Lesson 26: "You. . .Hath He Quickened. . .Having Forgiven You All Trespasses" (Colossians 2:13)
This is lesson #26. O.K. here we go again. We read in our last lesson v.9-17 (Col. ch. 2). Paul re-stated the gospel. That same "truth of the gospel" they had been taught earlier by Epaphras (1:5). When we are buried in Baptism "with him" (v.12), i.e. buried with Christ in baptism ye are risen HOW? "With Him!" "Wherein also ye are risen WITH HIM (v.12)" It is in baptism, therefore (baptism for the remission of sins. Acts 2:38) we are "risen with Him." You are COMPLETE in Him (v.10), if you have undergone that circumcision operation made without hand (v.11), which is defined as baptism (v.12), baptism for the remission of sins, "putting off the body of the sins of the flesh." (v.11).
Now, tune in v.13! What really happens when we believe in Jesus Christ as God's son? (i.e. "faith," it's right in the middle of v.12). What happens when we repent, i.e. change our mind and decide to turn from the world and turn to Christ. What really happens? What happens when we confess Jesus (Matt. 10:32), just like the eunuch did (Acts 8:37) and then what happens when we obey the gospel in baptism, i.e. that re-enactment of the gospel, the death burial and resurrection of Jesus in a watery grave, i.e. we are BURIED with him (v.12), WITH CHRIST, in what? In baptism. It is at this point our sins are forgiven. It is at this point, God performs that circumcision without hands operation. It is at this point we are adopted as a child of God and thus are "in Christ." We are complete in him (v.10). Now, how did we get in? To the Galatians (Gal. 3:27), Paul said it like this: we are "baptized into Christ..." Furthermore, that same verse says in effect, ONLY those that have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Now, what really happens in baptism? Paul, in v.13 here, described what happened to the Colossians when they were baptized. "You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses." Now, what did that say? When you were buried in baptism with Christ, you died. You died to the world in a watery grave. At that point, God made you alive spiritually, i.e. "you...hath he quickened together with him," (v.13) look at it close. "Having forgiven you all trespasses." Now, trespasses and sins are the same thing. Having forgiven you how much? ALL TRESPASSES... all sins. How many is that? When you come forth from that watery grave, you have been freed of sins, all sins. Paul used that very word, "freed" F-R-E-E-D in discussing this with the Romans (Rom. 6:7). In this, I hope you understand, now, Paul is discussing alien sins, i.e. sins committed before you became a citizen of Christ's kingdom, the church. Please don't get lost in a flurry of terms. Becoming a Christian, becoming a citizen of Christ's kingdom, becoming a member of Christ's church, becoming a child of God, and being translated from the power of darkness into the kingdom of Christ (Col. 1:13) are all synonymous terms. This is only a few of the terms used in the Bible to describe this sin forgiving operation that God does in scriptural baptism. When you become a Christian, your slate has been washed clean of sins, so-to-speak. Peter in Acts 3:19, spoke of our sins being blotted out. That's what happens in water baptism, scriptural baptism. Now, I'm not talking about sprinkling and pouring and what the denominations call baptism. Oh! I know, some of them use immersion and call it baptism. But, let me just say it plain, that is not scriptural baptism. Why? Well, they go to great lengths to make sure the candidate understands this immersion (they call baptism) is NOT for the remission of sins. That's right! You heard me right! Thus, they DO NOT baptize for the right purpose. They refuse to do it for the Bible purpose. They're making a mockery of it. Insisting they are saved [listen now], insisting they are saved WITHOUT baptism and BEFORE baptism (what they call baptism). Thus, what they call baptism could not possibly be for the remission of sins. If you think I'm just prejudice and I don't know what I'm talking about, do me a favor. Pick up your telephone book (right now), and call a Baptist preacher, any Baptist preacher listed in your telephone book. Ask him, very directly, very bluntly: do you baptize people for the remission of sins? Now, don't let him side-track you. Insist on a "yes" or "no" answer. Because nine times out of ten he'll try to get around answering you directly. He won't give you a "yes" or a "no" answer. This is where the fudging starts. What he'll do is try to turn things around, come over and visit you, and feed you a load of his doctrine and never, really, answer your question. Here in v.18, Paul said don't you let him do it. If you are in Christ, you are complete in him (v.10). If you are not in Christ, then you can be baptized INTO CHRIST for the remission of sins. That's what Peter said on Pentecost (Acts 2:38) and that's what Paul told the Colossians in these verses. Read it again. Paul said, "Beware lest any man spoil you..."
