Col 2_11_15 The Spiritual Benefits of Salvation
Text: Colossians 2:11-15
Title: The Spiritual Benefits of our Union with Christ/ Your Part in Salvation!
Theme of the book of Colossians: Jesus Christ: The preeminent and all-sufficient Savior
Theme of Text: Christ has made you complete in him through his death, burial, and resurrection.
Proposition: Completely give your life to Christ; He gave His life for you.
The church at Colossae was facing some difficult times. The false teachers were attacking Jesus Christ, the cornerstone of the Christians belief. This false teaching included some aspects of legalism. In verses 9-15, Paul states that the believers are complete in Christ! There is no need to follow some legalistic rules of the Mosaic system. In this passage, Paul states the blessings that the believer has in and through Jesus Christ.
Are many of you still reading through Colossians? If you are not doing any kind of Bible study, I would encourage you to read and study through Colossians or James. You will be hearing many messages from both books, spend time in them and learn from these books! If you are reading and studying Colossians, have you noticed a reoccurring phrase or theme in the book? The name of Christ is mentioned throughout the book, but the phrases “in him” “with him” “by him” and “through him” occur an astonishing # of times throughout chapter two. Go through your Bible and study what you have as a believer from Christ. These are the greatest benefits or spiritual gifts that you can receive. In this passage, we see that believes are circumcised by Christ, Baptized with Christ, Made alive with Christ, and forgiven by Christ. There is only one thing that the believer does in this section: “faith in the working of God.” The rest of the passage talks about what Christ did for the believer, but the only thing man does for salvation is have faith!
Completely give your life to Christ; He gave His life for you.
1. The Believers Benefits in Christ v. 11-14
When a person becomes a Christian, Christ gives that person a number of spiritual blessings. Perhaps the most complete list given in the New Testament is in Romans 5:1-11. These verses here in Colossians are given to combat the false teachers in Colossae, but they also serve as a doctrinal exposition of the believer’s salvation.
a. Circumcision by Christ/ Circumcised v. 11
Through Christ, the believer has his life “spiritually circumcised.” In the Old Testament, all Jewish boys had to be circumcised when they were 8 days old. This meant that they belonged to the nation of Israel (Gen. 17:9-14). Many believed that physical circumcision was the enough to save them, but the Jewish person was supposed to have another type of circumcision in his life; it is a “spiritual” circumcision of the heart (Jer. 4:4 Deut. 10:16). In Romans 4:9-12, Paul explains that Abraham was counted righteous by his faith, not by his circumcision; for Abraham had faith and was counted righteous before he was circumcised (Gen 15:6). Physical circumcision only had true value when the heart of the person was truly committed and faithful to the law. Spiritual circumcision happened at salvation, so the Colossian believers did not need to be physically circumcised as some of the false teacher were telling them. There no need to be enslaved to these ritualistic practices!
The significance of circumcision is important. Circumcision was the outward indication that a man was born sinful and that he needed cleansing. The cutting away of the male foreskin on the reproductive organ was a graphic way to demonstrate that man needed cleansing at the deepest level of his being. No other part of the body demonstrates that depth of sin, inasmuch as that is the part of man that produces life and all that he produces is sinful. Children are born with a sin nature; that sin nature is passed along through the seed of men. (This is also significant pertaining to the Virgin Birth. Mary was conceived Christ through the Holy Spirit and not from a man. The sinful nature of man was not passed on through Mary to Christ; therefore, Christ was not born a sinner!) All people are born sinners; therefore, everyone must have Christ remove their sin in order to be spiritually circumcised. It is a divine work in contrast to man’s human work done by “hands.”
Now this has already happened, but it is also a future reality. We could call this an “already not yet” concept. This is a common theme in the New Testament. We have “already” been spiritually circumcised. Christ has removed our sin from us. There is a problem though; we still have a sin nature that tempts us to sin even though we are believers. We have “not yet” been glorified into our perfect bodies with Christ. After our death or the rapture, we will spend eternity with Christ and will not have our sinful nature.
