Col. 2:11-15 - A Heart Freed By Christ PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tim Black   
Saturday, 09 June 2007 15:24

Colossians 2:11-15
A Heart Freed by Christ”
Tim Black

  1. Introduction

    1. Issue

      1. Illustration

        1. Red-tailed hawk & rehabilitation program. For a time during high school I wanted to become a wildlife biologist, and study God’s amazing creatures in the wild. Because of this interest I had the privilege of accompanying a woman who rehabilitated injured wild animals on the day when she released a red-tailed hawk back into the wild. The hawk had been found with a broken wing, she had rehabilitated it, and now it was ready to be released. We drove to the top of a hill behind the town where I grew up, set the hawk’s cage among the wheat stubble some distance from the road, opened the door of the cage, and stepped back to watch it go free. The hawk stayed inside the cage for a minute, then stepped to the door of the cage, and realizing that the door was open and it was free to leave, the hawk spread its wings and flew to freedom. Now it was free again to live the way God made it to live. It was not made to live in a cage. It was made to fly.

      2. Explanation

        1. In salvation, God frees you from captivity to sin, and frees you to live the way He made you to live. A heart held captive to sin is like the hawk in the cage – it is held captive by an internal principle of sin like the hawk’s broken wing, by the legal guilt of sin like the laws that permitted the hawk to be kept in captivity, and the spiritual power of sin like the cage the held the hawk captive.

        2. The hawk was injured, and just like the hawk was injured, legally held captive, and kept in a cage, so you are held captive by the internal principle of sin, by the guilt of sin, and by the power of sin.

    2. Context

      1. Col. 2:8-10

        1. Do not be taken captive by a worldview that is according to the world

          • Its method of capture: “philosophy and empty deception”

          • Its source of knowledge: “traditions of men”

          • Its ultimate basis: “basic principles of the world”

        2. But rather, have a worldview that is according to Christ

          • Its ultimate basis: “in Him the fullness of deity dwells bodily”

          • Its source of knowledge: “you have been filled in Him”

          • Its method of freeing you: “who is the head of all rule and authority”

      2. Col. 2:11-23 says that you now have...

        1. A Heart Freed by Christ 11-15

        2. A Mind Freed by Christ 16-19

        3. A Life Freed by Christ 20-23

      3. So Col. 3:1-4 tells you to...

        1. Seek Christ with your heart 1

        2. Seek Christ with your mind 2

        3. Seek Christ with your life 3-4

    3. Summary of main points: A heart freed by Christ is a heart freed from the principle, the guilt, and the power of sin.

  1. Body: A Heart Freed by Christ...

    1. Is a heart freed from the principle of sin 11-12

      1. Through Circumcision 11

        1. Colossians 2:11 “In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ”

        2. This circumcision is “Not made by hands”

          • It is a spiritual, rather than physical, circumcision.

          • This spiritual change is what the sign signified.

            • At its institution: Gen. 17 – 2 sides of covenant: God’s commitment & man’s required response by faith

            • In Deuteronomy & Jeremiah it is called “heart circumcision”

              • * Deuteronomy 10:16 16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.

              • Deuteronomy 30:6 And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

              • Jeremiah 9:25-26 25 "Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh- 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart."

            • * And so Paul says in Romans 2:28-29 “28 For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.”

        3. This circumcision is more literally “the putting off of the body of flesh”

          • This is a decisive break with sin by means of a new heart

            • Formerly, your whole inner man, from your innermost heart of hearts to the outermost tips of your toes, was sinful, was evil.

            • Now, your heart has been changed. Your core. Sin remains in you, but it’s not the core of who you are anymore. And so Paul says it remains in your flesh. We call this remaining sin “indwelling sin” because of the way Paul speaks of it in Romans 7:

              • Romans 7:20-23 “20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.”

            • You see, you were not merely a red-tailed hawk with a broken wing in need of rehabilitation. Your condition was far worse. You were completely broken in your whole inner man, and you needed complete inner rehabilitation. Your heart was not just sick and in need of healing, not even just terminally ill, but it was dead, and in need of a complete heart transplant. There was a “law of sin” in you, a “principle of sin.” God put a wedge between your heart of hearts and this principle of sin within you when he gave you a new heart.

