Risen, Quickened, and Forgiven
1. We saw earlier (in vs. 11-12a) that as believers, we were “cut off” with Christ—a spiritual circumcision.
a. Circumcision is used here as an illustration of death. It is similar to what Paul says in Rom. 6 – we were crucified with Christ… here he says we were circumcised with Him.
b. Thus, we share with Christ in His death—and the result is that our physical body has been cut off… severed from its former bondage to the sinful fleshly nature.
c. We are dead—and thus FREED from bondage to sin.
d. Our former master (the sin nature) has no jurisdiction over a dead man!
e. We USED to be a slave to sin, but not any more. The sin nature can no longer FORCE us to do his bidding.
f. Death severed us from that master… that old relationship has been cut off.
2. Paul states that this was because of spirit baptism which UNITES us with Christ in His death and burial.
a. Now we want to see that the same Spirit Baptism also unites us with Christ in His resurrection and ascension into heaven!
b. Because by faith we have been baptized INTO Christ’s Body… His death became our death. His resurrection also becomes our resurrection.
c. Just as his death (circumcision) cut us off from bondage to the world and the flesh… so too His resurrection brings us into a whole new realm spiritually—full of NEW capacities, privileges, power, and responsibilities… none of which were true for saints in ages past.
Risen With Him (Col. 2:12)
1. WHEREIN also ye are risen…
a. Wherein either means “in Him” or it refers back to Spirit baptism—which concepts are nearly identical in this context.
b. The simplest is to understand baptism as its antecedent.
c. In Spirit baptism, we were not only united with Christ in His death, but also in His resurrection!
d. Colossians tells us the FACT of our co-resurrection with Christ.
e. But it is the book of Ephesians which tells us the LOCATION to which we were raised.
• Eph. 2:5-6 – Our resurrection with Christ brings us up into heavenly places… at the moment of saving faith.
• We were not raised up to our previous earthly existence that we had in Adam, but rather to a new heavenly realm which is ours in Christ, the Second Adam.
• And in that realm, we are COMPLETE… blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in Christ. (Eph.1:3)
2. We have been raised into heavenly places NOW… not when we die.
a. When Paul says that ye are risen he is not talking about the future physical resurrection of our bodies.
• He is speaking about present spiritual resurrection of our souls and spirits which occurs at the moment of saving faith.
• We were raised up from spiritual death to spiritual LIFE!
• This is an illustration of a positional change which accompanies regeneration in saints of this age; the new birth; being born again.
b. We normally think of going to heaven when we die. It is our death that brings us into heaven. Paul states that it is actually the resurrection of Christ (and our identification with Him) that brings us into heaven… not our physical death!
c. Co-resurrection –
• This is a resurrection in which we SHARE in Christ’s resurrection by faith.
• This is not the future resurrection of our body, but is the present experience of every believer in Christ – the resurrection of our soul and spirit with Christ.
• We were raised up into heavenly places with Christ.
• Thus, we are not raised up to our former earthly position, but to a new sphere: heavenly.
• We are raised up as new creatures in Christ.
• Paul attempts to demonstrate in this chapter, that this new heavenly man is no longer subject to earthly ordinances.
• All such earthly ordinances are absolutely irrelevant to living the Christian life. (rituals; dietary laws; special days; etc). They are neither commanded nor forbidden.
d. This is our new position in Christ… and this new position brings with it, MANY new privileges.
• Because of the cross, we have access to God NOW…
• Access into the heavenly holy of holies NOW…
• Citizens of heaven NOW…
• Heaven is our dwelling place…
• And as we DWELL there by faith… set our affections there… abide there IN Christ the Vine…
• There we are FILLED with the fullness of God—His life, power, character… flows through us naturally.
e. Because of the cross, there is nothing between us and God, right now positionally.
f. We are perfectly ACCEPTED in the Beloved… and are able to dwell in His presence in the holy of holies with God NOW.
g. We don’t wait until we stand before God at the last day to find out whether we are accepted in His sight or not. We can know that NOW… and rest in it!
h. We have constant access to the Father… to the throne of grace… to the power of the resurrection… and to Christ our Great High Priest… our Source of grace, strength, and spiritual nourishment… all we need to walk in newness of life and bear fruit.
i. Rom. 6:4 – it is because we were RAISED up with Christ into this new realm that we are ABLE to walk in newness of life… to live the resurrected life… standards that are heaven high!
j. Our identification with Christ in His death broke the power of indwelling sin; our identification with Christ in His resurrection means that we now have been enabled to walk worthy of our high calling…
k. Col. 1:9 – We can now walk WORTHY of the Lord unto all pleasing… being fruitful…
l. Col. 1:10 – because we are raised up with Christ… the power of the resurrection is operating in us. We are thus strengthened with all might… according to HIS glorious power… the power that raised Jesus from the dead.
m. That’s plenty of power to deal with the issues in my life… and in yours!
