Colossians 2:13-15 — What the Cross Accomplished

13 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,

14 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.

15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.

alive together with Him (v.13) — ties back to v.12

uncircumcision of your flesh (v.13) — separation from God by their carnal disposition and because they weren’t of Israel

having forgiven (v.13) = to grant a favor — from the same root word as that for “grace”

forgiven you all trespasses (v.13) — all that had alienated them from God

trespasses (v.13) = “a falling beside” — failing to follow the path set out for us by God

wiped out (v.14) = cancellation

handwriting of requirements (v.14) — the law — it was (1) expressed in commandments (2) “against us” — had a valid claim on us (3) “contrary” — hostile because we could not keep it

Law is against us, because it comes like a taskmaster, bidding us do, but neither putting the inclination into our hearts nor the power in our hands. And law is against us, because the revelation of unfulfilled duty is the accusation of the defaulter, and a revelation to him of his guilt. And law is against us, because it comes with threatenings and foretastes of penalty and pain. Thus, as standard, accuser, and avenger it is against us. — Wuest, page 208.

taken (v.14) — tense indicates action with abiding results

nailed it to the cross (v.14) — public demonstration

principalities and powers (v.15) — spiritual powers opposed to God

The principalities and authorities here are the same as in Ephesians 6:12, the demons of Satan in the atmosphere of this earth. Our Lord, after His death on the Cross, needed to present Himself at the heavenly Mercy Seat in His bloodless body glorified, as the great High Priest, thus completing the atonement, fulfilling the Old Testament type when the High Priest on the Day of Atonement killed the sacrifice at the Brazen Altar and then carried the blood into the Holy of Holies, sprinkling it on the Mercy Seat, thus completing in type the atonement for sin. In order to do this, our Lord had to pass through the kingdoms of Satan in the air. The demons offered opposition. He, stripping them off and away from Himself (apekduomai spoiled), displayed them boldly (deigmatizo, “to make and example of,” “made a show of”), leading them in triumph in it. These are the captives taken by our Lord in His ascension as He left the tomb (Ephesians 4:8). — Wuest, page 209.


triumphing (v.15) — The picture, one  quite familiar in the Roman world, is that of a triumphant general leading a parade of victory. The conquering warrior, riding at the front in his chariot, leads his troops through the streets of his home city. Behind them trails a wretched company of vanquished kings, officers, and soldiers — the spoils of battle. Christ, in this picture, is the conquering general; the principalities and powers are the vanquished enemy displayed as the spoils of battle before the entire universe. — Vaughan, page 81.

it (v.15) — the cross

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