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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, March 20, 2020

Colossians 2:13-15 (L 14)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                            Published: March 20, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).
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Welcome to HBS.

Let’s review:

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”  (Colossians 2:8-12)

In verse 2:8 Paul presented Christ Jesus, His teachings, His commands and His humanity as The Standard by which all things will be judged in righteousness.  This will take place in the future for the Body of Christ first at the Bema Seat Judgment and then the ungodly at the Great White Thone Judgment:

In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel” (Romans 2:16).

For we (true Believers) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;” (2 Timothy 4:1).

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them (unbelievers).  And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened,  which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books,  according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).

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Please open your Bible at Colossians 2:13-15.

“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; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” 

When Paul wrote this letter there were subtle yet dangerous false teachings threatening to subvert the spiritual unity of the Colossian church, i.e., drawing some of them away from the doctrines they had been taught.  In certain circles it’s known as “the Colossian heresy."  In verse 2:8 Paul said, “Beware” which is both a command and a warning.  He’s urging the Colossians to be ever vigilant because the heretical teachings were threatening to take root.  But here’s the notable thing, he didn’t prepare them for the “slippery slope” (dangers) that lie ahead by listing the false teachings.  Instead, he taught them who Christ Jesus is and who they are in relation to Him:

For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without (human) hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:” (2:9-10).

You see, they didn’t need to study the counterfeit teachings of these men, they simply needed to understand the truth because when truth is compared with false teaching the counterfeit is easily recognized.  However, many people are either unaware of the truth of God’s Word, dispensationaly speaking, or they choose to circumvent it.  I have a recent example I’ll share concerning the forgiveness of sin.  I received a message last week from a Christian friend saying they pray routinely for God to forgive them.  Please know this person is dutifully obeying the teachings they received from their church; I know because I attended the same church long ago.  In fact, we used to show up weekly, usually on Friday, to confess our sins to the parish priest and receive from him absolution, that is, forgiveness for you non-Catholics.  But is there any truth to this?  Not so much.  According to God’s Word, (in the dispensation of grace) all sin (past, present, and future) has been forgiven.  Let’s review a few Bible passages on the subject:

And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7).

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:" (Colossians 1:12-14).

Forgiveness for all our sin and the world’s for that matter was realized when Christ died on Calvary.  This good news wasn’t proclaimed until much later, but I’m getting ahead of this lesson in saying that.  The Bible clearly says that without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22).  Now some folks teach blanket salvation for all, which means you’re automatically saved.  There’s no need for you to do anything including altering your current lifestyle.  But that is another example of false teaching in this age.  Salvation is not automatically applied to one’s account.  The world’s sins have been forgiven, that’s true, but to appropriate God’s free gift of grace you must believe new and eternal life comes only by trusting Christ as your Savior, “For without faith it is impossible to please him” (Hebrews 11:6): 

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled (past tense) us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of
reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ,  reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19; Romans 5:8-11). 

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile (to restore harmony and/or peace) all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20).

Thus, my Christian friend doesn’t need to continually ask God for forgiveness and neither do we.  The sins of the world were purged by the shed blood of Christ Jesus.  This doesn’t mean we no longer sin, as some teach, because we most certainly do.  However, it does mean we are no longer enslaved to sin:

For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.  What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:20-23).   
With all that information in mind I believe we’re ready for verse 2:13:

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him (Christ), having forgiven (past-tense) you all trespasses;”

Here we see again the message of forgiveness which our apostle Paul communicated to the Colossians and every “new creature” eternally positioned in Christ Jesus.  All” means all my friends.  There isn’t one sin left uncovered by the shed blood of Christ.  I remind the group verses 2:10-13 speak of the Believer’s present standing before God the Father.  He doesn’t see us as we once were, enemies, destitute of faith, i.e., outside of Christ, and spiritually “dead in our sins…,” He sees us as we now are and that is eternally positioned in Christ Jesus and clothed in His righteousness:

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30).

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:21-22, 4:11, 5:1-11, 17, 19; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9).

Verse 2:14.

