CANCELED OUT: exaleipsas (AAPMSN):
in the Word: It is Finished)
Having cancelled and blotted
out and wiped away (Amplified)
He did this by erasing the charges
He has destroyed what was against
He canceled the record that
contained the charges against us (NLT)
Regarding the vivid imagery of
canceled out or blotted out compare these cross references (Ps
109:14 - see
Neh 4:5, Jer 18:23) and those below...
Acts 3:19 Therefore
= Do this now. Don't delay!) and
= Do this now. Don't delay!), so that your sins may be wiped away, in
order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord
Numbers 5:23 ‘The priest shall then
write these curses on a scroll, and he shall wash them off into the
water of bitterness.
Isaiah 43:25 I, even I, am the one
who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not
remember your sins.
Isaiah 44:22 I have wiped out your
(speaking to faithless Israel) transgressions like a thick cloud and
your sins like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.
Comment: Ed Young writes
that "The clouds intervene between heaven and earth as sin and
transgressions intervene between God and His people."
King David understood his
great need (after his adultery with Bathsheba and killing of her
husband Uriah) and God's great grace and mercy writing...
Psalm 51:1 For the choir director.
A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him, after he had
gone in to Bathsheba. Be gracious to me, O God, according
to Your lovingkindness (mercy) according to the greatness of
Your compassion blot out my transgressions. - see note below
Psalm 51:9 Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my
iniquities. - see
Spurgeon's Note on Psalm 51:1
- What a choice word is that
of our English version, a rare compound of precious things: love and
kindness sweetly blended in one -- "lovingkindness." According
unto the multitude of thy tender mercies. Let thy most loving
compassions come to me, and make thou thy pardons such as these would
suggest. Reveal all thy gentlest attributes in my case, not only in
their essence but in their abundance. Numberless have been thine acts
of goodness, and vast is thy grace; let me be the object of thine
infinite mercy, and repeat it all in me. Make my one case an epitome
of all thy tender mercies. By every deed of grace to others I feel
encouraged, and I pray thee let me add another and a yet greater one,
in my own person, to the long list of thy compassions.
Blot out my transgressions.
My revolts, my excesses, are all recorded against me; but, Lord, erase
the lines. Draw thy pen through the register. Obliterate the record,
though now it seems engraven in the rock for ever; many strokes of thy
mercy may be needed, to cut out the deep inscription, but then thou
has a multitude of mercies, and therefore, I beseech thee, erase my
sins. (Ed: A good practice for all of us to emulate!)
Spurgeon commenting on Col
2:14 writes that...
All the Mosaic ceremonials, from
which you were shut out as Gentiles, are abolished. Christ has driven
a nail through them and fastened them up to his cross.” As,
sometimes, a banker stamps through a cheque when it is paid, so has
Christ but through the very heart of all Jewish ordinances by what he
has done for his people.
Wendell Kent writes that...
The verse of Scripture quoted above
is one of those verses which does not yield its value by a surface
investigation, but upon greater effort it reveals a wealth of meaning.
One writer has called this verse “perhaps the most obscure verse in
the New Testament.” (Beet) Another says, “In This difficult
verse the meaning of almost every word is disputed.” (A S Peake -
Expositor's Greek Testament) With this to caution us against a hasty
conclusion as to its meaning, let us seek to discover the truth which
the apostle Paul was endeavoring to present in this verse (Colossians
2:15 The Spoiling of Principalities and Powers: A Critical Monograph
Having canceled out
from ek = out, intensive
[adds sense of "completely" - see also Vincent's note below] + aleipho = wipe,
cover over, besmear)
means literally to completely wipe off. Literally exaleipho means to
remove by wiping off, as when a blackboard is erased. The word was
applied to the process of obliterating writing on any material. Some
of the uses in Scripture retain this literal meaning but most uses
speak of a figurative blotting out or wiping off. The idea in all the
uses is to cause something to cease by
obliterating or eliminating any evidence. Twice in the Revelation God
promises He will wipe away every tear. A number of uses in both
and the NT use this verb to describe the blotting out or wiping away
Exaleipho was used by
Thucydides of whitewashing a wall.