            • I’ve heard that often women who have been raped or who have committed a sexual sin will afterward go into the shower to try to wash away the evil, the sin, the dirtiness, of what they had just experienced. They wash, and wash, and wash, even for hours, but the stain doesn’t come off. Because it’s on the inside. The stain is not on the outside of their body, but the inside. Paul felt just this way about his sin in Romans 7:

                • Romans 7:24-25 “24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”

        4. This is a circumcision performed “By Christ”

          • I won’t leave you without Paul’s answer in the following verse: “25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul says the same thing here in Colossians. We are delivered from our body of death, from sin that dwells in us, “by the circumcision of Christ.” That is to say, this is a circumcision performed by Christ. He gives us a new heart that is not sinful in itself, and thereby drives a wedge between the core of our person and the sin that remains in us. He can cut out your old, evil heart, and give you a new, good heart. He alone can wash you on the inside, and make you clean. You tell me, “I need a clean break with the sin inside of me; I need to be clean on the inside.” Then you need the circumcision of Christ, and you need the baptism of Christ.

      2. Through Baptism 12

        1. Colossians 2:12 “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.”

        2. Buried with Him

          • God does not just take out your old, evil heart. He takes it out to kill it. And then He buries it. In fact, if you have received a new heart, then this verse tells you that amazingly, God put your old heart to death in Christ’s death, and buried it in Christ’s burial. You were buried with Him.

          • This is symbolized in baptism. Just as the water in baptism washes away dirt on the outside of your body, so God washed away the wretched dirtiness of your old heart when He put it to death on the cross and buried it in Christ’s grave.

          • This means your old heart is completely gone! It was buried with Christ.

        3. Raised to life with Him

          • After getting rid of your old heart, God brought your new heart to life within you by giving you faith in His power by which He raised Christ from the dead.

          • Through faith

            • Baptism is not made effectual in the person baptized except through faith

            • The new life we experience is received by faith

              • Faith’s passive side – completely trusting, resting in, and depending on Christ

              • Faith’s active side – it is the new functioning of the new heart.

          • In the working of God who raised Him from the dead

    2. Is a heart freed from the guilt of sin 13b-14

      1. Thereby God has freed you from the principle of sin. A heart freed by Christ is also a heart freed from the guilt of sin. We see this in vv. 13b-14:

        1. Colossians 2:13-14 “having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

      2. Trespasses”

        1. Have you seen a sign that says “No Trespassing” before? My parents’ house has a very long driveway that looks like a road, and so to keep people from driving down it they put up a sign that says “no trespassing.” Now we’re a friendly enough family that it’s ok for strangers to drive down our driveway, but the fact that my parents posted that sign does give them the right to tell someone that they don’t belong on our property. That they have “trespassed” into territory they don’t have a right to be in.

        2. Every time we sin, we “trespass” over the line of God’s law. We go where we shouldn’t go. We do what He has told us not to do. And so God has the full right to charge us with our crimes and punish us for them.

      3. Record of debt with its legal demands”

        1. And in fact, He has charged us with these crimes. There was a “record of debt” which demanded that we pay for the ways we have trespassed over the line of God’s law. That record stood against us, and we had no escape from its demands.

        2. Have you ever been pulled over by a policeman, and given a ticket? The policeman writes out the ticket as a record of your debt, and that ticket contains legal demands! Specifically, the ticket says that you have to pay the fine listed on the ticket, or appear in court, or you will be arrested. That is a record of debt with legal demands.

        3. Do you know that the ticket God has written out for your sins says not only that you deserve to pay a fine, or go to court, or be arrested, but it says that you deserve to die? It does. “The wages of sin is death.

        4. If this was the end of the story, my friend, even though you might remain free to roam in this world until the day of your death, you would not truly be free. You have that debt to pay hanging over you. The debt you will pay when you die. And so Hebrews tells us that unbelievers live their lives enslaved to the fear of death.

      4. Set aside”

        1. But God did not make you to be enslaved to the guilt of sin. He did not make you to be a red-tailed hawk condemned to sit in the rehabilitation center and never fly! He made you to experience the wonderful freedom of being righteous in His eyes, and holy in your walk before Him. And so Paul tells us here that God forgave our trespasses, He canceled the record of debt with its legal demands, and He set it aside, by nailing it to the cross. The way God did this was by sending Christ to die in your place on the cross. Christ fully paid the penalty you deserve. And because He received all the pain, and suffering, wrath, and torment—even the death—which you deserve, the charges against you have been dropped, the ticket has a big stamp on top of it that says “canceled” and it doesn’t stand between you and God anymore, and you don’t have to fear that future fine, or day in court, or arrest, or death penalty, ever again.

        2. Hebrews tells us that Christ took on our flesh, and our guilt, so that

          • Hebrews 2:14-15 through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.

        1. You are no longer in slavery to the guilt of sin. You’ve been set free. You’re free to go. To fly like you were made to fly. You’re not just free to go, but also to come to God without any guilt or shame, to delight in His presence, and to rejoice in all the blessings He gives you in life. Your heart is set free from the guilt of sin.

      1. Applications

        1. Do you sometimes worry that God won’t forgive you for a particular sin you’ve committed? You need to know that if you confess that sin to God and ask Him to forgive you, He will forgive you.

