Short Meditations for Easter on the Cross: 25. Made Innocent
Col 2:14 having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.
Wow! There is some imagery here that needs careful investigation. Notice first “the charge of our legal indebtedness”. The Living Bible speaks on this verse of, “the charges proved against you, the list of his commandments which you had not obeyed…. this list of sins” while the JBP version speaks of, “the damning evidence of broken laws and commandments which always hung over our heads,” and the Message version says, “Think of it! All sins forgiven, the slate wiped clean, that old arrest warrant cancelled and nailed to Christ’s cross.” What excellent attempts to expand and clarify this picture that Paul gives us.
Summarised, what we have is a reminder of the Law that we broke, whether it be in the simplest form – to love the Lord your God with all your heart – or in some specific way – failing to speak truth, desiring what others have, etc. God alone knows the full truth of the extent of our failures, but it was some sense of failure that brought us to Christ and whether it was conscience or conviction of the Spirit, we knew it was true, we were guilty.
So much of the time we human beings try to duck the truth, we pretend it is not so, we make excuses, or we cover it up with activity and busyness and making others appear worse that we are. We try to do it, but the truth is there, condemning us, whether or not we dare acknowledge it. We – mankind – are guilty. I have, in recent years, taken up reading a lot of history and what comes through again and again is our inability to live at peace with one another. It is the clear and obvious manifestation of Sin and we are all guilty.
It is this charge and this guilt that God has taken and dealt with. In the same way that debts in the past were cancelled by nailing them to the door of your property, so here Paul says, it is like God takes the Law, takes the list of our failures, and nails them to the cross so that they may die with His Son, because His Son has taken them all in this act of self-sacrifice by dying on the cross.
That list of charges stood against us and condemned us. No wonder we could never live righteous lives, we were too taken up with guilt and trying to duck it. But now that list of your sins and my sins has been attached to the cross where Jesus died, eternally linked to his death so that we are now declared innocent. It is so incredible that many of us still struggle to accept it that we, with all our sense of failure, can be declared innocent in God’s eyes and “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Read the whole of Rom 8:31-39) It IS true! Hallelujah!