Eadie writes that
signifies to smear or plaster over
and then it is used to denote the act by which a law or deed of
obligation is cancelled...the word...means here to expunge. That to
which the process of obliteration is applied is appropriately termed a
handwriting (cheirographon), a note of hand, a written bond (which)...
signifies a claim of unpaid debt (and)... is also one of punishment
for it was "against us." (Colossians
2:14, 15 In Depth Commentary)
Exaleipho - Used 5x in the
NT - Acts 3:19; Col 2:14; Rev 3:5; 7:17; 21:4
Vincent adds that
The preposition (ek) also carries
the sense of removal; hence to smear out; to wipe away.
Synonyms would include blotted out,
wiped away, obliterated, effaced completely, expunged.
aorist tense pictures
a past completed action - the blotting out has been accomplished by
Christ on the Cross. Paul's use in this context pictures God blotting
out and totally erasing our certificate of debt (our sin debt).
To understand the word exaleipho is to understand the
amazing mercy and lovingkindness of God. The substance on which
ancient documents were written was either papyrus, a kind of paper
made of the pith of the bulrush, or vellum, a substance made of the
skins of animals. Both were fairly expensive and certainly could not
be wasted. Ancient ink had no acid in it; it lay on the surface of the
paper and did not, as modern ink usually does, bite into it. Sometimes
a scribe, to save paper, used papyrus or vellum that had already been
written upon. When he did that, he took a sponge and wiped off the
writing. Because it was only on the surface of the paper, the ink could be
wiped out as if it had never been! God, in his amazing mercy, banished
the record of our sins so completely that it was as if it had never
been; not a trace remained. Hallelujah!
So when God cancelled out our
debt it was accomplished completely and we need to receive and
understand this profound truth so that the enemy does not "hound" us
with "old sins" that God has completely blotted out! Are you having
trouble accepting the forgiveness of God over some sin you have
committed? Paul says that it is wiped completely off the slate so
forget what lies behind and press on to what lies ahead.
There are only 5 uses of
exaleipho in the NT...
(Peter to the Jewish audience that has just heard his sermon on the
Messiah) "Repent therefore and return, that your
may be wiped
away, in order that
times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."
Colossians 2:14 (note)
having 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.
Revelation 3:5 (note) 'He who
overcomes shall thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not
erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name
before My Father, and before His angels.
Revelation 7:17 (note) for the
Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall
guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every
tear from their eyes."
Revelation 21:4 (note) and He
shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer
be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or
pain; the first things have passed away."
There are 34 uses of
exaleipho in the
(Gen. 7:4, 23; 9:15;
Exod. 17:14; 32:32f; Lev. 14:42f, 48; Num. 5:23; 27:4; Deut. 9:14;
25:6, 19; 29:20; Jdg. 15:16; 21:17; 2 Ki. 14:27; 1 Chr. 29:4; Neh.
13:14; Ps. 9:5; 51:1, 9; 69:28; 109:13, 14; Pr 6:33; Isa. 43:25; Je
18:23; Ezek 9:8; 20:17; 22:30; 25:15; Hos. 11:9) Study the uses in
insight into the meaning of exaleipho...
Genesis 7:4 (Moses records God promise) For
after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and
forty nights; and I will
blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have
Genesis 9:15 and I will remember My covenant, which is between
Me and you (Noah) and every living creature of all flesh; and never
again shall the water become a flood to destroy (LXX
= exaleipho = blot out) all flesh.
Exodus 17:14 Then the LORD
said to Moses, "Write this in a book as a memorial, and recite it to
Joshua, that I will utterly blot out (LXX
= exaleipho) the memory of Amalek from under heaven."
Exodus 32:32 "But now, if
Thou wilt, forgive their sin-- and if not, please blot me
= exaleipho) from Thy book which Thou hast written!" 33 And the
LORD said to Moses, "Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot
him out (LXX
= exaleipho) of My book.
Leviticus 14:42 "Then they
shall take other stones and replace those stones; and he shall take
other plaster and replaster (Hebrew = tuach = to overspread,
overlay, coat, besmear;
= exaleipho) the house.