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;

If something is blocking your path, logic dictates it has to be removed in order for you to proceed.  What was against us?  Paul said it was “the handwriting of ordinances.  Both the Law and sin itself was against us.  The perfect Law of God wasn’t added because it could be kept in its entirety.  Scripture says the Law was added because of mankind’s  transgressions (Galatians 3:19).  The Law revealed God’s righteousness to mankind, and our inability to keep it because sin ruled over us.  So God sent His Son to do what mankind could not.  The Bible says Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to all them that believe (Romans 10:4).

That thought brings me back to my wayward Christian friend.  Over the years I earnestly tried to show them what God has said re: forgiveness, among other things, but they couldn’t or wouldn’t come to terms with it.  They couldn’t shake the notion they had to do something to maintain or retain their salvation.  This is true for many people.  They’ll tell you they believe Christ’s shed blood paid the penalty for their sin, but then say, “Now that I have a clean slate I need to keep it clean.”  Please take note of the usage of the word “I” in that statement; God is not found in it. 

That mindset reminds me of Chapter 11 bankruptcy because it works much the same way.  People experiencing financial hardship can file for bankruptcy which wipes their slate clean and provides them a fresh start or what I call a “do-over.”  In the game of golf I believe the term is a “mulligan.”  Now that they have a clean record, they operate on the notion they have to strive to keep it clean.  Their view on the shed blood of Christ is much the same.  They acknowledge their sins were wiped from their account once they believed on Christ Jesus’ perfect sacrifice, but here’s the thing, now that they have a clean record they feel the need to keep it clean by doing things for God.  So, I asked them at what point do you realize you’ve done enough good on your own to satisfy God.  Where do you find that number?  They didn’t know the answer and nobody does., but they keep on keeping on despite what the Scriptures, rightly divided, clearly say.

Verse 2:15:

And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

How were the principalities and powers spoiled?  The answer: by the resurrection of Christ.  Verses 2:12-14 helps us understand the operation of it.  Verse 2:15 clearly says Christ Jesus is the Victor, but when was He proclaimed victorious?  We find the answer in 2 Timothy 2:7-8:

Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.  Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to (what exactly?) my gospel:”

Christ was victorious over sin and death the moment He rose from the dead.  But His victory was not proclaimed until the risen and glorified Christ revealed the mystery to Paul (Ephesians 3:1-9).  He, as the apostle to the gentiles, proclaimed the necessity of the Cross of Christ and that it is wholly sufficient for one’s salvation in the Church Age not one thing needs to be added to it.  I mention this because if you’re denying Pauline doctrine then you’re denying the teachings of Christ Jesus and that’s an affront to God.   

That being said, I continue to encounter this mentality frequently what’s more I lived with it for years in my own home.  My ex-wife who believed more in leaving than cleaving had her mind set no matter what I showed her from God’s Word.  One day she looked at me and stubbornly said, That’s not the Jesus I know (or have been taught by my church), so I don’t want to hear any more and that goes for the phrase “rightly divided!” A few months after our divorce was finalized she told me one of the main reasons she filed for divorce is because I was an ultra-dispensationalist (this is a denominational church label applied to someone who rightly divides the Scriptures – 2 Timothy 2:15).  Said differently, I place too much emphasis on Paul.  I responded by directing her attention to Scripture:

If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.  But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” (1 Corinthians 14:37-38, 1 Corinthians 11:1).

Many religious people (my ex-wife included) take the Lord Jesus Christ as their pattern in life.  He’s their great example.  When difficulties arise, they ask themselves: “What would Jesus do?”  They also seek salvation by “walking in His steps.”  One of the popular verses they lean heavily on is the one that reads, “Deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me…” (Matthew 10:38, 16:24; Mark 8:34; and Luke 9:23) among others.  You’ll never hear me say the Lord’s moral and spiritual virtues aren’t worthy of our attention and emulation, but our apostle Paul wants us to know we cannot be saved by following Christ, or striving to live as He did (2 Corinthians 5:16).  His perfect holiness would only highlight our unrighteousness and serve to condemn us.  He came to save us, not by His life, but by His death:  Christ died for (all) our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3), and lost sinners are “reconciled to God by the death of His Son” (Romans 5:10). 

