All week long in this five part series on Colossians 2:8-15, I have been seeking to understand the Apostle Paul’s answer to the question, “What is truth?” After hearing his concern that there are deceptive philosophies in the world that seek to captivate us, Paul focuses our attention on Jesus, saying that Jesus is the truth. But how? In the midst of our broken world, what does Jesus offer us that is truth?
Notice how Paul answers this in the end of verse 13. Forgiveness. He forgave all our sins. That is amazing to think about. We are forgiven. There is an astounding freedom to this. I know that I don’t always feel forgiven. Maybe you feel that too. When we screw up, when we hurt someone, when we ignore God, when we allow our eyes to wander or our mouths to spout off, we can feel guilt or shame, and we don’t feel forgiven. Yet into those unsettling feelings, Paul underscores the truth that we are people who are forgiven.
There is no sin that we could commit, and no amount of times that we commit it, that would necessitate Jesus to say, “You just crossed the line, buddy…that sin is not forgiven. That was one too many.” Or “That was too awful, too heinous, and you are not forgiven.” Even if you hurt someone badly in your life, and they can’t get over it, and they say, “You are not forgiven,” God still has forgiven you. That sin was dealt with on the cross.
Take a look at verse 14 to see how Paul paints this image for us. He gives us a picture of Jesus taking the written code and nailing it to the cross. You can almost see what Paul has in mind here. Jesus holding up scrolls containing the Mosaic Law, pulling out an ancient hammer and huge nail like they used in crucifixions and just pounding that scroll to the cross. Some scholars believe that what Paul imagines here is not the scrolls of the Mosaic Law, but a list of the sins we have committed. Either way, as he nails it to the cross, Jesus is in essence saying, “You are no longer condemned, you are forgiven, I love you.”
Here’s what is so amazing. At his actual crucifixion, there was a real hammer and nails, right? But Jesus wasn’t the one holding them. The soldiers were. And instead of a scroll, it was his body. The soldiers pounded the nails into his hands and feet. That’s how the forgiveness happened. That’s how you and I were freed from slavery to sin. That’s how every single person who ever lived has the opportunity to live a new life, by placing their faith in Jesus. This beating, this abuse, this murder was done to him, and still Jesus says, “You are no longer condemned, you are forgiven, I love you.” New life is possible to each and every one of us, to everyone in our community and around the world, because of this.
Let’s keep going to hear how Paul describes what happened through Jesus’ sacrifice. Read Colossians 2, verse 15.
Victory! Jesus disarmed the powers and authorities! He made a spectacle of them in public, Paul writes. Jesus triumphed over them by the cross. What appeared to be the means of his death turned out to be his victory!
In Jesus new life is possible for us because he won the victory over sin, over death, over the devil. There are many ways to understand what Jesus did through his death and resurrection, and this is an important one. Victory! Victory in Jesus!
In Christ we have a new life, a new outlook, and it is one of victory over sin, victory over the sinful powers in life that want to ensnare us. Therefore, we have victory over the ideas, the hollow and deceptive philosophies based on human tradition, that want to capture us. We are free in Christ, and this new life in Christ is what we base our lives on. Jesus is the truth.
In other words, we filter everything in our lives through him.
This truth of victory and new life in Jesus puts into perspective the empty, hollow philosophies that seek to captivate us. There is no political leader, no celebrity, no person or idea that we should allow to hold our focus and attention, except for Jesus. There is no hope for the world except for Jesus.
Have you allowed other ideas or people to captivate you?