Numbers 5:23 'The priest
shall then write these curses on a scroll, and he shall wash
them off (Hebrew = machah = to wipe, wipe out;
= exaleipho) into the water of bitterness.
Deuteronomy 9:14 'Let Me
alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under
heaven; and I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than
Judges 21:17 And they said,
"There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, that a
tribe may not be blotted out (Hebrew = machah = to wipe, wipe
= exaleipho) from Israel.
Psalm 51:1 (After his sin with Bathsheba David prayed ) Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy
lovingkindness. According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out (LXX
=exaleipho) my transgressions. (Spurgeon's
writes - "My revolts, my
excesses, are all recorded against me; but, Lord, erase the lines.
Draw thy pen through the register. Obliterate the record, though now
it seems engraven in the rock for ever; many strokes of thy mercy may
be needed, to cut out the deep inscription, but then thou has a
multitude of mercies, and therefore, I beseech thee, erase my sins.")
Psalm 51:9 Hide Thy
face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. (Spurgeon's
Psalm 69:28 May they be
blotted out of the book of life, And may they not be recorded with
the righteous. (Spurgeon's
Isaiah 43:25 (God declares) "I, even I, am the One Who
=exaleipho) your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not
remember your sins."
Jesus completely obliterated and
wiped out our "certificate
of debt consisting of decrees against us". When someone had a debt
in ancient times and it was paid off, they would write "Tetelestai"
on the certificate of debt. Tetelestai meant PAID
IN FULL and is the same word Jesus uttered ("It is
finished") just before He died (Jn 19:30).
When the Jews nailed Jesus to the cross they drove the nails into
their own law. The old covenant was made obsolete by the blood of the
The meaning here is, that the burdensome requirements of the Mosaic
law are abolished, and that its necessity is superseded by the death
of Christ. His death had the same effect, in reference to those
ordinances, as if they had been blotted from the statute-book. This it
did by fulfilling them, by introducing a more perfect system, and by
rendering their observance no longer necessary, since all that they
were designed to typify had been now accomplished in a better way.
CERTIFICATE OF DEBT: to
kath hemon cheirographon: (Col 2:20; Esther 3:12; 8:8; Lk 1:6;
Eph 2:14, 15, 16; Heb 7:18; 8:13; 9:9,10; 10:8,9)
in the Word)
the handwriting of the
note (bond) (Amplified)...
Webster says a "bond"
is an an interest-bearing certificate of public or private
of debt (5498)
from cheir = hand + grapho = write) is literally
handwriting or a handwritten document and then a written record of a
debt such as a promissory note. A document is written in one's own
hand as a proof of obligation, e.g., a note of indebtedness. The word
means primarily a bond written by a person pledging himself to make
Friberg writes that
figuratively in the only NT use in Colossians 2:14 cheirographon refers not to
the law itself, but to the record
of charges (for breaking God's law), which stood against us and which
God symbolically removed by "nailing it to the cross," handwritten
account, record of debts (Friberg,
T., Friberg, B., & Miller, N. F. Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New
Testament. Baker Academic)
Thayer writes that
specifically, a note of hand, or
writing in which one acknowledges that money has either been deposited
with him or lent to him by another, to he returned at an appointed
TDNT writes that in
Colossians 2:14 cheirographon means
a “promissory note.” God cancels
the bond that lies to our charge. This bond is not a compact with the
devil, as in some patristic exegesis. It is the debt that we have
incurred with God. The forgiveness of sins (Col 2:13-note)
through identification with Christ in his vicarious death and
resurrection means that this note is cancelled; God has set it aside
and nailed it to the cross. (Kittel,
G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the
New Testament. Eerdmans)
For example, in Philemon we find
an "IOU" Paul writing
Paul, am writing this with my own hand, I will repay it (not to
mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well). (Philemon
The idea is that of list of our crimes or moral debt
before God, a debt no imperfect person can completely pay. But it can
be taken out of the way, by payment from a perfect man, Jesus Christ.
then described a note or bond written by hand thus obligating the
writer to fulfill the debt that is written out. In other words it is
analogous to an "IOU" signed by hand and obligating the signer to
repay the debt. Paul's idea seems to be that the sins of mankind had
piled up a list of "I.O.U.'s" so large that they could never be
repaid. Paul uses cheirographon not as the law itself,
but as the record of charges for breaking God's law and which
therefore stood against us.