May I hasten to add that after baptism we can (and do) sin again, I trust you realize. Every Christian does! Now, Paul does not take time out here to discuss this directly; but, let's take a moment to review. As the bumper sticker says, Christians are forgiven, they are not perfect. All Christians sin and "come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). And Paul was talking to "them that believe." But, please get it straight, here and now, when Christians are in-there (i.e. in Christ) and fall short and simply don't get done what is expected of them (sins of omission in other words) these are NOT alien sins and thus cannot be removed by that operation in baptism as discussed here (in Col. ch. 2). However, please understand, these sins, committed after baptism, can cause you to be lost just as much so as your alien sins before baptism. However, after baptism and our alien sins are forgiven (and our alien sins are forgiven forever), then we are children of God, OR children of light. John said, "if we [i.e. if Christians, if we] walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." If we walk in the light, i.e. if we continue to do it right, and, I am told the verb there in the Greek means to keep on cleansing, i.e. as long as we walk in the light. In the next verse, (I John 1:9) there is a contingency, i.e. "if", if we confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, he will forgive us, that's the promise. So, we are in effect assigned a duty as Christians to confess our sins and to pray and ask for forgiveness, sin by sin, day by day. The blood of Christ that purchased us or redeemed us in baptism will continue to cleanse us, if we ask. You don't have to be baptized again. But remember, we do sin AFTER baptism. John in the next verse (I John 1:8-10) goes on to say that for us to assert otherwise is in itself a sin, the sin of being a liar or not speaking the truth. John even goes on to say: "his word is not in us" if we make such claims. And think just a moment, if it was not possible to sin after becoming a Christian (as some have foolishly asserted), Paul's warnings to the Colossians would be in vain. The main emphasis in Paul's writing is to warn the Colossians against false teachers and falling into error. Look at the context just a moment! Paul's restatement of the gospel here in these verses falls right in the middle of such a warning. In v.8, he said: "Beware lest any man spoil you..." Then down in v.18, after this restatement of the gospel, Paul went back to that same thought again by saying: "Let no man beguile you..." etc. So, you get the point, I trust, that sins after baptism are just as deadly as alien sins. The sins after baptism can be forgiven too; and they must be forgiven to get to heaven. Remember, one sin can keep you out of heaven. Now, while I'm at this point in this discussion; let me toss in this much more...it's free...it don't cost you anything: I used the words, (back there) those that are in-there, make mistakes and fall short of what is expected, etc. By that, I mean they are trying, they want to obey; but, they haven't learned all the answers yet or they are simply doing the best they can and get caught in a catch-22 situation and stumble into error... doing the best they know how. Or they find after reflecting back on the situation that they simply did not obey as the N.T. teaches and they are sorry for this and they're quick to ask forgiveness and work at keeping their slate clean day-by-day. Then, the promise is that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us day-by-day, if we ask. In I John 2:1-2, the apostle John referred to this promise as "and advocate with the Father." You might want to re-read those verses again. However, here is what I want to get down to: to simply give up, give in and sin willfully: in other words, just don't care any longer and even count the blood of Christ an unholy thing; THEN, it's time to read Heb. 10:26: "If we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remained no more sacrifice for sins..." Pretty plain! And the things the Hebrew writer says following that i s very serious and very consequential. He puts it plain. Now, can you see what was bearing on the Apostle Paul's mind there in that prison cell? Paul is writing this letter to Christians, baptized believers. The problem at Colossae was AND the problem with us so often is: we become Christians, we are buried in baptism for the remission of sins, our alien sins are forgiven, AND THEN, we stop there. We don't stay in-there so-to-speak. We become unfaithful, in other words. Some form of that word: faith, faithful, faithfulness, etc., occurs in every book of the N.T. with the exception of 1John and in II John the apostle John wrote to the elect lady commending her for FAITHFULNESS... even though the word, as such, is not used there in the KJV. For example, John said: "I rejoice greatly that I found thy children walking in truth..." What is John saying? He rejoiced because they were faithful. Do you get it? You see this thing of faithfulness is of grave concern. In all seven of the letters to the seven churches of Asia (Rev. Chi 2-3), Jesus wrote concerning faithfulness. He said to the Ephesians (e.g.): "thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else..." (Rev. 2:4- 5). What's the subject? Faithfulness! To the church at Smyrna, Jesus said: "be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life." What's the subject? To the next church, Pergamos, Jesus said: "I know thy works...thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam...