The Way We Were
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. NKJV
One of the great deceptions of Satan is he tells us that we are all OK. We are basically good and God’s won’t have a problem allowing us into heaven. Or he tells us that we don’t have to change, that God will get us in anyway. That God is not concerned about how we live.
A chaplain of a certain sports team got into a lot of trouble the other day. He was asked if Jews that didn’t know Jesus would go to hell. He sort of affirmed that to be true and now is he in trouble. That’s the problem with those chaplains, they just are too Christian.
Well I got news for everyone. If you don’t know Jesus, it doesn’t make a difference if you are a Jew or a Baptist, you will go to hell if you die that way. Getting to heaven is not a simple thing.
In the passage we are going to look at today Paul lists a number of things that are necessary in order for those who are truly Christians, that is those going to heaven.
I. The Circumcision of Christ, Putting off the Body of the Sins of the Flesh
A. Circumcision in the OT
1. It was the symbol of the covenant God made with Abraham.
2. It symbolized that they were not to be a people who followed all the fleshly desires seen in the nations around them.
3. They were to be to God a peculiar people separate and distinct from the world.
B. The circumcision of Christ
1. Where as the circumcision of Abraham was only a symbol of how they were to live.
2. In Jesus Christ, through the operation of the Holy Spirit God has destroyed the power that sin had over us.
3. The circumcision of Christ means that we can live victorious over sin and not allow it to control our lives.
4. In the OT there was a symbolic cutting off of the flesh but in Christ there is a real removal of the desires of the flesh as a power over our lives.
II. Raised with Him Through Faith in the Working of God, Buried with Him in Baptism
A. We have been raised up.
1. Jesus was crucified and buried but He arose from the dead.
2. Those of us who have died to sin have also been raised up.
B. You can only be resurrected if you have died.
1. Once we were dead in sin now Paul tells us in Rom 6 that we are now dead to sin.
C. Therefore we are dead to the old world.
1. We have died to our previous lives.
2. This is symbolized in our baptism.
a. A burial.
b. We testify to the world that we have died to the flesh.
3. Only those who have died to self are the proper candidates for baptism.
III. He Has Made Alive Together with Him, You, Being Dead in Your Trespasses
A. Eph 2:1 once we were dead in our sins, dead to God and spiritual life.
B. But God quickened us, He made us alive.
IV. Having Forgiven You, All Trespasses
A. Our sins were many.
1. Hate, greed, self-seeking, pride, cheating, lying, jealousy, laziness,
2. Isa 64 Everything we ever did good was tainted with the sin in our heart and disqualifies those works as filthy rags.
B. But He has forgiven us.
1. He provided the payment for our sins through the sacrifice of His son and therefore He forgave us.
V. Nailed the Handwriting of Requirements That Was Against Us to the Cross, the Handwriting of Requirements That Was Against Us Which Was Contrary to Us.
A. God keep track of every evil and sinful thing that you do.
1. Jesus said we would answer for even our evil words.
2. Matt 12:36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. NKJV
3. Every time you broke one of God’s commandments.
4. Even your thoughts will be judged by God’s standard in the day of judgment.
B. All of God’s commands are against us, contrary to us as Paul says.
1. God is holy and we are not.
2. We could never hope to make heaven if God counted even a hundredth of our sins against us.
C. But He nailed them to the cross.
1. He took our sins and placed them upon Jesus.
2. He died so that you and I might live for eterntiy.
VI. Triumphing over Principalities and Powers, Having Disarmed Them, He Made a Public Spectacle of Them, Them in It.
A. People in our intellectual age do not believe in principalities and powers.
B. But we were held captive by Satan.
1. We were the children of wrath, just as others. Eph 2:3
2. We had no power to escape and instead we were willing subjects.
3. And although for many of us, he made our lives miserable, yet we did not have the will-power to be set free.
C. But Jesus took us out of the kingdom of darkness and placed us in His kingdom.
1. He was victorious.
2. He has set us free, those who are in Him.
3. We are His freed slaves.
If you are a Christian, look at all that Jesus did for you. Praise His holy name that now you are a child of the King.
If you are not a Christian, look at all you need, look at where you are. You can never save yourself. Without Jesus you are condemned.
If you do not know if you are a Christian or not, consider the things in this passage. Have they happened to you?
Has your whole life been revolutionized?
Has Jesus given you power to resist sin in your life?
Have you been rescued?