When a criminal was crucified,
the charges against him were written down and nailed to his cross. In
this case, the charges against Christ encompassed the whole Law of God
because Christ was dying for all the sins of all the world (Gal
In the OT, when presented with God's Law, the Jews had agreed to obey
(e.g., Ex 19:8, 24:3,24:7).
In the New Testament we find the Gentiles while not the written Law,
did have the unwritten law in their hearts and the voice of conscience
speaking within (Ro 2:14, 15-note).
Men were in debt to God because of their sins and they knew it. There
was a self-confessed indictment against them, a charge-list which, as
it were, they themselves had signed and admitted as accurate. The debt
was impossible to pay, but God dealt with it; he had blotted it out
and cancelled the bond by nailing it to the cross. This is a vivid way
of saying that because Christ was nailed to the cross, our debt has
been completely forgiven.
adds that Paul's
allusion is probably to a written contract, in which we bind ourselves
to do any work, or to make a payment, and which remains in force
against us until the bond is cancelled. That might be done, either by
blotting out the names, or by drawing lines through it, or, as appears
to have been practiced in the East, by driving a nail through it.
Martin Luther told once how
Satan laid heavy condemnation on him because of his sins. Luther told
Satan to list them all, and even reminded him of some he had
forgotten. Then he told Satan to write across the whole list "paid in
full by the blood of Jesus Christ," and Luther rejoiced in the payment
Jesus made. We all need an attitude like that of Luther and must keep
the list on the cross. Saints get into trouble when they take the list
down from the cross and carry it around, forgetting that it was all
settled on the almighty cross.
Here Paul describes the
"certificate of debt" that was filed against us in the "courtroom of
heaven". In other words, because of our sin and rebellion, the laws of
God had become a "deadly witness" against us and we were in such deep
debt to God that there was no way out.
We owed a debt we could never
He paid a debt He did not owe!
And Did My Savior Bleed?
drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
'Tis all that I can do!
OF DECREES AGAINST US AND WHICH WAS HOSTILE TO US: kath hemon...tois
dogmasin o en (3SIAI) hupenantion hemin:
this note with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and
stood against us (hostile to us) (Amp)
God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law
of Moses (CEV)
us (kath' hemon)
in the sense that we could not keep these decrees. The "certificate of
debt" signifies a claim of unpaid debt but "against
us" indicates that
it therefore signifies a debt warranting punishment. This hand writing
was against us and contrary to us for it threatened our eternal ruin.
(dogma from dokeo
= to think, to seem) refers to a formal statement concerning rules or
regulations that are to be observed. Public decrees, binding rules,
ordinances, legal demands, obligations, regulations. This Greek word
can refer to a formalized rule (or set of rules) prescribing what
people must observe. Dogma has the sense of a fixed and authoritative
decision or requirement (as in Acts 16:4).
There is another sense of dogma
which is not used in the NT and that is to refer to something taught
as an established tenet or statement of belief (ie, dogma).
A decree in English is an
order usually having the force of law. In the civil law, a decree
is a determination or judgment of the emperor on a suit between
parties. In general terms, the English meaning of decree is that of an
order, edict or law made by a superior as a rule to govern inferiors.
Dogma refers to a binding
law or edict which was placed on a public place for all to see and
this is the meaning in this use in Colossians. The
decrees of the Law not only convicted us and condemned us but also
demanded that we be punished. Thus the Law stood against
us and was hostile to us. This law is conceived here as
a bond, a bill of debt, standing against those who have not received
Christ. As the form of error at Colossae was largely Judaic, insisting
on the Jewish ceremonial law, the phrase is probably colored by this
fact. Cp [Eph 2:15].
