Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider the economy of God’s salvation as it is revealed in 2:13-15. As we shall see, this economy involves three things: making us alive with Christ, abolishing the ritual law, and stripping off the evil angelic powers.
Colossians 2:13 says, “And you, being dead in the offenses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all offenses.” The word dead here refers to the deadness in spirit because of sin. We who once were dead in offenses and in the uncircumcision of the flesh have been made alive together with Christ. This means that God has enlivened us in Christ’s resurrection with the divine life. What was accomplished in Christ’s resurrection (1 Pet. 1:3) is experienced through our faith. The first aspect in the economy of God’s salvation is that He has made us alive together with the resurrected Christ.
In verse 14 Paul goes on to say, “Wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us, which was contrary to us; and He has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” The Greek word rendered “wiping out” can also be translated blotting out, obliterating, erasing, or annulling (a decree of law). The Greek word rendered “handwriting” denotes a legal document, a bond. Here it refers to the written law. The ordinances, or decrees, refer to the ceremonial law with its rituals, the forms or ways of living and worship. These ordinances God has taken out of the way by nailing them to the cross. This is to abolish the law of the commandments in ordinances (Eph. 2:15). This kills the heresy of keeping the Judaistic rituals.
In verse 15 Paul continues, “Stripping off the rulers and the authorities, He made a display of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” The Greek for “stripping off” can also be rendered “putting off,” as in 3:9. The rulers and authorities spoken of in this verse are the angelic rulers and authorities. Because of the heretical teaching of angel-worship at Colosse, the passage here refers to the evil angels. The law was given through angels (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19). Based upon this, the heretical teachers at Colosse advocated the worship of angels (Col. 2:18) as mediators between God and man. Hence, the apostle dealt with this heresy by unveiling the fact that the law, consisting of ordinances, was nailed to the cross (v. 14), and the leading evil angels were stripped off from God. This left Christ as the sole Mediator, who is the Head of all rule and authority (v. 10). This kills the heresy of angel worship.
In verses 13, 14, and 15 the pronoun He refers to God in verse 12. The Greek word for make a display means show or exhibit in the sense of putting to an open shame. God openly shamed the evil angelic rulers and authorities on the cross and triumphed over them in it. The Greek words translated “in it” refer to the cross, but they can also be rendered in Him, referring to Christ.
It is not God’s intention that we keep the law, and He certainly does not want us to worship angels. God’s desire is to enliven human beings who are dead in offenses. In order to enliven us, He must put His very life into us. When His life comes into us, we are enlivened, made alive.
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