don Thomason
Colossians 2:13-15 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your
flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14)
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; (15) And having spoiled principalities
and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
In 2:8 Paul warned the Colossians believers about the dangers of false teaching. He
tells them to, “Beware.” It is a command for a constant circumspect watchfulness,
because of the dangers of the Colossian heresy.
Now notice how he prepares them to be able to deal with the false teaching. He does
not say, “Here’s what they are teaching.” What he does is he tells them who Christ is,
and who they are in Christ.
Colossians 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (10) And
ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
We do not need to study error in order to avoid it, we simply need to know the
truth. If we know the truth, we’ll be able to spot error when we hear it.
He is saying that Jesus Christ is God in a bodily form. He is the God-Man. And believers
are complete in Him. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you are in Christ. And
because you are in Christ, and because He is complete, you have been made
complete. Because Christ is who He is, we have been made complete in Him. His
fullness is imparted to us. As all the fullness of the eternal God is Christ’s, all the
fullness of Christ is yours and mine.
Paul then explains how this happened to them. In these next statements he tells how
believers share in the fullness of God in Christ. Paul declares, they were circumcised
& baptized with Him:
Colossians 2:11-12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made
without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of
Christ: (12) 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.
Paul says believers have been given a circumcision, not of the flesh by the hands of
men, but with the circumcision done by Christ. By this spiritual circumcision, the old
sinful nature (flesh) has been cut away or put off. He is speaking of our death to sin and
union with Christ. Your sinful nature has been killed, crucified with Christ on the cross.
You have been crucified with Christ and your old sinful nature has been washed away.
Paul does not mention “water baptism” in this verse! This verse has NOTHING to do
with water baptism, it speaks of identification. Water baptism is no more in view in 2:12
than physical circumcision was in 2:11. Both verses speak of spiritual realities. We must
not confuse rituals with realities.
Now to our text.
Forgiven You All Trespasses
Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
Notice Paul says, “And you being, dead in your sins”. He says the same thing in:
Ephesians 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
Ephesians 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with
Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
There are two questions that we need to answer here. How did the Colossians get
dead? And what does he mean by dead?
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
“Wherefore, as….” “as” is a comparison, but verse 12 does not complete the
comparison, there is no “even so.” Verse 12 gives us half of the comparison, Adam.
Verses 13-17 are set off by parentheses for clarification. Verses 18b and 19 complete
the comparison started in verse 12.
One man did one thing resulting in sin and death; the other man did something else,
resulting in justification and life. “As” the one act of Adam affected every member of the
human race, “even so” the one act of Jesus Christ affects every member of the new
Notice the Results of Adam’s sin, “sin entered into the world”. The Greek word for “sin”
is hamartia, it means: “to miss the mark.” The mark is what God commands of us to do
or not do.
1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the
transgression of the law.
Sin is disobeying God. It is violating his Holy law. God is the Creator and law giver, and
any violation of his moral will is sin.
Adam introduced sin into the human realm. Sin is violating the commands of God.
When Adam sinned, “sin entered into the world.” Adam did not bring sin into the world
by setting a bad example. Adam’s sin brought about a change of unholiness within the
heart, which he passed on to his descendants. Men became sinners, as Paul said in:
Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the
obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
This corruption of man’s nature is what is called in theology “Original Sin.” It’s not that you sin, and that’s what makes you a sinner. You’re a sinner, you were born that way, and that is why you sin. Every human being born is born with original sin. Paul tell us that death came as a result of sin, “and death by sin.” As a result of Adam’s sin, he died.
Genesis 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it:
for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
Adam did not die physically that day, but he did die spiritually. He died spiritually the
moment he disobeyed. Spiritual death is separation from God who is life. The text in
Genesis is dealing with “spiritual” death, so is the text in Romans 5, and so is our text in
The comparison in this passage is between Adam and Christ. What we lost in Adam is
restored in Jesus Christ. If the death referred to is physical, then having gained in Christ
what we lost in Adam, Christians should never die physically.
Because of Adam’s sin, we are all born dead, separated from God. But through Jesus
Christ we receive eternal life. We see this same comparison in:
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord.
The life that is a gift is spiritual life, so the death must also be spiritual.
The death referred to here and in our text in Colossians is spiritual death, which is
separation from God. If a man dies physically while in a state of spiritual death, he will
spend eternity in the lake of fire, which the Bible calls the “second death”.
Paul goes on in Romans 5:12 to say, “and so death passed upon all men.” Spiritual
death spread to all men. Every human being born is born separated from God, dead in
Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin;
and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
All men are born spiritually dead, “for that all have sinned.” We are all born spiritually
dead. Why? Did we personally sin before we were born? No! We sinned in Adam. He
represented us, and what he did, we did.
Paul says all men were dead in sin, “and the uncircumcision of your flesh”. Our nature
was “uncircumcised,” that is, separated from God. This describes our state of being
before we came to know Christ. We were dead in our state to God. We were without
any spiritual life at all.
The Bible teaches that dead men cannot receive the things of God:
1 Corinthians 2:14-15 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God:
for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are
spiritually discerned. (15) But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is
judged of no man.
The word “natural” describes the person without the Spirit. Jude uses this same word in
verse 19. The “natural” or “sensual” person is the person without the Spirit. This is the
unregenerate man who has no ability to understand spiritual things. Natural man is dead
and totally unreceptive to the gospel.
