Thursday, November 18, 2021

2021.11.18 Hopewell @Home ▫ Colossians 2:11–15

Read Colossians 2:11–15

Questions from the Scripture text: What has happened to those who are in Christ (Colossians 2:11)? Without what was the circumcision made? By what was this circumcision made? Who/Whose is this circumcision?  How else is this circumcision described in Colossians 2:12? Who has done this work through our union with Christ? What else had He done? What condition are we in apart from Christ—what two ways does Colossians 2:13 describe it? What has God done to once-dead believers? What had to be done to their trespasses in order for God to make them alive? What had to be wiped out for us to be forgiven (Colossians 2:14)? What has Christ done to this certificate of debt? Whom did He disarm (Colossians 2:15? What else did He do to them? By doing what?

The apostle has been exalting Christ as God Himself in-fleshed (incarnated) to be our Redeemer—and therefore as our complete and only hope and help. Now, he continues by opening how the covenant signs in both the Abrahamic/Mosaic administrations and the New Testament administration have their substance in Christ.

We didn’t need the putting off of a part of our flesh, which is what physically happens in a circumcision. We needed the putting off of our entire fleshly self (Colossians 2:11c). There was no hand and no knife that could do this (verse 11b), but Christ has done this (verse 11a)!

The new sign, baptism, doesn’t focus upon removal from ourselves but rather union with Christ—not so much the undoing of our earthly self, but God the Son and God the Spirit coming for us and to us from heaven (cf. Romans 10:6–13; Galatians 4:3–7). Just as with circumcision, what we do on earth is a reminder that God Himself does what we cannot do; we can only pour water, but God has sent His Son, and the Lord Jesus has poured our His Spirit. 

And this is what accomplishes that removal of our fleshly self to which circumcision looked forward. In fact, union with Christ gives us not just burial of our former self because the Christ to Whom we are united has died (Colossians 2:12a, cf. Romans 6:3, Romans 6:5–7), but also an even greater resurrection, because the Christ to Whom we are united was raised from the dead (Colossians 2:12b, cf. Romans 6:4, Romans 6:8–11). The person we are in Him isn’t dead in trespasses (Colossians 2:13a) but alive and forgiven by Him (Colossians 2:13b). Nothing—not even our former (now-cancelled!) guilt before God’s law can hold back the life of Christ in us (Colossians 2:14). And if that guilt and law have no power over us, much less do all the supposedly powerful enemies over whom Christ has triumphed (Colossians 2:15).

Circumcision displayed the need for a Christ (Colossians 2:11). Baptism displays a Christ Who has met that need in His incarnation, death, resurrection (Colossians 2:12-13)—a Christ who applies Himself to us by the pouring out of His Spirit!!

Now, how can those who know that Christ is God, who know that Christ has become man for us, who know that Christ died so that our former self and our guilt could be eliminated in Him, who know that Christ has risen again so that we might have indestructible life to walk in newness of life, and who know that Christ Himself pours out His Spirit so that the third Person of the Trinity is applying Christ and His benefits to us— … how could those who know these things turn from such a God and such a Christ to anything else for their hope or help for righteousness or holiness?!

That’s the question that you face in your spiritual life and growth, dear Christian. And your baptism answers that you can’t, that you mustn’t. You must stick completely and confidently to Christ!!

What are you tempted to think is going to make the difference in your spiritual growth going forward? Who is Christ, and what does your baptism say you have in Him?

Sample prayer: Lord, You Yourself are our salvation—our forgiveness, the end of our former life, the substance of our new life, our victory over the devil, our victory over sin. You are God, and You have given Yourself not only for us but also to us, in order to be ours. Forgive us for when we forget what we have in You and either despair over growth or think that something else is what is really going to make it effective. Thank You for our baptisms; make us to heed what they signify and seal to us we ask in Your Name, AMEN!!

Suggested songs: ARP23B “The Lord’s My Shepherd” or TPH193 “Baptized into Your Name Most Holy”

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