Day 88: What Has Father God Done To Us and For Us In Christ?

Today, we consider one of the strangest passages in Paul’s writings. Father God, working in Christ, has set us free in every possible sense. When we understand what Paul is saying in this section of his letter to the Colossians, we will gain deeper insight into all that Christ has done to truly set us free from all that enslaves us.


Colossians 2:11-15
In Him [Christ] you also were circumcised—not, however, with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal of the fleshly body, that is, through the circumcision done by Christ. 2:12 Having been buried with Him in baptism, you also have been raised with Him through your faith in the power of God who raised Him from the dead. 2:13 And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He nevertheless made you alive with Him, having forgiven all your transgressions. 2:14 He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. 2:15 Disarming the rulers and authorities, He has made a public disgrace of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Do you have any idea what this “circumcision not performed by human hands” is in 2:11?

What does Paul say this circumcision done by Christ is the removal of in verse 11?

Who do you think the Ruler and Authorities are in 2:15? 

Without a doubt, this is one of the more difficult and strange passages in all of Paul’s writings. But there are also parts that should sound familiar to you. All of what Paul describes in 2:12-13 are truths that we covered in previous sessions in the last unit. We looked briefly at one part of this passage when talking about forgiveness in the last unit. 

Again, we see that what happened to Christ also happened to us because we are IN Him through faith. We have died with Christ and just as He was raised to new life—a new kind of life—so too have we. 

The two key topics that we want to focus on come at the beginning and the end of this paragraph:

  • We have been “spiritually circumcised” in Christ, and
  • Father God has disarmed or stripped and shamed the rulers and authorities, triumphing over them by the work of Christ. 

As I said, this is one of the stranger concepts in Paul’s writings and scholars have been wrestling with it for centuries! As you know, circumcision was a ritual and a sign that the Lord God gave to Abraham to literally mark his family as the family through whom the promises of redemption for all the families of the Earth would be worked out. But that is not what Paul is talking about here. This is something else entirely. 

Circumcision is basically cutting away a piece of flesh… (if you don’t know what circumcision entails, look it up, I am not going to explain it here!!!) This idea of “cutting away” connects to a term Paul uses in this text to link some ideas together. In verse 11, he talks about the “removal of the fleshly body.” Then in verse 15 he speaks of “disarming the rulers and authorities.” The term translated as “removal” and “disarming” is the same term and, in a literal sense, it was used to describe taking off or stripping off clothing

In this passage, we hear that this circumcision was not performed by human hands, but by Christ, or perhaps in Christ. Secondly, this circumcision is not the removal a piece of skin, but the stripping away of the fleshly body. What in the world is Paul talking about?

Although a strange concept, this idea of “spiritual circumcision” introduces a key set of truths that we will be exploring for the rest of this unit. The basic idea Paul teaches us is this: In Christ, we are now spiritually alive, spiritually reborn into a new way of life. But, our physical bodies are still held enslaved to the power and corruption of sin. In Christ, we have been “cut free” from the effects of sin still present in our bodies so that we can live the new kind of life Christ models for us and invites us into. 

Everything you just read is more than likely a new idea to you. Take a minute to re-read the Colossians passage. If these ideas are difficult to understand, pray, asking for insight. We will be discussing these ideas in more depth and detail as we go, so hang on, we have more to explain

*You can find a complete list of all the MilktoMeat readings here.

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