In Colossians chapter 2, verses 11 through 14, we see many things Jesus is willing to do for us. Jesus is willing to give us victory over sin: “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” (verse 11). Jesus is willing to be our substitute: “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. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses” (verses 12 and 13). Jesus is willing to cancel our debt: “by canceling the record of debt” (verse 14a). Jesus is willing to free us from the law’s demands: “that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross” (verse 14b).
Table of Contents
Jesus is willing to…
- Lesson one: ________ ____ victory over sin (Colossians 2:11, Romans 2:29).
- Lesson two: ____ ______ Substitute (Romans 6:3-4, 23, Acts 2:24, Colossians 2:12-13).
- Lesson three: ____________ ______ debt (Colossians 2:13-14a).
- Lesson four: ________ ____ from the law’s demands (Colossians 2:14b, John 16:8, Romans 3:21-28).
Family Worship Guide
Directions: Read the verses and then answer the following questions:
- Day one: Colossians 2:11, Romans 2:29. What did physical circumcision always prefigure? What does it mean that Jesus died for our salvation and sanctification? What is the difference between the two? Why can’t the law produce our sanctification any more than it can produce our salvation?
- Day two: Romans 6:3-4, 23, Acts 2:24, Colossians 2:12-13. Why do we need a substitute? In what ways is Jesus willing to serve as our Substitute? Why couldn’t the grave hold Christ? In other words, why couldn’t He remain dead? What does baptized mean? In what ways were we baptized into Christ? What does water baptism represent? In other words, what does water baptism demonstrate about our relationships with Christ?
- Day three: Colossians 2:13-14, John 16:8, Romans 3:21-28. Describe the debt that we owe God. How can this debt be paid? What does it look like for us to pay it? What did it look like for Jesus to pay it? What are trespasses; how are they different than other sins? How did Jesus free us from the law’s demands and what does this mean for us? Why does the Holy Spirit convict the world of righteousness, and what does this have to do with Jesus’s ascension? How are we justified, or declared righteous?
Sermon Notes for Jesus Is Willing to…
Title of this morning’s sermon is, “Jesus Is Willing.”
Go ahead and open your Bibles to Colossians 2: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians.
Over the last few weeks the sermons have been about baptism as we looked forward to today’s baptisms. Last week we talked about circumcision, and of course today is resurrection Sunday. So we’ve got:
- And resurrection
And beautifully all three are tied together in this morning’s verses. Let’s read Colossians 2:11-14 so you can see what I mean…
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, 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. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, 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.
In these verses we get to see some of the wonderful things Jesus is willing to do for us, and we’re going to talk about some of these things for the rest of the sermon.
First, reread verse 11 with me…
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,
We talked about this verse somewhat last week…
Circumcision was a sign of God’s covenant with the nation of Israel. Even though it was physical, the true and greater circumcision was spiritual: that of the heart.
That’s what Paul’s talking about in this verse:
- He says circumcision made without hands, which means it’s spiritual not physical
- He says putting off the flesh, but he doesn’t mean the physical flesh, he means the spiritual flesh, which tempts us to sin.
And this reveals what Jesus is willing to do for us…and brings us to Lesson 1…
Lesson one: Jesus is willing to give us victory over sin.
We’re told Jesus gives us this this spiritual circumcision and puts off our spiritual flesh.
When Jesus died and rose from the grave, as we celebrate today, He won a complete victory over sin:
- He not only died for our sins, and provided for our salvation
- He died unto sin, and provided for our sanctification.
What the law could not do, Jesus accomplished for us.
Listen to the way Paul explains it in Romans…
Romans 2:29 A Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, BY THE SPIRIT, NOT BY THE LETTER.
When it says not by the letter, it means not by the law. We experience victory over sin by the Spirit through our relationships with Christ, versus through our own effort.
Yes, we still sin, but we don’t need to be enslaved to its desires any longer. Sin’s power over us has been broken as we yield to Christ and walk in the power of the Spirit.
Now look at verse 12 and listen to the repetition of the phrase with him…
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. 13a And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together WITH HIM,
These verses are filled with the language of substitution:
- Buried with Him…
- Raised with Him…
- Made alive together with Him…
And this brings us to Lesson 2…
Lesson two: Jesus is willing to be our Substitute.
In verse 11 look at the words buried with Him in baptism.
Like we talked about last week, the word baptized means immersed. Listen to this verse…
1 Corinthians 10:2 All [the Israelites] were baptized into Moses.
The sounds odd, doesn’t it, to say the Israelites were baptized into Moses?