God has given us a pattern to follow in the Church Age for salvation and how to live a godly life.  Most of you know what I’m about to say before I get the words down on paper.  It is none other than the apostle Paul, “the chief of sinners” saved by God’s grace alone.  He was divinely inspired to write the following truth for our benefit:

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief (the first)” (1 Timothy 1:15).

In the next verse Paul tells us why God saved him: “Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting” (verse 16).

Saul/Paul of Tarsus was a religious zealot or traditionalist, but even with all his earthly accomplishments he had nothing to commend himself to God (Philippians 3:3-8).  He dedicated himself to arresting, persecuting, torturing, and killing those Jews who believed Jesus was the promised Messiah.  To him they were akin to a virus that needed to be eradicated.  From a perspective of divine justice, he deserved death.  But God did not take his life; He saved him.  And in saving him God commissioned him to be “the apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13) to preach the “gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:241 Corinthians 15:1-4) in which one is saved by faith alone apart from the Mosaic Law.  In addition to revealing this gospel by faith alone, God revealed several other doctrines to Paul He had kept hidden.  Paul called them secrets

Paul’s salvation and the revelations he received from the risen Lord were what Paul had reference to when he spoke of himself as “first.”  He was the “first of sinners” in the sense that God saved him to inaugurate a whole new program, in which he is the pattern for all them that follow.  As the “first,” Paul was God’s prototype.  To Paul, God revealed the “gospel of the grace of God” in which one is saved by simply believing that Christ died for one’s sins, was buried, and rose from the dead.  This gospel was entirely different from the “gospel of the kingdom” inaugurated by John the Baptist and Jesus (Matthew 3:1-24:179:35).  Consider the following: how was Peter saved?  Was it by believing Christ died for his sins, was buried, and rose from the dead?  Not so much.  Peter was saved by believing Jesus was the promised Messiah (Matthew 16:16-17; Acts 8:26-36).  Peter knew nothing of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Luke 18:31-34John 20:8-9) with respect to its eternal significance.  Martha was saved the same way (John 11:25-27).  

Compare that with how you are saved today?  Is it by believing Jesus is the Messiah the Son of God?  No.  People are saved today by believing Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 2:16, 16:25-27).  Who better to proclaim the grace of God to the then known world then Paul the one who first received it (Colossians 1:25-29).  Although people might only walk in accordance with the Light they’ve been given, once the Light of the gospel has been revealed to them to continue walking as before is, plainly said, an affront to God and His revealed will. 

Principalities and powers” are two names or titles given to spiritual forces, along with authorities and rulers, depending on how they are used in the context.  Here Paul’s saying Satan and his evil hordes were defeated by the Cross of Christ.  In Genesis 3:15 the LORD God said, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”  In other words, the day is coming, said the LORD to the devil, when you (not just your offspring) will be defeated and removed from the earth.  The offspring of the woman will bruise thy head (this speaks of a mortal wound) – Romans 16:20.  That decisive blow was struck by the Perfect offspring of the woman, Christ Jesus, when he died on the cross and rose again.  This is one of the reasons why God’s Son had to become a man; it was the offspring of the woman who would bring about Satan’s utter defeat.

Colossians 2:14-15 describe what God did for those who trust in His Son’s perfect sacrifice: 

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; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”  

The resurrection of Christ spoiled principalities and powers what’s more He shamed them openly when He rose victoriously from the dead on the third day, according to the Scriptures.   At that moment in time Satan was disarmed and defeated.  Disarmed of what?  Satan’s weapon of mass destruction was his accusation before God that mankind is guilty and deserves the death penalty.  When Christ rose victoriously that charge was nullified.  All those who trust in Christ’s shed blood for the forgiveness of sin are positioned eternally in Christ and have eternal life.  And Satan cannot separate them from the love of God, in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:37-39).  He’ll try, but he can’t.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written,  Death is swallowed up in victory.  O death, where is thy sting?  O grave, where is thy victory?  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:54-58).

(To be continued)

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