Colossians 2: 13-15
As the officer placed handcuffs on your wrists you heard “I
am placing you under arrest for crimes against humanity, for estrangement from
God and messing up your life and the lives of others.” “You have the right to remain silent. Anything
you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right
to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.
Do you understand your rights?”
Off to jail you go.
You didn’t even realize you had committed a crime, but ignorance of the
law is no excuse. As the prosecuting attorney lays out the case against you
(Job 1:6-8, Revelation 12:10), you come to the shocking realization that yes,
you committed those crimes (Romans 3:23, Luke 12:3). “You are guilty as sin” (Ezekiel
18:20 ). You did it, no alibi, no get out of jail card free, you see the long
line of witness against you. Then the attorney asks the judge for the death
penalty (Romans 6:23). The death
penalty, for just living life the way you thought best (Proverbs 14:12)! The
judge looks at you, says do you understand the seriousness of these charges
against you. You answer a shaky “yes.”
Then the judge asks “how do you plead?” (Hebrews 9:27).
We are making a careful study of the book of Colossians, the
51st book in your protesting bible, a letter written to the
congregation by the Apostle Paul of Tarsus. Welcome to session 10 of our
study. Previous sessions can be found on
line at www.hbcc.life and on You
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Paul is writing to people he has yet to meet
personally. He is writing to encourage
these folks in their faith and to correct false teaching that had the potential
to destroy their relationship with God and each other.
The false teachings deal with add-ons to the Message, to the
Gospel. Paul is refuting the need for
secret knowledge to be saved, for rituals and laws to be adhered to, and if you
read between the lines misunderstandings about who Jesus is. Again in the 2
verses we are considering today, Paul makes it clear, all you need is faith in
Jesus to make the proper connections with the One He called Father.
Colossians 2:13-15 (MSG)
When you were stuck in your old sin-dead life, you were
incapable of responding to God. God brought you alive—right along with Christ!
Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant
canceled and nailed to Christ's Cross. He stripped all the spiritual tyrants in
the universe of their sham authority at the Cross and marched them naked
through the streets.
In the court room of eternity the judge asks “how do you
plead?” Me, I am going to say “I plead
the blood of Christ.” (Hebrews 9:27).
The Gospel reveals to us that all have sinned, there is no
one exempt except the One God sent to undo what Adam caused (Galatians 4:4-7). The Genesis story informs us that humanity
represented in Adam disobeyed God, as the result of that self-exaltation every
son and every daughter of Adam finds themselves entering this life estranged
from God (Genesis 3:24). Each one of us
becomes the one who decided what is good and what is evil, as a result sin
abounds (Genesis 6:12). Sin is first
estrangement from God, we are not relating rightly to One who created us. Sin is secondly relational damage caused by
wanting to get our own way, or as bad, when someone used us to get what they
wanted without regard to our wellbeing. Sin deters, damages, and destroys
relationships. Sin causes us to relate
wrongly with God, Others, Ourselves, and the very Earth, symbol of our material
blessings. Every one of us is a sinner.
Ignorance of the law is no excuse. The lament of Heaven proclaims:
Romans 3:10-12 (MSG)
There's nobody living right, not even one, nobody who knows
the score, nobody alert for God. They've
all taken the wrong turn; they've all wandered down blind alleys. No one's
living right; I can't find a single one.
There is a unique pain when a parent sees their child,
regardless of their son or daughter’s age, making horrible choices, wasting
opportunity, and valuing the wrong things in the company of those with
questionable character. There is a unique parental pain when you see your child
suffering. Their pain causes you anguish.
Their hurt is your hurt, so great is your love for your kids.
John 3:16-18 (MSG)
"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son,
his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by
believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to
all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling
the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone
who trusts in him is acquitted…
Acquitted is a legal term that means to be set free from a
criminal charge by a verdict of not guilty.
To enable God to defend you from the charges leveled against
you, God became flesh and blood in the person of Jesus, we call that the
incarnation, that’s why we celebrate Christmas, God coming to us, Immanuel, God
with us (Colossians 1:15). Jesus reveals the nature of who the scripture
identifies as God and demonstrates what God means by being created in His image
(John 14:9, Hebrews 4:15). Jesus shows
us the way, the truth, the life, and then offers Himself up as the atoning
sacrifice for our sins (John 14:6, Romans 3:25a). He dies, executed upon a Cross, for the
crimes against humanity, the sins that messed up our life and the lives of
others, for the crime of being an enemy of God.
