And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.
a. And you, being dead: This is the place of every person before they are raised with Him through faith in the working of God as Paul described in Colossians 2:12. Before we have new life, we are dead. Before a person comes to new life in Jesus, they are not a sick man who needs a doctor; they are dead people who need a Savior.
b. Being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh: Before we have new life in Jesus, we are dead in our trespasses. A trespass is a specific kind of sin: overstepping a boundary. We are dead because we overstep God's boundaries in our sin and rebellion.
c. He has made alive together with Him: We can't make ourselves alive, but God can make us alive together with Jesus. We can never be made alive apart from Jesus.
i. The new birth (made alive) and cleansing (forgiven you all) go together as features of the New Covenant, as prophesied by the Old Testament (Ezekiel 36:25-27) and the New Testament (John 3:5).
ii. Having forgiven us is the ancient Greek word charizomai - a verb form of the ancient Greek word charis (grace). We are forgiven by grace.
d. Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us: The handwriting of requirements has in mind a list of our crimes or moral debt before God, a debt no imperfect person can completely pay. But it can be taken out of the way, by payment from a perfect man, Jesus Christ.
i. What a glorious picture! My "rap sheet" or "debit ledger" is settled forever, because Jesus nailed it to the cross.
ii. Martin Luther told once how Satan laid heavy condemnation on him because of his sins. Luther told Satan to list them all, and even reminded him of some he had forgotten. Then he told Satan to write across the whole list "paid in full by the blood of Jesus Christ," and Luther rejoiced in the payment Jesus made.
iii. Having nailed it to the cross: We must keep that list up on the cross. We get into trouble when we take that list down from the cross and carry it around. We forget that it was all settled at the cross.
e. Having disarmed principalities and powers: Another aspect of Jesus' work on the cross is that He disarmed principalities and powers. These ranks of hostile angelic beings (Romans 8:38, Ephesians 1:21, Ephesians 3:10, Ephesians 6:12) don't have the same weapons to use against Christians that they have against those who are not in Jesus.
i. Against the believer, what weapons do demonic spirits have? They are disarmed, except for their ability to deceive and to create fear. These are effective "weapons" that aren't tangible weapons at all.
ii. Demonic spirits only have power towards us that we grant them by believing their lies. The weapons are in our hands, not theirs. We will one-day see how afraid they were of us.
iii. Perhaps Satan, for a moment, thought that he had won at the cross. But Hell's greatest "victory" was turned into a defeat that disarmed every spiritual enemy who fights against those living under the light and power of the cross. The public spectacle of defeated demonic spirits makes their defeat all the more humiliating.
commentary by David Guzik