EFFECTS OF THE CROSS 5 of 7
Col 2:11,12 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
Yesterday we considered Paul’s comment to the Galatians, about us putting to death our old sinful nature. We observed that that ‘old nature’ was self-centred and godless but that when we came to Christ we died to that life. Now that is the negative expression of what happened to us when we came to Christ: we walked away from that old life. Now today we consider the positive aspect of that same thing. We died to the old life but we were also raised to a new life.
Paul is talking about this same thing to the Colossians now, and instead of characterising that putting away of the old life as ‘crucifying’ it, he speaks about ‘circumcising’ it. It’s the same concept, just a different picture. The reason he does that, is that he has been warning against those who demanded circumcision, who demanded ongoing human rituals as part of salvation. Oh no, he says, you don’t have to worry about cutting bits off you, you’ve had the whole of your old life cut away. You pictured that by going down in the death-picture of baptism but the positive side of that was when you came up out of the water that pictured you being raised up to a new life. Just as God raised Christ from the dead, so He now raised you up and gives you a completely new life. Jesus’ body, in the tomb was utterly dead. It had no means of movement, there was no life in it. Then God came and raised it up, so it was the very power and presence of God that was now energising it. This, says Paul, is how you are to see your lives now, raised up by and energised by God.
THIS is what makes the Christian life so dynamic. It’s not a matter of following new rules or being religious. No, that’s what Paul was denouncing to the Colossians. It’s actually all about God coming and energising you with His powerful presence. It’s not about being nice, it’s about being godly because we are God-energised! We didn’t have the capability of being good or nice, or of keeping the rules. We proved that in our old life, characterised by failure and guilt, so God came and did what we weren’t capable of doing, He raised us up by His power and energised us to live new God-focused, God-directed lives. Every real Christian is a “resurrection-person”, a person walking and living after they have first died. This is an amazing concept that the Scriptures give us – of being bodies that are resurrected, living by the energising power of God. It’s not that we are ‘trying harder’ or ‘turning over a new leaf’; it’s that we are simply new people, raised up people, God-energised people!