His blood shed to create an acquittal for all who believe. Three days in the grave, dead. Then on that first Easter Sunday morning the
One He called Father, bodily resurrects the One the Father called the Son
(Matthew 28:6). The proclamation “He is risen just as He said” shakes the
entire world even today.
The One who dies and was raised to life calls us out of our
dead end ways of life (2 Corinthians
1:10). He calls us to give up our futile
attempts to find God and attempts to live our lives to the full and come to
Him. All the weary and burdened, all
those loaded down with guilt, with shame, all those lost and desperate, all
those in their self-created prisons, to come to Him (Matthew 11:28). In Him the arrest warrant is canceled. Jesus nailed it to the Cross on which He was
crucified. Before you ever even are
brought in for judgement, your acquittal is waiting for you, the charges
against you will dropped, you don’t have to make a plea, but you do have to
bend your knee to God. Then God in
Christ sets you free.
Now what are you going to do with such an expansive and
expansive gift? Consider our criminal
justice system in its current chaos.
Some District Attorneys believe that the system is too harsh so they
enact zero bail which allows criminals back on the streets shortly after they
have been arrested. State Governors to
relieve overcrowding and concern for
prison being Covid super spreader environments, pardoned folks, releasing them
to the streets. How many go right on
committing crimes instead of taking advantage of their new found freedom, turn
the corner and start living what might be termed productive lives? [Proverbs
26:11] There are so many that we have a
word for it: recidivism. Recidivism is
the tendency to be a re-offender, set free with a chance at a new life, only to
return to the old. Do you think it wise or foolish behavior to return to
criminal acts after being set free? [2 Peter 2:20-22]
Ephesians 4:17-24 (MSG)
And so I insist—and God backs me up on this—that there be no
going along with the crowd, the empty-headed, mindless crowd. They've refused
for so long to deal with God that they've lost touch not only with God but with
reality itself. They can't think straight anymore. Feeling no pain, they let
themselves go in sexual obsession, addicted to every sort of perversion.
20 But that's no life for you. You learned Christ! My
assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed
in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the
excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that
old way of life has to go. It's rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And
then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed
from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately
reproduces his character in you.
When you are acquitted you don’t go back to the old ways of
life. When you get a new lease on life
you take advantage of the opportunity afforded you. That means you have determined to be
obedient, to live righteously, a devout and holy life demonstrated by your
actions. With this intent you live your life to the full (John 10:10).
2 Corinthians 5:17 (MSG)
Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united
with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone…
When you are acquitted you get a second chance. You don’t go
back into a life of sin. You died to sin
when you bent the knee to Jesus (Romans 6:1-4). You’ll be tempted to fall back,
but God promises if you call for His help he will help you.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (MSG)
No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the
course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God
will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll
always be there to help you come through it.
Sin no longer has a hold on your life. You have been empowered to overcome every
sin. This goes for those sinful habits, attachments, and addictions. Overcoming may be a struggle, but there is
not turning back. You’ll need help, the
help of new friends who will hold you accountable for living a godly life.
When you are acquitted no more excuses for sinful behavior,
no more justifications, no more blaming others.
You take responsibility. You
don’t continue to do the things you know to be wrong, instead you do the things
you know to be right.
Romans 6:1-2 (MSG)
Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope
not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign, how can we still live in
our old house there?
“All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest
warrant canceled…” Embrace you freedom,
fill your life with the things of God, walk away from the old, enter the new.
You may wonder how, “how can I do this?”
Galatians 5:16-18 (MSG)
My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by
God's Spirit. Then you won't feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is
a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just
as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are
antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way
according to how you feel on any given day. Why don't you choose to be led by
the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions
To be led by the Spirit practice the 7 habits of a
Turn off the TV and pick up your bible, stop the porn and
start praying, forget the bar and get into fellowship, say good bye to
selfishness and hello to service, stop coveting garbage and worship God, say no
to selfish desires and yes to obedience, exit uncertainties and enter
contemplation. Stay in step with the Spirit and you will be led by the Spirit.
Do God’s will and you will be full of the Spirit.
One more thought, the spiritual tyrants refer to astrology,
the superstition that the stars controlled your fate. Jesus negates all such teachings.
Here’s the truth to immediately put into effect:
Once you’ve been set free from sin and death and made alive
in Christ, you don’t return to the old way of living. You repent of the old ways, take them off and
put on the new ways. (Ephesians 4:21-24)
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