Colossians 2:13-15. 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. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Things aren’t always what they appear to be are they? This is especially true in the cross of Christ. Every detail of the cross screams dereliction, defeat, and death. But is that actually what’s happening? Of course strictly on the physical plane, yes that is exactly what’s happening. But what about on the spiritual plane? Again, things aren’t always as they appear.
On the cross, it appeared that God was being triumphed over by the rulers and authorities. But things aren’t always as they appear. In Christ, God was triumphing over them. What looked like defeat was actually God’s greatest victory. What looked like the forces of evil marching God through the streets, forcing him to abdicate his throne, was actually God, in Christ, making his triumphant parade, taking his place on the throne of the universe. The cross becoming his coronation. What looked like God being disarmed and put to shame, was actually the greatest display of power and honor the world has ever seen. God’s impotence before the human rulers and authorities (Rome and the Jewish religious leaders) was actually his disarming and shaming of the cosmic forces of evil which stand against God and all he loves. On the cross, the naked and scorned Jesus, was stripping every other god naked and holding them up for contempt.
On the cross, it appeared that Jesus was found guilty and condemned by sin. But things aren’t always as they appear. The titulus nailed to the cross above his head reading “King of the Jews” declared his guilt to the surrounding crowds, but it declared his lordship to the horrified demons keeping watch over his death. What looked like Jesus being punished for his own sins and trespasses, was actually Christ our King cancelling our record of debt, setting it aside, and nailing it to the cross. Exchanging our deserved titulus for his own. Whatever crime you can imagine being displayed over your head as you hang in shame on your cross, now imagine it being replaced with “Jesus the King!”
On the cross, it appeared that the curse of the law’s perfection had finally won. That even the best of us could not escape the law’s damning demands for righteousness. But things aren’t always as they appear. What once judged us all into condemnation now has been set aside. The law offers us hope no longer. Only hindrance. It is Christ alone that saves. For Christ has cancelled each individual’s debt that the law’s accounting once mockingly dangled over each of our heads.
On the cross, it appeared that death had the final say. That mankind’s greatest enemy had seized the day. But things aren’t always as they appear. Christ arose!
And things aren’t always as they appear in our lives today, are they? We who were dead in our trespasses, God made alive together with him. It appears that we are suffocating in our sins. That our only way out of this world is through the nihilism of death. That all of our failures and faults are piling up against us for the great day of reckoning yet to come. It appears that all our trials, and struggles, and sorrows, and pain have no meaning. That they are pointless and endless.
But things aren’t always as they appear.
We are made alive with him. Do you understand what Paul is saying to us? What Christ is saying to us?
Here it is: we are presently living out of our future. What every student of the Old Testament knows is that we are not made alive until the final day of resurrection, at the Day of the Lord, when the Messiah returns to judge the world. But then comes the great plot twist in Christ – the future is here! We’re made alive together with Jesus right now! No waiting. No wondering. No fearing. No floundering. Just faith in this power of the resurrection that lives in us.
Now nothing is as it appears.
Your defeats are all victories.
Your trials are all triumphs.
Your pains are all promises.
Your weaknesses are all power.
Your losses are all gain.
Your humiliations are all honor.
Your faltering is all flourishing.
Your guilt is all glorious grace.
Your dying is all life.
“To live is Christ” has brought us into a whole new reality where nothing is as it appears. Where the cross of shame is the throne of glory. The criminal is our King. The King who has cancelled every debt and disarmed every enemy. Now nothing stands between us and our God.
How does the world/your life appear to you?
You in Christ
What does it mean that in Christ you have been made alive?
Christ in you
How can you “re-label” your life from what it appears to be to what it really is in Christ?
Playlist: Alive in Christ.