3. Through the FAITH of the operation of God –
a. Paul has just described wonderful transactions that occur at the moment of saving faith: Spirit baptism; baptized in the Body of Christ; UNION with Christ; circumcised with Christ; cut off from bondage to the sin nature; our old man is dead; our old life is buried; we have been identified with Christ in His resurrection and thus have been raised up into heavenly places in Christ.
b. How does this all occur?
• God does all the work. He saves; He raises us up; He gives life; He dwells within.
• How does a man enter into this marvelous position and how does he acquire these wonderful privileges?
» But there is ONE responsibility on man’s part: FAITH!
• But what kind of faith? Faith in what? Faith in Whom?
» Faith in the power of God that raised up Jesus from the dead.
» Those who put their TRUST in the One who raised Jesus from the dead physically—THEY will be raised from the dead spiritually!
» “?If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved?” (?Rom. 10:9?)
» ?But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead.” (Rom. 4:24)
c. What is the operation of God?
• Operation: energy; operative, active power.
• It speaks of God’s resurrection power –
• It speaks of divine energy or power demonstrated by God in raising His Son from the dead.
• That was quite a display of power… power over Satan… power over sickness… power over death!
d. Paul’s point in vs. 12
• Those who BELIEVE in the One who raised Christ from the dead will be raised up WITH Christ!
• It is THROUGH FAITH in God’s resurrection power… the one who TRUSTS in God’s resurrection power will EXPERIENCE that power!
• The one who believes in God who has power over death will be raised up into heavenly places in Christ!
• Our part is faith. God does all the rest: Spirit baptism; regeneration; spiritual circumcision—a cutting off of our old man; spiritual resurrection—raising up of a new man!
4. Once saved, we are also SANCTIFIED through FAITH of the operation of God.
a. God wants us to BELIEVE (trust; rest; rely upon His Word). He wants us to believe that His power is operating in us… energizing us.
b. He said that as we walk worthy, we WILL be strengthened with ALL might according to His glorious power.
c. All God wants us to do is to BELIEVE Him! Trust Him that there is plenty of power to control your tongue… your anger… your attitude… etc.
d. As we fight our spiritual battles, it SEEMS like self fighting against sins… it FEELS like it is I who am fighting the battle….
e. When the Jews picked up their swords and shields and fought against their enemies, it sure FELT like it was THEY fighting the battle… and in a physical sense, it was. But it was the LORD who went before them and gave them the victory…
f. And in our lives it is GOD who gives the victory, who produces the fruit, who gives the increase, as we walk by faith.
g. God doesn’t want us to live by our FEELINGS, but by the FACTS: as we walk by faith—BELIEVE that GOD is WORKING in us both to will and to DO of His good pleasure.
h. BELIEVE – have faith in the operation of God to accomplish His perfect will in YOUR Life… and God will make you perfect to do His will… WORKING in you that which is well pleasing in His sight.
i. As we take that step of faith, BELIEVE that we are in fact ABLE to walk in newness of life, not because we are strong in ourselves, but because we are strong in the Lord and in the power of HIS might.
5. On the basis of the preceding FACTS (our co-death; co-burial; and co-resurrection with Christ), through faith we experience the operation (energy; power) of God in our lives.
a. This energy of God operating in us is the energy of divine indwelling LIFE—Christ in you, the hope of glory!
b. God operates in and through us… God works in us… God energizes us… His resurrection power flows through us…
c. All this occurs as we reckon upon these facts… trusting in them… believing what God said… and taking simple steps of faith accordingly.
d. As we walk by faith, trusting in the resurrection power of God, we EXPERIENCE the resurrection power of God in our lives!
e. God works in us ONLY when we trust Him and walk by faith.
f. As we trust in ourselves, He leaves us to ourselves. As we trust in Him, the operation of God… the resurrection power is made available to us… which assures us victory!