Dogma - is used 5 times
in the NT...
Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from
Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
Acts 16:4 Now while they were passing through the cities, they were
delivering the decrees, which had been decided upon by the
apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem, for them to observe.
Acts 17:7 and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to
the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus."
Ephesians 2:15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law
of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He
might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace,
Colossians 2:14 having 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.
Hostile (5227) (hupenantios from hupó =
intensifies meaning +
= opposite to, contrary,
used by Matthew to describe the wind as contrary, Mt 14:24) literally means set over
against or opposite as an enemy or adversary in battle.
In the only other NT use, the
writer of Hebrews uses this word to describe God's adversaries
but a certain terrifying
expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the
adversaries. (see note
There are 24 uses of
hupenantios in the
(Ge 22:17; 24:60;
Exod. 1:10; 15:7; 23:27; 32:25; Lev. 26:16; Num. 10:9; Deut. 32:27;
Jos. 5:13; 2 Chr. 1:11; 20:29; 26:13; Est. 8:13; Job 13:24; 33:10; Ps.
74:10; Isa. 1:24; 26:11; 59:18; 63:18; 64:2; Lam. 2:4; Nah 1:2) A
uses are translated
as enemy or enemies.
Genesis 22:17 indeed I will
greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars
of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your
seed shall possess the gate of their enemies (Hebrew = ayab =
to be hostile, to be an enemy;
Vine adds that
“contrary, opposed,” is a
strengthened form of
in + antios = set against). The intensive force is due to the
preposition hupo. It is translated “contrary to,” in Col 2:14,
of ordinances; in Heb 10:27-note,
“adversaries.” In each place a more violent form of opposition is
suggested than in the case of enantios
Moulton and Milligan
The strong sense which Lightfoot
gives to this word in Col 2:14 (translating it as) “which was
directly opposed to us,” may be illustrated from an early second
century Will, P Oxy III. 49310, where it is enacted that no one
shall be permitted to set aside any of the provisions, or do anything
opposed to them
A vivid picture of the hostile
character or "active hostility" of the bond or note. Paul gives us a
parallel thought in Romans writing that
the Law brings about wrath, but where there is no law, neither is
there violation. (see
The decrees that were against us are in a sense personified - they
have a hostile
attitude, even a deep and active antagonism.
Maclaren adds that the
Law is against us, because it comes like a taskmaster, bidding us do,
but neither putting the inclination into our hearts nor the power into
our hands. And law is against us, because the revelation of
unfulfilled duty is the accusation of the defaulter, and a revelation
to him of his guilt. And law is against us, because it comes with
threatenings and foretastes of penalty and pain. Thus, as standard,
accuser, and avenger it is against us
HE HAS TAKEN
THEM OUT OF THE WAY HAVING NAILED IT TO THE CROSS: kai auto erken
(3SRAI) ek tou mesou proselosas (AAPMSN) auto to stauro:
This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside
and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.
fastening it to the cross (DRB)
(airo) means to lift up, to bear or to take away.
Airo was used by John in description of Jesus, writing
next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God
who takes away
the sin of the world! (Jn 1:29)
perfect tense speaks of a completed action in the past with
present effects and thus signifies that Jesus' once for all death on
the cross in the past has produced a permanent, eternally efficacious
effect, specifically in regard to the removal of the bond that once
was against us. The debt is permanently removed and cannot be
presented against us again! This truth also helps one understand how
it is that he is "complete in Christ" and protects one from persuasive
arguments and empty philosophy. John uses airo with a similar meaning
in in his first epistle writing
"And you know that He appeared in
order to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin." (1Jn 3:5)
Airo - 101x in NT - Matt.
