Colossians 2:11-15, “Nailed to the Cross”
Passage: Colossians 2:11–15
Intro: In this Resurrection Sunday message from Colossians 2:11-15, we unpack one of the most important passages in the New Testament about what Jesus did on the Cross for all those who repent and believe.
Text: Colossians 2:11-15
I. What is wrong with the world? (The Problem)
1. The original intention—God created mankind for His good pleasure and glory so that man might know God and enjoy Him forever.
2. We are dead in our trespasses (v.13)
We have all rebelled against God. Our instinct though is to not think this way because we tend to think of this of rebellion and sin as only acts of violence or obvious malintent like murder, lust,
- We are not naturally good!
3. Consequences of this rebellion
a). We are totally unable to save ourselves. We cannot please God.
- Romans 8:7-8
b). Eternal torment and separation from God forever.
The Bible and Jesus are clear on this issue. There is a real heaven, which is far more glorious than we can imagine, and there is a real hell, which is far more dreadful and everlasting than we can imagine. Jesus describes it in Mark 9:48 briefly as a place “where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.”
The Bible is very clear. There are only two possible eternal destinations for every human being. Heaven or hell. Now, we may have honest questions for God on why this is so, but for us to set aside this clear biblical truth is the absolute height of arrogance. Think about it for a second. If you disregard this major foundation of scriptural teaching—that is the eternal punishment for all those outside of Christ—then you are in your 20, or 40, or 60, or 80 years of wisdom disregarding one of the major tenets of the biblical Christianity that has been agreed upon and not disputed by the Church for 2,000 years. Now, for you, that may not be proof enough. You may consider the biblical doctrine of hell an archaic and outdated religious notion that was useful then but unnecessary now in our age of enlightenment and rationality. But understand the statement you are making, that your wisdom, or Oprah’s wisdom, or popular culture’s wisdom is greater than and negates the wisdom of the ages—biblical wisdom. That’s a bold move.
The modern mind and culture often only wants from Jesus and the Bible the useful, helpful, and immediately pragmatic aspects of His teaching while setting aside the difficult and eternal aspects of his teaching. Do not come to the Jesus and the Bible as on occasional helper and guide. Come to Him as Savior, King of all Creation and Sovereign Lord of your life and nothing less.
What is wrong with the world?—We have rebelled against God through sin and rebellion against his Lordship, and this rebellion brought with it the consequences of spiritual death, the complete inability to save ourselves, and the inevitable and sure reality of judgment and eternal torment and separation from God.
II. What has God done to make things right? (The Solution)
1. He makes us his people. (v.13b)…God made alive together with him…
You may be wondering why Paul brings up this strange connection with our salvation and circumcision at the beginning of this passage.
2. God’s people in the Old Testament.
Abraham and circumcision—Genesis 17:1-14. In this covenant, a small portion of each male’s flesh was cut away and then became a sign or an indicator of whether or not that man was part of God’s community.
3. The new covenant—God’s people in Christ.
The analogy that Paul is drawing is that instead of a small portion of our skin, now Christ was cut or, in a sense, his whole body was “circumcised” on the Cross as a sacrifice for our sins—thereby making us His people.
4. God put Jesus forward as a sacrifice of atonement or propitiation for our sins.
- Romans 3:21-26
- Isaiah 53:4-6
- 2 Corinthians 5:21
5. Why was Jesus’ death necessary?
Why did Christ have to be cut or, as Paul puts it, his body of flesh be put off? Because God is holy and just and, in his holiness demands that he bring justice for all rebellion.
We understand this on the level of human interaction. If someone commits a violent crime against us or a loved one, we realize instinctively that some sort of punishment is required. A cost is absorbed by someone. In his book The Reason for God, Timothy Keller gives us the great example of this.
So, what happened on the Cross is that God the Father, God the Righteous Judge, pours out his wrath and punishment on sin. This is what is being expressed in the biblical term of propitiation.
Now, because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, God’s justice is satisfied for all those that repent and believe and receive through faith what Jesus did on the Cross. (But we are getting ahead of ourselves).
6. Summary—God upholds justice and punishes all sin.
1. For the Christian—all those that repent and believe in Jesus—he punishes Jesus.
2. For those that do not—the punishment remains on them.
- John 3:36
III. How does God save people in Christ? (The Means)
1. Faith (v.12)
- “…in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God.”
2. What is saving faith?
- Not a repeated prayer or a raised hand
- Not just mental agreement with the tenets of Christianity.
- It is an embracing of Jesus as the all supreme treasure. Matthew 13
- It is the decision to put the weight of your life on the truth and person of Jesus.
- It is a staking of your hope in Christ alone.
- It has two-edges—repentance and belief.
3. You may be saying—but what about when you said we could not please God? How can we have faith and repentance when we can do nothing to please God?
4. Augustine: Original sin and the impossibility of salvation.
- Sin has killed us and made us totally unable to save ourselves.
- Yet, God commands the dead sinner to repent.
- He began to see the seeming contradiction in Scripture: You are dead. Believe.
- With man, this is impossible. But with God, all things are possible.
- “Give what you command, and command what you will.”
5. Do you feel the weight and helplessness of that? If so, you are where you need to be.
6. The Bible says that Faith and Repentance are gifts (ASK GOD FOR THEM).
- Ephesians 2:8-10—by grace through faith in Christ
- Romans 2:4
- Acts 11:18
- Mark 4:23
- Luke 8:8
- Hebrews 3:12-15
IV. What are the implications of the Cross and Resurrection? (The Result)
1. We have been forgiven.
2. Our guilt was nailed to the Cross.
3. Romans 8:1; 31-39.