[and] them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans...Repent; or else..." What was the problem at Pergamos? Faithfulness. Every one of the seven churches, it was the same story. "I have a few things against thee.Jesus said it over and over] thou hast a name thou livest, and thou art dead...[and] because thou are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth..." What was the problem? You got it! Faithfulness! What was the problem at Colossae? You got it! It explains why Paul wrote this letter. It's such an easy trap to fall into. The apostle Peter (in discussing this) said, "baptism doth also now save us..., by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 3:21). However, in the middle of that same verse, by parenthesis. Peter tossed in this thought: baptism is (he said): "the answer of a good conscience toward God." When you realize that baptism is for "the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38); and you do it, buried with Christ and raised from that watery grave, realizing your sins are forgiven...what does that do for your conscience? What a great mental relief it is to know, my sins are forgiven, gone for ever. Peter said: it is the answer of a good conscience toward God. It does that! Thus, Christians have a reason to rejoice, right here and now! My sins are washed away (Acts 22:16). Thank God for that! Isn't it great? Now, what's the trap? If we start celebrating that our alien sins are forgiven and forget to continue faithfully...we'll still be lost. It was a problem at Colossae. It was a problem with the seven church of Asia. It's a problem with us!
O.K. we need to spend a moment on v.14-15-16-17, the rest of our reading. In Christ's death on the cross, not only did he die for our sins; Christ also (you need to understand) closed out that O.T. period we call the Mosaic age, or the ten commandment age. God spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets; however, in these last days he has spoken by his Son, Jesus Christ (that's Heb. 1:1). The O.T. was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3:24); but, after Christ came "we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Gal. 3:25). Here in v.14 (Col. 2:14), Paul referred to the ten commandment law and the prophets (i.e. the O.T.) as a handwriting of ordinances. Paul said, Jesus "took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross." The Jews became very upset when Jesus taught this, this is why they crucified Jesus. Let's face it...and with the same attitude, we have just talked about, i.e. to fall away after becoming a Christian (the Hebrew writer says) "they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame" (Heb. 6:6). The Jewish rabbi and the Jewish national leaders, Paul here refers to as "principalities and powers." They enlisted the help of the Romans through Pilate. But, Paul says (v.15), "he made a show of them openly, and triumphing over them in it." When Christ arose that Sunday morning overcoming death itself, he proved beyond the shadow of a doubt to any believing and reasonable person that Jesus was exactly what he claimed to be, the Son of God. Following Jesus' resurrection the church came on Pentecost, 50 days later. The church is Christ's spiritual kingdom. Jesus gave the "keys of the kingdom," i.e. the rules for getting into Christ's church or body to the apostles (Matt. 16:19). The rules changed at that point. Christ's law came into effect. So, Paul warned the Colossians (v.16) "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a holyday, or of the new moon, or the sabbath days," i.e. the components of the ten commandment law with its statutes and judgments or "ordinances" (v.14) are no longer the criteria by which one is to be judged. These ordinances (i.e. the old law) contained shadows or types (v.17) that pointed to Christ, they are the schoolmaster to bring us to Christ; "but, the body is of Christ." (end of v.17). In other words, Christ's church has now come and those earlier ordinances have now been replaced, by fulfillment (Matt. 5:17). Christ took the old system out of the way (Col. 2:14).
O.K., I did it again! I gave you too much free stuff and didn't finish the chapter. I had hoped to begin in v.18 and read the rest of Col. ch. 2 as part of this lesson. But, guess what! That old clock has got us again. We don't have time to read the rest of the chapter. In v.18, Paul went back to his warning...we mentioned this. There were those in Colossae trying to lure the Christians away into philosophy, deceit, tradition and worldly stuff; just like there are false teachers around you. Don't ever forget it. Paul said, "Beware lest any man spoil you..." AND, once more: have a good day!