Paul is talking about circumcision at salvation. There is no requirement and no spiritual benefit for physical circumcision since Christ came; but at salvation, Christ spiritually circumcises every believer. He connects the believer intimately with Him by cutting off the sinful condition of the person. Through Christ, a believer has been removed of his sinful condition before God. Now this happens through the death of Christ. The “circumcision of Christ” talked about in this verse is referring to his death. Believers are united with Christ in his death. Just as Christ’s death killed sin, the believer is united with Christ in his death to kill sin. A Christian is no longer seen as united with sin, but is united with Christ through is death. Sin is conquered for the believer through Christ’s death!
(Gal. 3:27-28; Rom 2:29; 6:1-14; Gal 5:1-12; Eph 2:5-6)
Romans 6:1-14 (NKJV)
1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
b. Buried and Raised with Christ/ Buried and Raised v. 12
Baptism is the symbolic act of the believer’s participation in the death and burial of Christ (Rom 6:3). Through baptism, we see that believers are intimately connected with Christ’s burial and resurrection.
Now baptism is not a magic rite or ritual, but baptism is an act of obedience in which we confess our faith and express the symbol or essence of our spiritual experience. Apart from true faith in the “working of God,” baptism is meaningless. Outward baptism symbolizes the inner forgiveness of sins. Baptism does not save you from sin; it is “faith” in Christ that saves you from sin.
“Buried with Him,” indicates that real death has occurred and the old sinful life is a thing of the past. “Raised with Him,” indicates that we are completely alive in Christ and through Christ alone! (I Cor. 12:13; Eph 1:13; 2:6; 4:30; Col 3:1) this is a completed action that happened in the past. We are now able to participate in the risen life with Christ.
Six things we see about baptism:
1.) It is a faith-baptism that is only for people who have put their faith and trust in Christ (here).
2.) It is a participation and declaration in and of Christ’s death and resurrection- signifies the believer has been buried and raised from the dead with Christ. (here).
3.) It has ethical implication because the believer receives new life in Christ. (Romans 6:8)
4.) It is an initiation into Christ’s body, the church (1 Cor. 12:13).
5.) It is God’s way of stamping the believer with His seal of ownership (Eph. 1:13; 4:30).
6.) It is always through immersion and not from sprinkling or another method. (Matt. 3:16)
*Man’s part in salvation:
The only part that man plays in this entire section of verses if faith! Not of my power but of Christ’s! We must have faith in the working of God. The only part the believer has in this passage is “faith in the working of God.” This same God raised Christ from the dead; faith in such a powerful being should be easy, but we usually make it harder than it should be.
Not a great faith we need, but faith in a great God.—J. Hudson Taylor
Hebrews 11:1- Faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Illustration: Tightrope Faith
A far-famed tightrope walker came to Niagara Falls and stretched his rope across the thunderous currents from Canada to the United States. Before the breathless multitudes, he walked, then ran, across the falls. He did the same blindfolded, with drums rolling. Then, still blindfolded, he pushed a wheelbarrow across the falls.
The crowds went wild, and the aerialist shouted to them, “Who believes I can push a man in this wheelbarrow across these falls?”
A gentleman in the front waved his hands, shouting, “I do! I believe!”
“Then,” said the walker, “come and get in the wheelbarrow.”
To no surprise, the man’s intellectual assent failed to translate into personal belief.
Application: Many times, we are like the brave man that says, “I do! I believe!,” but when it comes down to it, we don’t have faith in God. We believe him for salvation, but we do not believe him for anything else. We don’t believe his scriptures and promises. We don’t really believe what he says about disobedience. We don’t believe what he says about learning about the Bible. We don’t believe that he can and should control our life. We don’t believe that he can really provide for us in times of need. We don’t really believe that His Word has everything we need for life and godliness! We believe that we should try our hardest and believe in ourselves, and then sometimes ask God for help or assistance. Why do I say all this? Cause we spend our time, money, and thoughts on things other than God. We don’t have faith in God to allow him to control our time, money, and thoughts.