        2. Do you sometimes worry that if people found out about the evil things you’ve done, they would detest you; they would utterly reject you? Even if no one discovers your sins until they hear about them on the judgment day, do you worry that your guilty record will be an ugly black stain on the perfection of your joy in glory? You need to know that your ticket has been canceled. It does not apply to you anymore. It’s not on your record. And you know that because Christ died on the cross. He took the blame. He took the shame. He took the punishment. He became that ugly black stain of sin, because the Father willed Him to do it on our behalf.

          • 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

        3. Do you sometimes feel that even though you’re forgiven, even though the record of your debt has been canceled, there’s still a barrier between you and God because you have sinned against Him? There’s no fellowship, no delight, no freedom to come into God’s presence and know He’s listening to you? And know He loves you? Then you need to know that God has set aside the barrier that stood between you and Him. It’s gone. You really are free to come into His presence. The charges, the ticket, the punishment, is gone. God wants you near Him and He wants to delight in you. If He were a grandfather He would want you on His knee, so He could tell you His stories and you could ask Him your questions. He loves you! The barrier between you is gone.

        4. That’s what it means to have a heart set free from the guilt of sin.

    1. Is a heart freed from the power of sin 13a, 15

      1. A heart freed by Christ is not only freed from the principle and the guilt of sin, but it is also a heart freed from the power of sin. Paul says this in vv. 13A and 15:

        1. Colossians 2:13 “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him,”

        2. Colossians 2:15 “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.”

      2. Dead...made alive 13a

        1. Before God saved us by setting our heart free from the uncircumcision of our flesh, and setting us free from continually trespassing over the line of His law, Paul says we were “dead.” This means here that we were unable to change our evil condition. We were unable to change the evil in our hearts which he calls “the uncircumcision of our flesh,” and we were unable to change the evil in our actions which he terms our “trespasses.” Just like a dead man can’t make his own heart pump or get up and walk, we were “dead” in that we couldn’t stop our hearts or actions from being evil.

        2. But when God gave us a new heart He gave us a new life. He made us alive on the inside. And this new life on the inside is itself a new power. It is a power that counteracts the uncircumcision of our flesh, a power that counteracts the trespasses of our actions. In your new heart God has freed you from the power of sin.

      3. Disarmed...shame...triumphing over 15

        1. He has freed you from the power of sin within you, from the power of indwelling sin, the power of sin in your actions. But He has also freed you from the power of the sinful world which seeks to take you captive to the principle, the guilt, and the power of sin. God has freed you from this external power of sin in the world by Christ conquering those powers on the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities, and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them on the cross.

        2. Temptations – Christ conquered the ultimate temptation to not die on the cross

        3. Accusations – Christ was accused falsely, but bore the accusations we deserve

        4. Misery – He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. “4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)

        5. Death - Isaiah 53:9And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.

        6. Hell – though He descended into Hell, “he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.” (Acts 2:31)

        7. Control! At every point where the sinful world sought to master Christ, He proved Himself both Master and Savior, both Lord and Christ, as Peter said, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36)

        8. Christ’s death was not His defeat. It was His victory. The world did not control Him, but in His death and resurrection He demonstrated Himself to be the Master of the world, and its Savior. Paul says in 1 Cor. 2:8, “None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

  1. Application & Conclusion

    1. Now if Christ has conquered the power of sin on the inside of you, as well as on the outside by triumphing over the powers of this world, you should not let yourself be taken captive by the power of sin. Paul says in Gal. 4:8-9,

      1. Galatians 4:8-98 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

    2. The world will ask you to worship things which are not gods. The world will call you to believe in the basic elements it claims are at the root of everything else—the world will say the basic elements are earth, air, fire, water, molecules, atoms, subatomic particles, physical material, information, psychological drives, personal pleasure, prestige, money, success. It will ask you to worship these things, to depend on these things. It will make you feel guilty for not measuring up to the standards of the world, and make you wonder if real forgiveness and reconciliation is possible in this life. It will seek to take you captive, and keep you in its cage. And it will seek to convince you that you destined for punishment by God or by the powers and authorities of this world.

    3. The world would be right if one fact were not true. The fact is that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead to give you life. And because of Jesus Christ you have a new heart, you have a new record, and you have a new life. You have a heart set free by Christ, set free from the principle, and the guilt, and the power of sin.

    4. John 16:33:In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart,” Jesus says, “I have overcome the world.

    5. Heb. 2:8: Though “we do not yet see everything in subjection to” Christ,

    6. Rom. 8:21: in the end creation will “be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God

    7. Rom. 8:38-39: and so we know that in the present “neither death nor life,...nor rulers...nor powers,...nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    8. And because of that love even today “they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 June 2007 15:24