Canceled Debt

Colossians 2:13, 14

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, 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.

Does that make you want to shout? It does me. Wooo hooo that’s good stuff right there! If you’re a believer in Jesus Christ, and you believe He died for you, and He’s the Savior of your soul, and that scripture doesn’t make you wanna shout, then there’s a problem. Perhaps you don’t understand fully what Paul is saying in this passage. Perhaps you have a hard time understanding scripture in general and all the words just run together. Perhaps you’re not fully aware of how wretched you were before Christ’s blood was spilled for your sin. There are many reasons why you wouldn’t want to shout after reading that scripture, but the fact remains that if you know Jesus as your Savior, you SHOULD want to shout!

Let’s look at the scripture and break it down a bit.

“When you were dead in your transgressions…” Before I came to know Jesus as my personal Savior, I was dead. I was living in a world controlled by Satan, doing his bidding everyday, and was completely unaware. The truth is, I was created by a Holy, loving God, and I had sinned against that perfect God. That sin created separation, it fractured our relationship, and I was eternally separated from my Creator. There is nothing I could do to restore that relationship. There is nothing I could do to get closer to God. There is no change in my behavior that could have made God love me more, for He already loved me as much as He could. But where sin is, Holy cannot be. I was a wretch and sentenced to death for my transgressions.

“…and the uncircumcision of your flesh…” In the old Testament, Jews were to be circumcised to show their allegiance to God. It was an outward symbol that they were God’s people. In this statement, Paul is referring to the time when I didn’t know Jesus. Before I was marked as His…

“…He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions…” The “He” in this is Jesus. When I was dead, Jesus made me alive with Him. How did He do that? My sin had eternally separated me from my Father, God. So how did Jesus make me alive in Him? By forgiving my transgressions! Jesus, the Son of God, the Holy One, the only righteous man to ever walk the planet, the One with no sin, DIED FOR MY SIN.

“…having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us…” How could one man’s death forgive all my sin? Not only my debt was forgiven, but the sin of the World was atoned for that day (John 1:29). Jesus’s death paid the price for my sin. His death bridged the gap between my wretched self and my Holy Father. Jesus’s death “canceled out the certificate of debt”! The debt that I owed, my sentence was death, was canceled by the death of Jesus. He was Holy and righteous, spotless and pure, and He became my sin and died my death. That death canceled my debt. The decrees that were hostile to me, keeping me in bondage and death, are gone!


“…and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” What has Jesus taken out of the way? My death sentence, sin, has been taken out of way. It has been nailed to the cross and it died with Jesus. So now, my way is clear. The way to what, you may ask? The way to God! I have direct access to my Father, no more hindrances lie in my path. Death has no sting, sin has no pull, and the path to righteousness is clearly laid before me.

Why oh why are we called to walk “by the Spirit” and to cling to righteousness? So we can be better people? So we can get a pat on the back or a “Best Christian” sticker? Or maybe it’s so God will love us more? No. Absolutely not. God didn’t send His only son to die for me so I could have a “good life” and He certainly didn’t do it so He could love me. We are called to walk in righteousness, to die to sin, to walk by the Spirit, to bring God glory. We are to show the world the love of Christ by showing them the transforming power of His blood. The blood poured out at Calvary was life-giving, live-saving blood. It was the sacrifice of all sacrifices, so that the entire world would know the love of God.

This scripture is telling us that anything that could stand in the way of us fulfilling our duty (showing the world the love of God) has been taken out of the way and has been nailed to the cross. It is not there anymore! I have absolutely no excuse, no valid reason, why the love of God doesn’t flow from me into others. I should exude mercy and grace and forgiveness because of the mercy and grace and forgiveness that’s been poured over me. We all should. I was a wretch, dead in my sin, when Jesus reached into my junk to love me. He reconciled me to my Father and stands there pleading my case as I type as my Mediator. He poured His Spirit into my heart to allow me to walk by it, holy and blameless, to bring glory to my Father and show the world His love for them.

The love that God has for His people is huge. And there is nothing we can ever do to change the amount of love He has for us. God’s Son didn’t die so He could love us, He died so we could have a relationship with our Father, our Creator in Heaven. He died so that the world would know of his undying love for His people, and be given the same gift of relationship with Him. He died so we could be free and love others with that same, undying love. We are free, no longer slaves to sin, because Jesus canceled our debt, He paid the price. But now we have a purpose and that purpose is to share His love, that forgiveness, to the world. It’s our duty. It’s our job. And he has removed the obstacles, we have no excuse.

Matthew 22:36-40New American Standard Bible (NASB)

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”