Not a great faith we need, but faith in a great God.—J. Hudson Taylor
c. Made Alive with Christ/ Quickened v. 13a
Before a person becomes a Christian, they are spiritually and morally dead (Eph 2:1-3; Rom 8:8; 1 John 5:19). There is no hope for the person without Christ; they are dead in their sins, trespasses, and in a permanent state of disobedience. The unbeliever’s life is described by a multitude of moral sins! They are devoid of spiritual and moral life. When a person is saved, they become alive with Christ! Just as Christ is living in heaven, so the believer is spiritually alive with Christ as their head!
Verse 13 says, “He made alive together with him.” The verse is saying the God made us alive through Christ. God’s wonderful power was enough to raise Christ from the dead; that same power quickened us or made us alive with Christ. Just as the believer shares in Christ’s death, so the believer shares in Christ’s life. Since we have been made alive with him, we are complete in Christ. There is no need for the believer to let the false teachers have a say in our salvation, nor is there a reason to let sin reign in our life!
d. Forgiven by Christ/ Forgiven v. 13b-14
How is a person made alive in Christ? It is through Christ’s amazing forgiveness of sins. The Greek word for “forgiveness” in this verse comes from the word-family of the word “grace.” This forgiveness is completely through the grace of God. Verse 14 illustrates what God did to rid the believer of their sins. God completely wiped out the believers sins. It is a permanent removal of sin; God completely forgives every sin of the believer! God’s power was sufficient to raise Christ from the dead. Christ’s death was sufficient to erase the debt of sin! (Eph 2:15-16; Rom 3:24; 5:20; Titus 3:4-7 Gal 6:14)
“Handwriting requirements” was a term usually used in monetary transactions. Our name was on the debt sheet. God’s law was broken, and the debt was not repayable by us. Christ death was sufficient to pay the debt, Christ permanently removed the debt, and the debt was crucified or wiped away at the cross.
Illustration: Promise Note. At college, we were required to sign a promise note if we could not pay the debt that we owed on our bill. We would have to go to the business office and sign a paper saying that we promise to pay our debt. Some people had huge bills that we impossible to pay on their own. Because of that debt, they could not return to school. There were many times that students would praise the Lord because their debt had been “anonymously paid” or “paid by a rich uncle that I didn’t know I had.” It was amazing to see the debts repaid.
Christ has repaid the greatest debt that we owed. We could have never paid the debt that we owed, but Christ went to the cross and paid our debt for us. What are you doing to repay Christ?
2. The Enemy Conquered by Christ
Not only Christ makes the believer complete in Him, but he also completely conquers the enemy! Satan is still trying to defeat Christ, but there is no chance for Satan to have victory since Christ already won the victory at the cross! Christ secured the victory at the cross. Satan and the evil forces are still at work in this world trying to thwart God’s plans, but Satan and his armies are fighting a battle that they have already lost!
The powers of the forces of evil were disarmed. Christ shrugged off his enemies and stripped them of their powers. This has the picture of a conquered warrior having his weapons and armor taken from him! (Hosea 13:14; Hebrews 2:14)
In 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 (NKJV), Satan’s greatest weapon, death, was defeated a the cross. Christ conquered death!
54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” 55 “O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.
Christ made a public display or spectacle of his defeated enemies. He exposed them to public disgrace by exhibiting them to the universe as his captives. Just when Satan had thought that he had won by killing Christ, Christ publicly displayed Satan’s foolishness by rising from the dead!
Illustration: Do any of you like to watch sports? I love to watch baseball. Do any you like the New York Yankees? They are a good team that plays in the MLB or the Major Leagues. They are some of the best baseball players in the world. What if they came and played a team in Taiwan. What if that team was made up of just the men in our church? We would be creamed!