4:6; 9:6, 16; 11:29; 13:12; 14:12, 20; 15:37; 16:24; 17:27; 20:14;
21:21, 43; 24:17f, 39; 25:28f; 27:32; Mk. 2:3, 9, 11f, 21; 4:15, 25;
6:8, 29, 43; 8:8, 19f, 34; 11:23; 13:15f; 15:21, 24; 16:18; Lk. 4:11;
5:24f; 6:29f; 8:12, 18; 9:3, 17, 23; 11:22, 52; 17:13, 31; 19:21f, 24,
26; 22:36; 23:18; Jn. 1:29; 2:16; 5:8ff; 8:59; 10:18, 24; 11:39, 41,
48; 15:2; 16:22; 17:15; 19:15, 31, 38; 20:1f, 13, 15; Acts 4:24; 8:33;
20:9; 21:11, 36; 22:22; 27:13, 17; 1 Co. 5:2; 6:15; Eph. 4:31; Col.
2:14; 1 Jn. 3:5; Rev. 10:5; 18:21
of the way is more
literally out of their midst and conveys the picture
that God wholly removed the certificate of debt. Parallel Old
Testament pictures include the declaration that God
hast cast all
my sins behind Thy back (Isa 38:17).
In Isaiah 44:22 God Himself declares
I have wiped out your transgressions like a thick cloud, and your sins
like a heavy mist. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.
records this beautiful description of our gracious and compassionate
God rhetorically asking
is a God like Thee, who pardons iniquity and passes over the
rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain
His anger forever, because He delights in unchanging love. He will
again have compassion on us. He will tread our iniquities under foot.
Yes, Thou wilt cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. (Micah
Eadie writes that...
He took them out of the way and they still remain out of the way...He
not only blotted out the writing upon it, but He has taken out of the
way the parchment itself. (Colossians
2:14, 15 In Depth Commentary)
(proseloo from prós = to + helos
= nail, peg, stud) means to affix with nails or spikes and describes
the manner in which Christ removed the "I.O.U." (handwriting) against
us. God nailed the Mosaic Law with all its decrees to the Cross of
Christ when Christ was nailed to the Cross taking upon Himself the
curse of the Law. The law with its decrees was abolished in Christ’s
death, as if crucified with Him. It was no longer in the midst, in the
foreground, as a debtor’s obligation is perpetually before him,
embarrassing his whole life.
Vine comments on "nailed"
the idea in the metaphor of the nailing is not that of the
cancellation of the bond, to which the taking out of the way was
subsequent, but of nailing up the removed thing in triumph to the
Cross. The death of Christ not only rendered the Law useless as a
means of salvation, but gave public demonstration that it was so.
It is said that there is an allusion here to the ancient method by
which a bond or obligation was cancelled, by driving a nail through
it, and affixing it to a post. This was practiced, says Grotius, in
Asia. In a somewhat similar manner, in our banks now, a sharp
instrument like the blade of a knife is driven through a check, making
a hole through it, and furnishing to the teller of the bank a sign or
evidence that it has been paid. If this be the meaning, then the
expression here denotes that the obligation of the Jewish institutions
ceased on the death of Jesus, as if he had taken them and nailed them
to his own cross, in the manner in which a bond was cancelled.
Another source however
It used to be said that in the ancient world when a law or an
ordinance was cancelled, it was fastened to a board and a nail was
driven clean through it. But it is doubtful if that was the case and
if that is the picture here. Rather it is this-on the Cross of Christ
the indictment that was against us was itself crucified. It was
executed and put clean out of the way, so that it might never be seen
again. Paul seems to have searched human activity to find a series of
pictures which would show how completely God in his mercy destroyed
the condemnation that was against us.
Eadie also gives a view somewhat different than Barnes
(above) writing that
The allusion is not to the tablet nailed to the cross above the
sufferer...but to the crucifixion of the Redeemer Himself. There seems
to be no historical ground for the illustration of Grotius, that it
was customary to thrust a nail through papers—declaring them old and
obsolete, much in the same way as a Bank of England note is punched
through the centre when declared to be no longer of value, and no
longer to be put into circulation. The idea of the apostle is, that
when Christ was nailed to the cross, the condemning power of the law
was nailed along with Him, and died with Him— “Now we are delivered
from the law, that being dead in which we were held.” Ro 7:6-note.
