Study Notes

Colossians 2:9-14


In our study of Colossians this morning, we have come to some verses which cover very basic doctrines, yet even in their clarity, have proven to be controversial.

2:9-12 The Fulness Of Deity

Verse eight gave us our subject: He is Christ. Verse nine tells us that in Christ,

Col. 2:9 ...all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form

The meaning here is obvious: "Jesus Christ is God in the flesh." This is so easily understood by Christians, yet so adamantly denied by the cults - in spite of the fact that there are literally dozens and dozens of Scriptures which prove that Jesus Christ is God. We've covered such verses in great depth and detail in previous studies, but this morning, I'm going to remind us of the most obvious and simple ones.

John wrote,

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Paul said that we are...

Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus;

When Thomas said to Jesus,

John 20:28-29 ..."My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed {are} they who did not see, and {yet} believed."

The Pharisees accused Jesus, "You...

John 10:33 "...make Yourself out {to be} God."

Why does Paul remind us yet again that Jesus is God? Because He alone has made us complete. He alone is the supreme authority. And He alone died and rose again to forgive our sins.

If Jesus was not God, He could not have completed us, for only...

Rom. 15:13 ...the God of hope (can) complete* you...

* (Greek: "Play-RO-o," same as Col. 2:9.)

If Jesus was not God, He would not have authority over all, because...

Ps. 103:19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all.

If Jesus was not God, He could not have forgiven our sins, for...

Mark 2:7 "...who can forgive sins but God alone?"

You can see that when the Deity of Jesus Christ is attacked, the rest of the gospel's promises fall down like dominoes. Those who claim to be preaching a gospel apart from the fact that Jesus Christ is God are not presenting any gospel at all.

Circumcision Without Hands

Also contained in these verses is a statement about circumcision. Now, circumcision in a physical sense is the cutting away of the male foreskin, ideally when a baby boy is eight days old. This was a symbolic sign of the covenant which God had made with the Jews (Gen 17:10).

It was a statement that God's people were cutting away their sinful and fleshly nature. But it became just one more legalistic and religious ritual - it had lost its true meaning. God accused them of being

Jer. 9:25 "...circumcised and yet uncircumcised"

It was because their bodies showed that their flesh had been cut away, but their hearts didn't (Jer. 9:26). God rebuked them for this, saying,

Jer. 4:4 "Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart ... lest My wrath go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds."

God's desire was not the religious ritual, but the real deal. Not the physical cutting away of the flesh, but the spiritual denial of our sinful, fleshly nature.

What Paul is saying here is that when Jesus' flesh was put to death on the cross, it was a symbolic circumcision that circumcised us - a circumcision made without hands. It is like he told the Galatians,

Gal. 5:24 ...Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

As a Christian, physical circumcision makes no difference to your spiritual condition. It is Christ's crucifixion - His spiritual circumcision that saved you.

Buried With Him In Baptism

Along the same lines, Paul points out baptism as another identification with Jesus. He says that in baptism we were buried with Him and raised up again. To the Romans, he wrote,

Rom. 6:3-5 ...Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with {Him} in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also {in the likeness} of His resurrection

People make a big deal out of saying, "Baptism isn't what saves you." And Scripturally-speaking, I agree. In past studies, I have made a strong case against the doctrine of baptism being necessary for salvation. But if you are saved, then what in the world would prevent you from publicly identifying with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ through the act of baptism? Especially considering that Jesus was crucified publicly for you.

I would not say, "You're not saved if you haven't been baptized." I would ask, however, "If you're refusing to be baptized, are you sure you're saved?"

2:13-14 Canceling Out The Certificate Of Debt

In these two verses, the work of Jesus Christ is wonderfully described.

You know that if you are convicted of committing a crime, you owe a debt to society. That debt will be either spending your money in the form of a financial penalty, or spending your time in incarceration. The judgment against you will be written down in legal fashion, and kept on record. It will record whether or not you have paid your debt to society.

In the days of the Roman Empire, it was very much the same. If you were convicted of a crime, you owed a debt to society - you had to pay for your crime. The record which was kept listed your crime and the price you had to pay for it. Once you had paid your debt in time served or money spent, the jailer would write across that record, "Te tel-EH-o stai," which means, "Paid in full."

Once released from custody, you would keep that cancelled record of debt with you as protection from accusation that you had not paid your debt to society. The statement "Te tel-EH-o stai" was your ticket to freedom.

The Bible says that sin is a crime against God, and the payment required for that debt is death:

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The certificate of debt against each one of us says that we must die for our crime of sin against God. But there is a free gift of eternal life available to us. How did that happen?

When Jesus Christ, God Himself, hung dying on the cross, He made a statement as He died. Most English Bibles translate it,

John 19:30 ..."It is finished!"...

But when Jesus spoke, it was literally a statement which should now be familiar to you.

John 19:30 ...He said, "Te tel-EH-o stai!" And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.

Paid in full. Jesus' death ...

Col. 2:14 ...canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us {and} which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

How can you have your sins paid for? How can you have written across your certificate of debt, "Paid in full"? How can you receive God's free gift of eternal life from Jesus?

Rom. 10:9 ...if you confess with your mouth Jesus {as} Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved

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