The Power of the Cross: Colossians 2:13-15
“13) When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14) having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15) When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him. Colossians 2:13-15
We often overlook the significance of what Jesus did for us on the cross. The cross itself was not significant. Many died on crosses in Rome. However, the identity of the person who died on His cross was very significant. Jesus Christ was the innocent and sinless Son of God. He had no guilt and no fault. Through Him, God was reddening lost humanity.
In John 1:29-36, John the Baptist introduced Jesus to Israel as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Jesus Christ was indeed the Passover Lamb. His blood rendered the destroyer powerless for all eternity for those who put faith in Him. Exodus 12 and the Passover under Moses was a prophetic foreshadow of the coming sacrifice of Jesus Christ for lost humanity.
According to the text under consideration today, the work of Jesus Christ on the cross was monumental. Let’s dig into some of the details in these three verses.
First, the work of Jesus on the cross opened the door of life to humanity that was under the curse of death. He died that those who believe in Him might enter into new life that extends to all eternity. This new life is called “Zoe life” in the New Testament. It starts at the moment of salvation when the new believer is filled with the Holy Spirit.
Second, the work of Jesus Christ on the cross became the basis of absolute forgiveness for every sin and transgression for the believer. The Old Testament sacrificial system covered sin, but did not remove the guilt of sin. (Read Hebrew 9-10 for a full explanation) So what was so different about the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross?
This is the third point, on the Cross Jesus became our substitute payment for all sin. He paid in full the debt of human sin. I like the wording of Colossians 2:14; He “canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
The accuser of the brethren no longer has a basis of accusation against the child of God. According to Hebrews 10:19-22, the sacrifice of Jesus was so complete it even cleanses the human conscience. It removes the heaviness and awareness of guilt. It makes the believer absolutely clean before God!
Finally, Paul says that on the cross, Jesus “disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” What does that mean? According to Hebrews 2:14-15 Jesus “rendered powerless him who has the power of death, that is the devil; and might deliver those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” That’s right, Jesus utterly destroyed the works of the devil.
Let me point out how Jesus introduces Himself in Revelation 1:17-18; “17)… “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18) and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.” A cosmic battle took place between His death and resurrection… and Jesus won! According to Ephesians 4:8-10, Jesus literally descended into the lower parts of the earth and took the keys of death from the devil. He also led a host of captives to freedom.
The greatest ministry of Jesus Christ was not His three years of public ministry, rather it was the three days and nights encompassing His death and resurrection. All of this was to purchase our salvation and freedom from the penalty and power of sin and Satan in our lives.
When you fully embrace the meaning and significance of what Jesus accomplished on the cross… your life will be transformed. Your battles with guilt will be over. The power and bondage of sin in your life will be broken. You will be liberated from your past. Your flesh will be disarmed and you will have new ability to walk in the Spirit. You will be equipped with new weapons for spiritual warfare. It will become your basis for understanding healing. You will be launch into a new calling and purpose for life. You will begin to walk with new power and authority in your life.
As we conclude these three verses, I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 1:18. It talks about the word of the cross being the power of God. Ask God to show you the full meaning of that phrase. Then, by faith appropriate the full benefit of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross into your life. Put the old self to death and step into new life through the power of the resurrection.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global
The Power of the Cross: Colossians 2:13-15