In other words, God exempts sinners from the sentence which they
merit, through the sufferings and death of Jesus. The implied doctrine
is, that the guilt of men was borne by Christ when He died—was laid on
Him by that God who by this method took the handwriting out of the
way. Jesus bore the sentence of the handwriting in Himself, and God
now remits its penalty; having forgiven you all your trespasses,
inasmuch as He has blotted out the hostile handwriting and taken it
out of the way, for He nailed it to the cross of His Son. (Colossians
2:14, 15 In Depth Commentary)
(stauros from hístemi = to stand) was an
instrument of capital punishment comprised of an upright pointed stake
often with a crossbeam above it or intersected by a crossbeam. Paul
had earlier taught on the efficacy of Christ crucified on the Cross
through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace
through the blood of His
through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Paul reminds us of the centrality of the Cross writing that
Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel, not in
cleverness of speech, that the
of Christ should not be made void. For the word of the
is to those who are perishing foolishness, but to us who are being
saved it is the power of God.
And to the Galatians Paul wrote
may it never be that I should
boast, except in the
of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified
to me, and I to the world."
REAL CHANGE - J. Vernon McGee told of a man who came to him and
said, “I’ll give you $100 if you will show me where the Sabbath day
has been changed.” McGee answered, “I don’t think it has been changed.
Saturday is Saturday, it is the seventh day of the week, and it is the
Sabbath day. I realize our calendar has been adjusted, and can be off
a few days, but we won’t even consider that point. The seventh day is
still Saturday, and it is still the Sabbath day.”
He got a gleam in his eye and said, “Then why don’t you keep the
Sabbath day if it hasn’t been changed?” McGee answered, “the DAY
hasn’t changed, but I have been changed. I’ve been given a new nature
now, I am joined to Christ; I am a part of the new creation. We
celebrate the first day because that is the day He rose from the
grave.” That is what it means that the ordinances have been nailed to
the cross, Col. 2:14.
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Harry Ironside - Why
Jesus Was Crucified - Pilate wrote out the inscription to be
placed over the head of Christ Jesus, and that in three languages,
Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, that all might know why the patient Sufferer
from Galilee was being publicly executed. "This is Jesus of Nazareth
the King of the Jews." As the people read this they understood that he
was being crucified because He made Himself a king and was thus
disloyal to Caesar.
But as God looked upon that cross His holy eye saw, as it were,
another inscription altogether. Nailed upon the rood above the head of
His blessed Son was the handwriting of ten ordinances given at Sinai.
It was because this law had been broken in every point that Jesus
poured out His blood, thus giving His life to redeem us from the curse
of the law. And so all of our sins have been settled for. There the
law, which we had so dishonored, has been magnified to the full in the
satisfaction which He made to the divine justice. Thus Christ has
become the end of the law to every one that believeth. It is of course
the Jewish believers Paul has in mind when he says "us," for Gentiles
were not under the law. But it is true now in principle for us all, to
whom the knowledge of the law has come. Christ has, by His death, met
every claim against us and cancelled the bond we could not pay.
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Our Daily Bread - More than four hundred years before
Jesus' birth, the Greek poet Agathon said, "Even God cannot change the
past." Historically speaking, he was right. What happens cannot be
undone. Yet when God sent His Son to die on the cross, He provided a
way to erase our sinful past.
Here is how Donald Grey Barnhouse described what Jesus did for us
Just as a hole in the ocean floor
would let sea water into the volcanic fires, creating force that could
blow the world apart, so the Lord Jesus Christ by dying and rising
again broke through the past and allowed eternity to pour in,
shattering, turning and overturning, changing, and altering all
things. He took the past of all believers and cleansed it by His blood
and transformed the life in such a way that the time-rooted life gave
way to life eternal.
The poet said, "I wish there were a land of beginning again." There
is. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin" (1
John 1:7). And the hymn writer said, "Calvary covers it all, my past
with its sin and stain; my guilt and despair Jesus took on Him there,
and Calvary covers it all."
This is the wonder of the gospel. For those who have accepted Christ's
offer of forgiveness, He "wiped out the handwriting of requirements
that was against us, . . . having nailed it to the cross" (Col. 2:14).
