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Monday, March 7, 2011

Christ has Triumphed!!

In two days it will be Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent.  I've been reading the book of Colossians the last few days, and a passage in chapter two struck me today.  It's also appropriate for almost-Lent:

"When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.  And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (2:13-16)

For Israelites, being circumcised was the sign of their relationship and covenant with God.  It meant they were chosen by him and one of his own.  For Christians today, Baptism is a parallel sign of the same thing.  The passage is talking about how when we were dead--in our sins, and therefore not in a relationship with God--he gave us life, in Christ.  We were in debt to God because of our sins, that's what the "written code" is talking about.  All those regulations are the laws of God.  They're not bad, because they are necessary, but their purpose is to show us our sin and what we do wrong.  What Jesus did with his death was take that Law and fulfill it completely, because we as imperfect humans can't.  He took away the condemning Law from us, taking away our task of fulfilling it, and completed it himself.

What I love is the mental picture this passage gives, of Jesus nailing the Law to the cross, saying, "I'm going to take care of this so no one else has to."  Those "powers and authorities" are Satan and his evil angels.  Jesus took away all the power they have over us, and (in modern terms) he owned them.  That is to say, he humiliated them, took away their power, and conquered them entirely.  He has TRIUMPHED over sin!  And death!  And Satan himself!  One of my favorite Easter hymns begins, "Jesus lives, the victory is won!"

What that means is that sin, death, and Satan no longer have any power over those who belong to Jesus, including ME!  I sometimes forget that.  Sometimes I wallow in my guilt and shame.

But Jesus took it all away.  Yes, I sin daily.  But you know what?  I am already forgiven!!!!  Jesus has ALREADY paid the entire price for my sin!!  It no longer counts against me.  The second I say, "Jesus, I'm sorry, please forgive my sin," he replies, "My child, it's already been forgiven."

I am a saved, loved, and forgiven child of GOD!!!  May I dwell in the knowledge of that every day of my life.  Even as we begin Lent, a time of pondering what Christ suffered for our sakes, we need not wallow in our sin, guilt, and despair.  That makes the Good News of what Jesus did all about us, turning it into Law.  It's not about us.  It's about Him.  What he's done.  And what he's done is forgive us, destroy our sins and our debt, and give us new life and salvation.

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