Not only are the enemies of Christ disarmed and disgraced, they are completely defeated. Christ has won a complete victory! Satan cannot do anything to prevent God’s plans; his fate has been sealed, he has already been defeated. Christ is the conquering king. He does not share his throne with anyone! He has defeated all who oppose him! With this in mind, the believer should be proud about their savior. We serve Christ, the victorious king. Believers should not be concerned about the power of their God; Christ has won the victory! (Eph 1:20-23; 3:10; Rom 8:37-39; Gal. 6:14) This idea of “triumphing over” would be a familiar picture in the Roman world. It is the picture of a triumphant general leading a parade of victory. The great general is in his illustrious chariot leading his grand army through the streets. A pathetic looking group of captives from the conquered foe follows the victorious army. The spoils of victory are displayed and the defeated foe is disgraced. Christ is our great General that has lead the victory!
Illustration: FF. Bruce illustrates these three things in this way. “The very instrument of disgrace and death by which the hostile forces thought they had him in their grasp and had conquered him forever was turned by him into the instrument of their defeat and disablement (disarmament). As he was suspended there, bound hand and foot to the wood in apparent weakness, they imagined they had him at their mercy, and flung themselves on him with hostile intent. But, far from suffering there attack without resistance, he grappled with them and mastered them, stripping them of the armor which they trusted, and held them aloft in his own outstretched hands, displaying to the universe their helplessness and his own unvanquished strength.” (Bruce p. 110-111)
Believers have been circumcised by Christ, buried and raised with Christ, made alive with Christ, and forgiven by Christ. Not only has Christ given these blessings to the believer, he has also disarmed, disgraced, and defeated the enemy! Why would anyone want to serve or worship another god? Why do people continue to ignore the goodness of Christ? It is because they have not accepted Christ as their savior from sin. Have you accepted Christ as your savior? If you have, are you exalting him as the Lord of your life? Christ has done all these things for you, now what are you going to do for him?
Christ gave his life for you; use your life serving Christ!
What do you give your life for? What do you live your life for? Three things that can show what or to whom you are giving your life: two of them are visible one is invisible. They are your time, money, and your thoughts. How you spend or use your money and your time tell a lot about what or to whom you are giving your life. (I could check your pocket book or track your spending and I could keep a journal of your time, but I can’t see your thoughts. God knows all three and knows what or to whom you are giving your life. Those three things will determine what you are giving your life for and to whom you are living your life.
Many people say that they are Christians, but they live for themselves. They want Christ to save them from hell, but they really don’t mind their sin. They don’t acknowledge Christ as the Lord of their life. Sure, he is God, but he is not really the “Lord” or “King” in their life. What or who is the king in your life?
Faith is like muscle which grows stronger and stronger with use, rather than rubber, which weakens when it is stretched.—J. O. Fraser, missionary to China
Illustration: Stats on how an average person spends his life. Hour/yearly breakdown.
Time Spent In 70-Year Life
If one lives to be 70 years of age and is the average person, he spends:
—20 years sleeping—20 years working—6 years eating—7 years playing—5 years dressing—1 year on the telephone—2½ years smoking—2½ years in bed—3 years waiting for somebody—5 months tying shoes
—2½ years for other things--(incl. 1½ year in church)
Television exists so that advertisers have a place to sell their wares. The average 70-year-old has watched well over 2 million TV commercials. They have lived 10 years of their life watching television—a decade! And although a U.S. child has about 5 minutes of conversation with their parents each day, they will spend over 240 minutes with the television. American youth invest 900 hours a year in school and 1023 watching TV. Suffice it to say that the major influence, educator, goal setter, and role model in our children’s lives are television shows and the commercials that sponsor them. If you believe that PBS is different or “commercial free” ask an 11 year old (i.e., my daughter Emma): Who advertises on PBS? When I asked, she rattled off: Lego, Spaghetti O’s, Kix cereal, Chuck E Cheese, and Juicy Juice …to start with.
average person spends 3-5 hours watching tv each day.
John MacArthur, Colossians (Chicago: Moody Press, 1996, c1992), 106.