It’s referring to their close association, or immersion in him.
Spiritually we are baptized in, or immersed in, Christ. We have a close relationship with him after becoming believers.
Listen to the way Paul explains it in Romans 6…
Romans 6:3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
Do you hear the language of substitution again?
- When He died, it is as though we died
- When He was buried, it is as though we were buried
- When He was raised, it is as though we were raised
And after our spiritual baptism, or immersion in Christ has taken place, then there is supposed to be the physical baptism, or immersion with water.
Water baptism is an outward demonstration of what has already transpired inwardly. Another way to say it is…
Water baptism is a physical picture of what has already spiritually happened in the believer’s life:
- We died with Christ…
- We were buried with Him…
- And we were – spiritually speaking – raised with Him.
And let me explain why all of this is so significant…
Earlier I said we have victory over sin, but because we have still sinned, what is required of us…what is the punishment for our sin?
This is part of God’s justice: when there has been sin there must be an accompanying death.
But the good news, or gospel, is this:
- If Jesus is our Substitute…
- If we have been baptized, or immersed in Him…
- His death can be our death
- He dies in our place
The death that is required for our sins has taken place.
Let me help you appreciate this by asking you to imagine something…
Let’s say you love someone more than you can put into words:
- Maybe your spouse comes to mind
- Maybe your children come to mind
- If you’re a child, maybe your parents come to mind
And you know this person you love is going to be punished for their sin. So picture a courtroom with God as the judge, and the verdict is read that the person is going to have to suffer terribly. You quickly jump up and scream s loudly as you can, “I will take their place. I will suffer for their sins.” In other words, “I will be their substitute.”
Do you know what the judge, in this case God, is going to say to you?
“Who is going to be your substitute? Who is going to take the punishment you deserve? How could you take the punishment for someone else’s sins when you have your own sins to pay for?”
The only way someone could serve as a substitute is if they didn’t need a substitute. The only way someone could take the punishment for someone else’s sins, is if they didn’t have any sins that needed to be punished.
Or simply put…
The only way someone could serve as a substitute for someone else is if they were perfectly innocent and righteous.
Listen to what Peter said about Christ when he was preaching on the day of Pentecost…
Acts 2:24 God raised [Jesus] up, loosing the pangs of death, because IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE FOR HIM TO BE HELD BY IT.
Why would Peter say it was not possible for Jesus to be held by death, or in other words, for Him to remain dead?
Because Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death…but Jesus never sinned, so He couldn’t stay dead.
If we sin, we must die, and we stay dead. Death owns us. It is the just punishment for our sins.
But Jesus didn’t deserve to die, so this is why we celebrate His resurrection today. Like we sing…
Up from the grave he arose; with a mighty triumph o’er his foes; he arose a victor from the dark domain, and he lives forever, with his saints to reign. He arose! He arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!
God is perfectly just. Every sin must be punished. If even one sin escaped God’s judgment He would be mostly just, but He wouldn’t be perfectly just.
I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard this before, but every time we sin it goes on a record that God keeps and:
- We owe Him
- We are in debt to Him
But if Jesus is our Substitute, He died in our place, took the punishment that our sins deserve, and canceled our debt.
Look at this beautiful reality in the rest of verse 14…
Colossians 2:14a by canceling the record of debt that stood against us
This brings us to lesson three…
Lesson three: Jesus is willing to cancel our sin debt.
Our debt against God can be canceled, but let me get you to think about something…
Imagine you owe someone money, but the debt is never paid. We recognize that would not be right, or just. So here’s the question…
How could a perfectly holy and just God cancel our debt?
He could only do it one way…
The debt would have to be paid!
Jesus paid this debt when he died on the cross as our Substitute and took the punishment that our sins deserve.
This allows God to remain just, because our sins are still punished, or paid for.
To help you appreciate how extensive Christ’s sacrifice was for our sins, at the end of verse 13 notice it says…
Colossians 2:13b having forgiven us all our trespasses
You could look at this and say, “Why does it say trespasses versus sins?”
There are lots of different types of sins. Did you know you could sin accidentally or even unintentionally?
God has set a perfectly holy standard, and when we don’t keep it, even unknowingly, we are still sinning. It doesn’t stop being sin just because we didn’t know it was sinful.
- Don’t get drunk
- Don’t covet
- Don’t use His name in vain
Now maybe you didn’t know it was a sin to get drunk, covet, or use God’s name in vain. But when you did these things you were still sinning.
It’s like the person who was speeding when they didn’t know the speed limit. They were still speeding.
