Final thoughts on Colossians 2:11-15
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. NKJV
What a glorious passage of scripture! The death of the Lord Jesus Christ has completely removed our sins. In verse 11, Paul compares the removal of our sins to circumcision—not the removal of physical flesh in our case, but the spiritual removal of our sins. God has forgiven us, as Christians, all trespasses in Christ. It is not that we do not sin as Christians, but rather that God does not press His eternal charges against our sins. Christ has freed us from the curse and penalty of sin, having become a curse for us (Gal. 3:13, Rom. 6:23). Because Jesus has paid for our sins on the cross, God is merciful to our sins, our unrighteousness, and our lawlessness, and will never bring them back into remembrance again (Heb. 8:12). The Biblical term for this wondrous act of grace is justification (Rom. 3:24), which literally means “to declare or pronounce one righteous.” Because we have trusted Christ as our personal Savior, His righteousness has been charged to our account (Gal. 3:6). What a transposition! On the cross, God the Father looked at His own perfect, sinless Son as though He were looking at us in all our sinfulness, and His reaction to His Son was the same as it would have to us on the Day of Judgment. Literally, His wrath was poured out on His own Son at Calvary (Matt. 27:46), and because of this, God the Father now looks at us in Christ as though we had perfectly obeyed His divine laws and commandments (II Cor. 5:21).
In addition to removing our sins through Jesus’ substitutionary death, God has provided us with spiritual life through Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (v. 12). In John 3:3-8, Jesus refers to this act of spiritual regeneration as being “born again.” Man is spiritually dead outside of Christ (Rom. 5:12, II Cor. 5:14, Psa. 58:3, Eph. 2:1) and is incapable of knowing or fellowshipping with God, being separated from His Creator by His sins (I Cor. 2:14). But even though we were spiritually dead, He has given us spiritual life in Christ (Eph. 2:5). In verse 12 of our text, Paul uses the imagery of baptism to picture the believer’s spiritual resurrection in Christ (Rom. 6:4) and informs us that the same power of God that raised Christ physically from the dead has also raised us spiritually (Eph. 1:19-21).
Not only has Christ given us victory over the penalty and power of sin, but He has also subjugated Satan. In verse 15 of our text we see that Satan and the powers of darkness were thoroughly defeated through Jesus’ resurrection. The principalities and powers refer to fallen angels or demons (Eph. 6:12). The scriptures declare that Christ is the head of all principality and power (Col. 2:10). The word “triumphing” in verse 15 was used to describe the triumphant entry into the city of Rome by the Roman general as he returned from a victorious war campaign with the kings of all the countries he had conquered chained to his chariot wheels. The greatest battle in history however was not fought by any earthly general, but at dark Calvary, and when the smoke of that battle had cleared the resurrected Christ ascended victoriously into heaven with the enemies of sin, Satan, and death chained to his chariot wheels (Eph. 4:8). What a reason for celebration and thanksgiving to God who has saved us by His power and grace. The Lord Jesus Christ has conquered all of our enemies (sin, Satan, and death) and has given us the victory over all of them.