Colossians Devotional | Free and Clear
Colossians: Christ Above and Before All
The Glory of God Revealed in Jesus
Free and Clear
“13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” - (Colossians 2:13-14)
Ever had a debt forgiven? How’s that feel?
Imagine that you arrive home to find that your neighbor (let’s name him “Chuck”) was checking his mail when someone came to your house to collect a debt of $15. Chuck handed him what you owe. How do you feel about Chuck? What kind of thanks do you feel like you owe him?
Chuck’s a pretty swell guy, at this point. $15 is half a tank of gas (at least, for those of you with responsible vehicles!). That’s three Little Caesar’s pizzas. That’s dinner at Wendy’s for you and your spouse. Thanks, Chuck! That was really nice of you!
But, what if Chuck met a bill collector you owed $150,000 to? What if Chuck paid off the rest of your mortgage? Or your student debts? What if the debt Chuck paid off was the sort that changes your entire life. One moment, you’re enslaved, for the rest of your life, paying off what you owe--and the next, you’re free. Liberated. Now, how do you feel about Chuck?
In today’s scripture, the Apostle Paul describes what Jesus has done for us in three vivid ways:
You were as good as dead in your sin...and Jesus gave you a new life
All your trespasses and violations against God have been forgiven--God is no longer displeased with you
The debt of justice you owe to God--recompense, revenge, and the like--has been canceled; God places no demand for justice against you
If you’re a Christian, these things are true for you. How was it accomplished? God took all that you owe, all that you deserve for your sin, and nailed it to the cross with Jesus. Jesus took on your death; Jesus took on the guilt of your sin; Jesus took on the just revenge you ought to sit under. Because of Jesus, you now stand alive, forgiven, and debt free before God.
The Apostle Paul doesn’t want to crush you with the truth about your sin--he wants to make you feel great...elated and grateful and hopeful and excited. By making sure you know what you owe and making it clear just what kind of bad shape you were in, he believes you’ll be propelled into joy and thanksgiving to God. If you see the work of Jesus as “just a little help” from God, then it’s because you believe he paid a little debt, like Chuck with $15. No...Jesus changed your life--indeed, gave you a brand new one! This is the $150,000 debt. The enslaved-for-the-rest-of-your-life debt!
Know just how condemned and wrong you are ought to crush you--unless you also know the Savior, Jesus Christ. Today, not as a means to feel terrible and stupid, but as a starting point to find God wonderful and loving, think over what God has forgiven and freed you from in this life. Worship him in prayer and thanksgiving.
What would you tell your other neighbors about Chuck? You’d have a hard time not telling everyone about what he did for you, wouldn’t you? How much more so should it be about Jesus? Who will you tell today, about your good news? Who will you commit to telling about Jesus, the one who’s given you a new life, free from shame and cleared of condemnation?