But here’s the thing…
You weren’t trespassing.
Trespasses are sins, and they are some of the worst, because they are committed intentionally. They are not committed in ignorance.
Think of when you trespass on someone’s property. You know it’s their property, and there’s a line that you’re not supposed to cross, but you cross anyway. That’s trespassing.
God’s law also draws lines for us, and when we deliberately step over the line, we are trespassing.
Now what’s my point?
Christ’s sacrifice is so great, and God is so gracious and merciful, that even our trespasses, or even those sins we deliberately, knowingly commit, are forgiven through Christ.
How wonderful is that?
Now look at the rest of verse 14…
Colossians 2:14b…with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
This is talking about the law, or that perfect holy standard we must keep to get to heaven in our own effort.
This can sound a little confusing, so let me read it in the Amplified, which explains it well…
Colossians 2:14 consisting of legal demands (i.e. the requirements found in the Mosaic Law which were violated. The debt is the punishment due for the violator’s sins) [which were in force] against us and which were hostile to us. And this certificate He has set aside and completely removed by nailing it to the cross.
Have you ever heard that Jesus took your sins and nailed them to the cross, so they’re taken away from you forever?
That’s true, and it would be equally true to say that Jesus took the law and nailed it to the cross, so that its requirements for salvation are taken away from you forever.
And this brings us to the next lesson…
Lesson four: Jesus is willing to free us from the law’s demands.
Let me explain what I mean when I say we are free from the law’s demands…
I don’t mean we can be lawless, as though there are no commands for us to obey.
1 John 3:4 sin is lawlessness.
Every time we sin we are breaking the law.
What I mean is Christ freed us from having to keep the law to be saved.
Did you know that there are two ways to be saved?
Hear me out before you label me a heretic.
The first way is by keeping the law perfectly, which means never sinning, or never disobeying any of God’s commands. Then you will have the perfect righteousness that is needed to go to heaven.
In all of human history, we have the record of one Person perfect, and righteous enough to do this, and that is Jesus.
Let me ask you a question…
Why did Jesus get to ascend to heaven?
The answer is not:
- Because he was special…even though He is special
- Because he was the Son of God…even though He is the Son of God
- Because He was the Messiah…even though He is the Messiah
He was able to go to heaven, because he had the righteousness required to enter heaven by keeping the law perfectly.
Listen to this…
John 16:8 When [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world…10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father.
This sounds odd, doesn’t it?
Jesus said the Holy Spirit convicts the world concerning righteousness because he goes to the father. What does that mean?
It means when Jesus ascended to the Father it revealed the righteousness that’s required to enter heaven. It was the righteousness He had, which was a perfect righteousness.
So let me ask you something very important…
Do you have this righteousness?
- Have you been perfect?
- Do you have the righteousness of Christ Himself?
If not, you better listen to the Holy Spirit’s conviction or you won’t go to heaven.
There are only two ways to have the required righteousness…
One way is keeping God’s law perfectly.
But we can’t do this, so we need a righteousness that is available – and this is important – apart from the law.
Let me show you how to have this righteousness apart from the law.
Turn to Romans 3, the first book after Acts. Look at verse 21…
Romans 3:21a But now the righteousness of God has been manifested APART FROM THE LAW
God has provided a way for us to be righteous that has nothing to do with the law, because we can’t keep it.
Look at verse 22…
Romans 3:22a the righteousness of God THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST for all who believe.
We can have this righteousness by faith in Christ.
Look at verse 28…
Romans 3:28 For we hold that one is justified BY FAITH APART FROM WORKS OF THE LAW.
Justified means declared righteous, and God says that we can be justified, or declared righteous, by faith.
This is the only way we can have the righteousness required to enter heaven…and Jesus is willing to give us this righteousness.
But I want to ask you to do something…
Look back at each of my lessons. They say Jesus is willing…versus Jesus has or Jesus did. I didn’t say:
- Jesus gave us victory over sin
- Jesus is our Substitute
- Jesus canceled our debt
- Jesus freed us from the law’s demands
Why didn’t I say this?
Because it might not be true for you!
Jesus is willing, but you must be willing to. You must be willing to:
- Acknowledge you’re a sinner
- Repent of your sins
- Put your faith in Christ to save you from your sins
If you’ve never done this, 2 Corinthians 6:2 says today is the day of salvation.
We have baptisms after service, as well as the introduction of some new members.
Please stick around for them, and if you’ve never surrendered your life to Christ, I would consider it a privilege to be able to speak to you.