V1111and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;. It is really amazing that you are perfect in Him. Now therefore it is understandable that the question arises: ‘How did I come in Him?’ Paul explains this in the verses we have before us now. You have become one with the Lord Jesus in His death and resurrection. By faith you must know that what happened to Him when He died and rose again has happened at the same moment with you too.
The word “circumcision” refers to a practice of the people of Israel in the Old Testament. God placed this as the sign of the covenant He made with Abraham and his descendants (Gen 17:9-14,23-279God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations.10This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised.11And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.12And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a [servant] who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants.13A [servant] who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.14But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”23Then Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all [the servants] who were born in his house and all who were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham’s household, and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the very same day, as God had said to him.24Now Abraham was ninety-nine years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.25And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.26In the very same day Abraham was circumcised, and Ishmael his son.27All the men of his household, who were born in the house or bought with money from a foreigner, were circumcised with him.). What happened then does not happen here again literally (“made without hands”) but it has a spiritual meaning. This circumcision took place "in the removal of the body of the flesh" and indeed at the very moment when “the circumcision of Christ” took place.
Circumcision means that something is cut off thoroughly. For the people of Israel that was the cutting away of the foreskin. Spiritually it means the body – a generic term for all that serves the sinful flesh to express itself – is totally cut off. This cutting away happened through the judgment the Lord Jesus suffered on the cross.
The circumcision of Christ has nothing to do with the literal circumcision that happened on the eighth day after His birth (Lk 2:2121And when eight days had passed, before His circumcision, His name was [then] called Jesus, the name given by the angel before He was conceived in the womb.). That circumcision happened with hands indeed. But the spiritual significance of circumcision is the judgment of the flesh. God in Christ condemned sin in the flesh (Rom 8:33For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God [did]: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and [as an offering] for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,).
You are also circumcised in Him. In the judgment He met, you see the judgment that you received. That He bore this judgment in your stead does not change the fact that it was executed on you. When God judged you, you were in Him.
V1212having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.. Your being one with Him does not stop with that. Death is followed by burial. Burial is the confirmation and the validation of death. Your burial in fact is the signature which certifies this statement. When you get baptized you declare publicly the truth that Christ bore the judgment for you. You show outwardly what happened in you inwardly. You draw the full consequences of your being one with Him by breaking all ties with the world at the very moment of your baptism. One cannot think of a more radical break with the world than being dead and buried. When you think of it, it will keep you from returning to the world and from its influences.
Through your conversion and baptism, and through your death and burial, you are no longer for the world. This marks the end of your old life and at the same time the beginning of a new life in a new world. You have entered into this new world “through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead”. The fact that God raised the Lord Jesus from the dead is proof that the work is done perfectly.
Everything is in order. Whether you feel that now or not the fact remains the same. The question now is not whether you feel, but whether you believe. As good as you see your own judgment in His judgment you may see your resurrection in His resurrection through God. Are you aware of how far reaching the consequences of your own connection with Christ are?
V1313When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,. Well you know now how you came to be in Him. But, how does it look now with all the things that you were, with all the sins you have committed before this time? Can they be held against you again? There is a sufficient answer to this question. That answer silences everything that exalts itself against your perfection in Christ.
You fully agree that you were “dead in your transgressions”. Dead in this instance means the total absence of any movement towards God. Also in this death there is nothing that is in tune with the benevolent desire of God. You were dead to God and thereby you were not concerned about God’s commandments, but you trespassed them. That was because you were dead in the uncircumcision of your flesh. You followed the affections of your sinful, unjudged flesh (Rom 8:6-76For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,7because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able [to do so],).
God brought life to you who belonged in this state of death and its evil way of life and mentality; and He brought you into relationship with His Son. God found perfect satisfaction in His work. He proved the fact that He raised the Lord Jesus from the dead. His resurrection and the fact that you have been made alive with Him is the assurance of the forgiveness of your sins. All sins are forgiven without exception.
The life of the Son and your life in Him give no room for a single question that can be raised regarding any sin that you ever committed. When you are made alive with Him all your sins are forgiven. Possession of life proves that sin is put away because it is the resurrection life. Sin cannot enter the area of resurrection.
V1414having 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.. At the end of verse 1313When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, Paul changes from ‘you’ to ‘us’. He now says something that is primarily intended for the Jews. It does not mean that it is not written for you. You will see that you received freedom in addition to life and forgiveness. But to understand the power of his words, it is important to bear in mind whereof he speaks in the first place.
The “certificate of debt” is written in the debtor’s own hand. That is exactly what Israel had done. When the Lord gave them the law (here called “decrees”) on Mount Sinai they declared: “All that the LORD has spoken we will do” (Exo 19:88All the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do!” And Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.; 24:3,73Then Moses came and recounted to the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do!”7Then he took the book of the covenant and read [it] in the hearing of the people; and they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient!”). Soon this declaration became their adversary. Very quickly it became clear that the conduct of their life was completely contrary to the statutes they wanted to keep. The law was an unbearable yoke (Acts 15:1010Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?). Their debt was still more burdensome and prohibitively large to pay.
Then Christ came. He paid the debt and wiped them out. He cleared the mortgage note and tore it up. One clears something which hinders his pathway or his work. This literally means to make something disappear completely so it doesn’t matter anymore. This is what happened on the cross. There you see that it did not happen by nailing something to the cross but by nailing Someone to the cross. The same word nail comes again to point out the print of the nails which was visible in His hands after His resurrection (Jn 20:2525So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”).
It must be clear to every Jew who believes in Christ that the death of Christ made the very requirement of the law powerless. How easier it is for him to breath now! The threat that comes from the law is over. He is made alive with Christ and therefore he should know by experience what kind of life he has received in Him – the kind of life that can be received in no other way.
What foolishness it would be to give it up and prefer to come under the law again? If you are not a Jew you never were under the law. But it is applicable to you also. What a folly it would be when you subject yourself again to what has been cleared away by Christ, even if the intention behind it could be out of gratitude!
V1515When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.. You are freed from the law because you are dead. You are saved from death because you have been made alive with Christ. And you are also saved from the power of satan and all his demons because the cross is the victory over the forces of evil. Life, liberty and victory are your portion in Christ. By going through death straight away He disarmed the one who had the power over death (Heb 2:1414Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,). He achieved victory before all eyes. The enemy is not only shut out but also humiliated.
There is not a single reason to pay him any honor. Honor belongs only to Him who was crucified in all weakness and overcame in this way. What is weaker and more humiliating than to hang on the cross? But thus He gained complete victory. The triumph is complete.
Now read Colossians 2:11-15 again.
Reflection: Count everything by which you are made one with Christ and what He has done for you. Give thanks to Him for it.