And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross (Colossians 2:13-14).
What was nailed to the cross in Col. 2:14? Was it the law? First, we have to realize that the word "law," so prominant in many of Paul's letters, does not appear at all in the entire book of Colossians. Therefore, the heresy that Paul writes against in this book is not Jewish legalism, but Gnostic teaching about how to get closer to God that has infiltrated Colosae.
Next, let's look specifically at that verse. Above I have used the King James version. Let's look at a couple other translations.
having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (NASB).
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 (NIV).
But what does the Greek say? The Greek word here is cheirographon, which most commentators translate as a "certificate of indebtedness" or a "book containing the record of sin." In other words, God is not destoying the law, but the legal basis of our condemnation - the record of the sins we've committed. This, our sins, is what was nailed to the cross, just as Jesus was our sacrifice.
"What Paul is saying by this daring metaphor is that God has 'wiped out,' 'removed,' and 'nailed to the cross' through the body of Christ (which in a sesnse represents mankind's guilt), the cheirographon, the instrument for the remembrance of sin. The legal basis of this instrument was the 'binding statutes' (2:14), but what God destroyed on the cross was not the legal ground (law) for our entanglement into sin, but the written record of our sins. By destroying the record of sins, God removed the possibility of a charge ever being made again against those who have been forgiven." (Bacchiocchi, From Sabbath to Sunday, pg. 350.)
See also Colossians 2:13-17 for more information.
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