The bottom line is this: our hope does not lie in our own will. If not for the grace of God
we would all suffer condemnation.
Paul continues in Colossians 2:13 to say, “And you, being dead in your sins and the
uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with Him…” The word
“quickened” means “to make alive” and “with”. Paul again emphasizes the believer’s
union with Christ (see 2:10, “in Him”; 2:11, “in Christ”; 2:12, “with Him”). Those who
were hopelessly dead in sin received new life through that union. Please get this, we
were dead, and God gave us life. Why did God give us life? It’s a one-word answer;
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye save through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Notice what else God does, “…having forgiven you all trespasses…”. The word
“forgiven” means: “forgiveness as the result of grace or an act of love.” It means to
bestow a favor unconditionally. The favor bestowed unconditionally here is the
remission of debt against God.
Not just the past sins, not just the present sins, not just the big sins, not just the little
sins, but ALL of them. It means those times in your past that plague you with guilt, He
forgave those sins. And those times when you let others down and hurt them, He
forgave those sins too. And all those times you promised you did something for the last
time, and then you fell again; God forgave those in Christ too. He forgives the hidden
sins and the public sins.
God’s forgiveness is a prominent theme in the New Testament. Our Lord told His
disciples at the Last Supper:
Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for
the remission of sins.
Peter told those assembled in Cornelius’s house that:
Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever
believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
In Acts 13 Paul said:
Acts 13:38-39 Be it know unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man
is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: (39) And by him all that believe are
justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
To the Ephesians, Paul wrote:
Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,
according to the riches of his grace;
Our debts were paid in full by Jesus Christ. The believer’s debt has been paid in full,
there is no possibility of going into debt again. Jesus paid the debt of all our sins:
past, present, and future. This is GRACE!
Paul now illustrates God’s forgiveness.
Colossians 2:14 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.
The word “handwriting” literally means: “something written with the hand,” or “an
autograph.” Paul describes this as “ordinances that was against us.” The word
“ordinances” means: “decree, ordinance, decision, command, a formalized rule (or set
of rules) prescribing what people must do.” This refers to the Mosaic law as an
ordinance of requirements that puts us in debt to God.
Ephesians 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of
commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man,
so making peace.
All peoples (including Gentiles, read Romans 2:14-15) owe God a debt, because they
have violated His law. The certificate was “contrary to us,” that is, it was enough to
condemn us to judgment and wrath, because:
Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is
written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written, in the
book of the law to do them.
The written code stood as a constant reminder to the Israelite that there was a debt
which needed to be paid that the people of God might stand perfect before God.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every on that
“Blotting out” means: “to wipe off,” like erasing a blackboard. History lesson: Ancient
documents were commonly written either on papyrus, a paper-like material made from
the bulrush plant, or vellum, which was made from an animal’s hide. The ink used then
had no acid in it and did not soak into the writing material. Since the ink remained on the
surface, it could be wiped off if the scribe wanted to reuse the material.
In Christ, under the New Covenant, we have been set free from the condemnation of
the Law. Our text says, “and took it out of the way, having nailed it to his cross.” The
word “took” means: “to lift up, to bear, to take away.” The word is used by John the
Baptist when he said of Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of
the world.” His statement emphasizes the permanence of the removal of our sin, which
has been paid and canceled and cannot be presented again.
Paul was telling the Colossians that fleshly circumcision has now been canceled and
nailed to the cross.
Colossians 2:15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of
them openly, triumphing over them in it.
The word “spoiled” means: “to disarm” observing that it’s a compound word from the
verb “to arm oneself” and a prefix denoting that what’s conveyed is the opposite. He disarmed “principalities and powers” this speaks of those spiritual forces which have
set themselves as opposed to God.
Our text says, “He made a show of them openly” The picture Paul is painting here is
one of Roman conquest. Those he was writing to were familiar with this image. History
lesson: When the Roman army would return from a victorious campaign, they would
enter the city in a triumphal procession.
Into the city they would parade, displaying the treasures of their conquered foe. Those who had been captured in battle and who would become slaves would march in chains before the cheering crowd. The dignitaries that had been captured would-be put-on display.
The Roman army itself would parade down the street. And the triumphant Roman general would ride in on his chariot to the adulation of the crowd. The defeated foe would-be put-on display. They would be made a public spectacle. This is the image Paul uses here for Christ’s victory over the powers of darkness.
Paul goes on to say, “triumphing over them in it.” The words “triumphing over” mean to
lead prisoners of war in a victory procession. The picture is of a military procession
leading captives of war. It means to demonstrate one’s successful conquest of the
Colossians 2:15 And having spoiled principals and powers, he made a show of them
openly, triumphing over them in it.
This passage is explaining that we were all dead in our sins, and Christ has given us life
in union with Himself. We share Christ’s life. Not only that but He has forgiven us all our
He removed the Old Covenant that was contrary to us. And He disarmed principalities and powers. This is true of every believer no matter how they feel or live. When you truly understand these truths, the natural response will be one of gratitude.
If we understand what has been given to us, we will be grateful to God for the rest of our
lives. No matter what life brings, we will not complain, we will only give thanks that we
did not get what we deserved. We will be grateful that we have God’s strength, power
and provision in our lives. Praise God!