God has completely cleansed our sin-stained past. —P. R. Van Gorder (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
Salvation can change the worst
sinners into the most honored saints.
Paid in Full - The newspaper
article reported that a Utah businessman had filed for bankruptcy and
declared his debts to be $613 billion. It seemed ridiculous! What's
more, the man claimed assets of only $7,310. In other words, if all
debts were honored, his creditors would receive about one-millionth of
a cent on the dollar. There was no way he could begin to pay his
Sometimes I feel that's how I stand with God. Why should I even try to
pay the debt of love that I owe Him? The situation seems hopeless.
When I consider His demand of perfect righteousness, I feel totally
bankrupt and helpless.
But then I remember that my debt has been taken care of. Jesus the Son
of God shed His precious blood to pay the infinite price for my
countless sins. Now I'm free to pursue a relationship with God that is
motivated by gratitude and energized by the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is what Colossians 2 is all about. The law of God has declared us
spiritually bankrupt. But our great debt has been completely removed.
It has been paid in full by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary. We
are free. The only thing we owe now is an eternal debt of thanks and
praise to our wonderful Lord. — Mart De Haan (Our
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
But drops of grief can ne'er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
'Tis all that I can do! --Watts
Our salvation is free
because Christ paid an enormous price.
Octavius Winslow - Blotting
out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was
contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; -
The atonement of the blessed Redeemer was a full and entire blotting
out of the sins of the believer. Need we say anything upon the vast
importance of this truth? Need we say how closely it stands connected
with the peace, the sanctification, and the eternal glory of the
sinner that builds on Christ? The phraseology which the Holy Spirit
employs in announcing the doctrine of Divine forgiveness confirms the
statement we have made-"I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, your
transgressions, and, as a cloud, your sins: return unto me, for I have
redeemed you." Where would be the constraining-power of the motive to
"return to God," but on the ground of a full and entire blotting out
of all sin? This it is that subdues, overcomes, and wins back God's
wandering child. This it is that abases the soul, deepens the
conviction of its vileness, makes the sin of departure, of
ingratitude, of rebellion, so abhorred, when, on the broad basis of a
full and free blotting out of sin, God bids the soul "return"-"I have
blotted out all your sins, therefore return. Though you have gone
after other lovers-though you have departed from me, forgotten, and
forsaken me, yet have I blotted out, as a thick cloud, your
transgressions: return, for I have redeemed you." Again, "In those
days, and in that time, says the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be
sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they
shall not be found." "He will turn again, He will have compassion upon
us; He will subdue our iniquities; and You will cast all their sins
into the depths of the sea." What an astounding truth is contained in
these two passages! In the one it is declared, that if the iniquity of
Israel, and the sin of Judah, be sought for, they shall not be found.
So entire was the blotting out, so glorious was the work of Jesus, so
perfect His obedience, that if the eye of God's holy law searches-and
where can it not penetrate?-it cannot discover them. In the other, it
is declared, that, so fathomless are the depths of that sea of atoning
blood, which Christ has poured out, that in it are cast, never to be
found again, all the sins of the believer. So that the trembling soul
may exclaim, "You have, in love to my soul, delivered it from the pit
of corruption; for You have cast all my sins behind Your back."
Look up, you saints of God, who are disconsolate through fear of
condemnation. See all your sins charged to the account of your mighty
Surety. Yes, see them all laid upon Him as your substitute. See Him
bearing them away-sinking them in the ocean of His blood-casting them
behind His back. Look up and rejoice! Let not the indwelling of sin,
the remains of corruption, cause you to overlook this amazing
truth-the entire blotting out of all your sins, through the atoning
blood of your adorable Immanuel. It is truth, and it is your privilege
to live in the holy enjoyment of it. Fully received into the heart by
the teaching of the Holy Spirit, its tendency will be of the most
holy, sanctifying, abasing character. It will weaken the power of
sin-it will draw up the heart in pantings for Divine conformity-it
will deaden the influence of the objects of sense-expel the love of
the world and of self-impart tenderness to the conscience, and cause
the soul to go softly-"walking worthy of the Lord, unto all pleasing,
being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of