Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: In Colossians 2:11-15, the Apostle Paul shows three ways how "God is Big Enough to Conquer our sin". In Christ the debt of sin is fully paid and we have: 1) Complete Salvation(Col. 2:11–12), 2) Complete Forgiveness (Col. 2:13-14), and 3) Complete Victory

If you are ever in debt and can’t pay up, you will know just what trouble you are in because your creditor will pursue you until you do. The collection agents and then the bailiffs may be sent to track you down and extract by any means what you owe until your debt is cleared. For some people, there comes a time when what they owe is no longer manageable and they must declare bankruptcy. The debt is so high that they will never be able to pay, and just get further and further in debt.

Religion is the attempt to pay a debt to God. It is an attempt to perform work that might pay the bill owed. In ancient Colossi, the Colossians were dealing with a religious heresy which was a mixture of pagan philosophy with Jewish legalism. Not surprisingly, the Colossian false teachers, like the Judaizers Paul confronted in Galatia, were teaching that circumcision was necessary for salvation. It was a religious work that would satisfy God.

Our sins are to God like a bad debt. Sin is an offense against God`s holy law. When we break that law, we incur a debt to the law. There is only one person who lived a perfect life that is able to pay. That person is Jesus Christ. He came to earth to be the final priest for His people. He lived a perfect life and He offered Himself for the debt of sin. That debt was the wrath of God. He paid for it with His life. When the father raised Him to life, He showed that the debt was paid in full. People have the choice to either trust in Christ as their representative to pay God`s debt or attempt to pay it themselves, and just get further and further in debt.

In Colossians 2:11-15, the Apostle Paul shows three ways how "God is Big Enough to Conquer our sin". In Christ the debt of sin is fully paid and we have: 1) Complete Salvation (Col. 2:11–12), 2) Complete Forgiveness (Col. 2:13-14), and 3) Complete Victory (Col. 2:15).

Christ we have:

1) Complete Salvation (Col. 2:11–12)

Colossians 2:11-12 [11]In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, [12]having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (ESV)

Every Jewish boy was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth (Lev. 12:2–3). It was the sign that he belonged to the covenant nation (Gen. 17:10–14). Throughout Israel’s history there had been two schools of thought about circumcision. Some held that circumcision alone was enough to save, since it granted membership in the covenant nation. That view was wrong, since “they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” (Rom. 9:6). Membership in the covenant community did not guarantee individual salvation (Rom. 2:25-29).

The second view recognized that circumcision was only the outward demonstration that man was born sinful and needed cleansing. The cutting away of the male foreskin on the reproductive organ was a graphic way to demonstrate that man needed cleansing at the deepest level of his being.

No other part of the human anatomy so demonstrates that depth of sin, inasmuch as that is the part of man that produces life—and all that he produces is sinful. That is the biblical view. From the beginning, circumcision was used symbolically to illustrate the desperate need man had for cleansing of the heart. In Deuteronomy 10:16 Moses commanded the people of Israel, saying “Circumcise then your heart, and stiffen your neck no more.” Deuteronomy 30:6 adds, “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live.” God was always concerned with the heart. Performing the physical rite was an act of obedience that indicated a heart that desires to obey God but the physical rite itself did not please God without the heart obedience.

For Christians, the physical rite of circumcision may be medically beneficial, it is spiritually unnecessary because "In him", in Christ, "we were/have already been circumcised". Paul emphasizes that the Colossians have already been ‘circumcised’ and therefore do not need to undergo the operation again in a physical sense, as would be required if they were to become proselytes to Judaism (Wright, N. T. (1986). Vol. 12: Colossians and Philemon: An introduction and commentary. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (109). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.).

They were "circumcised with a circumcision made without hands. The work of Christ is described as the circumcision of Christ. The work of Christ has so thoroughly exhausted the significance of the original ordinance (as of the whole ceremonial law) that it is henceforth superseded (Bruce, F. F. (1984). The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. The New International Commentary on the New Testament (103). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.).

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