6. Eph. 1:19-20 – God wants us to KNOW experientially the exceeding greatness of His power… the power that He wrought in raising Jesus from the dead.
a. By faith we can have this experiential knowledge of the power of God working in us… giving us victory over our tongue… our anger… jealousy… pride… lust… that unforgiving spirit… covetousness… bitterness…
b. The power of the resurrection can be functioning in your life; in your home; in your marriage; in your testimony at work; in your mind and heart throughout the day; in the trials and tribulations of life; in our attitude toward circumstances; towards people;
c. So the next time you face temptation… remind yourself that you are COMPLETE in Christ.
• You are perfectly accepted in the Beloved.
• Regardless of how the temptation makes you FEEL, BELIEVE what God said: you are NOT a slave to sin. Sin shall NOT have dominion over you. You have been FREED from sin.
• Chains have been torn asunder: you don’t HAVE to sin… because your old man—who was a slave to sin DIED with Christ.
• You are now COMPLETE in Christ – a new creature in Christ—with new provisions for a victorious living.
• The Holy Spirit dwells within you: divine power available.
• The power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to you. You ARE able to walk in newness of life.
• The operation or energy of God will work IN you as you walk by faith… trusting that as we face our foe…
• It is my responsibility to dig in my heels and say NO to sin… and yet believing all the while that it is no longer I but Christ. It is GOD working in me both to will and to DO of His good pleasure.
• Take that step of faith and discover the REALITY of the operation of God in YOUR life!
• AS ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord (by grace through faith) so walk ye in Him!
• As we take that step of faith, it FEELS like it is I doing it all. But by faith I reject what my feelings tell me and I trust what God said. His power is operating in me whether I feel it or not.
• We are the TRUE circumcision… who worship God in the Spirit and have NO confidence in the flesh. No confidence in flesh… in self…
• We are to have no confidence in OUR ability to walk in newness of life… but ABSOLUTE confidence in God’s ability to hold us up and keep us going…
• And this confidence (faith) WILL hold us up and keep us going!
7. We have been raised up with Christ into a new sphere—into heavenly places—where the resurrection power of God and heavenly blessings are available to us—enabling us to live a resurrected life… if we walk by faith.
Quickened Together With Him (Col. 2:13)
1. Quickened – raise to life with, make alive with.
a. Aorist – past action; for the Colossians, and for every believer here today, this occurred at the moment of saving faith.
b. Sometimes the term is used of physical resurrection of the body.
• John 5:21 – ?For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
• Rom.4:17 – even God, who quickeneth the dead.
• The context has to determine what KIND of “making alive” is referred to… physical or spiritual.
c. In Col. 2:13, quickened speaks of spiritual resurrection… a dead one is made alive… quickened spiritually.
• Paul has just spoken of a spiritual circumcision, baptism, death, and now a spiritual resurrection… not the physical.
• This concept is virtually the equivalent of regeneration – the impartation of eternal life.
• John 5:24 – the one who believes passes from death to life. That is a spiritual resurrection…
• And he shall NOT come into condemnation!
» Just as physical resurrection is irreversible, so is spiritual resurrection irreversible.
» Once a person is born again, that new birth can NEVER be reversed.
» We cannot become unborn again… just as a person whose body has been resurrected into glory… into immortality can never revert to mortality – or he was NOT raised to immortality!
d. Sometimes regeneration is spoken of as a birth (born again)… sometimes regeneration is spoken of as a resurrection (raised up from the state of spiritual death to the state of spiritual life). Both speak of a new life.
e. Next Paul gives two REASONS given as to WHY believers need to be quickened… or made alive:
2. The first reason we need to be quickened: We were SPIRITUALLY DEAD.
a. Paul speaks in this context about spiritual baptism, spiritual circumcision, spiritual death, spiritual resurrection, and now spiritual death.
b. He is not talking about physical rituals or physical death or bodily resurrection.
c. Spiritual death defined: spiritual death is the condition of being separated from God: separated from His life, fellowship, and friendship.
d. Dead in sins: sin is the reason for our present condition of being separated from God. And ALL have sinned!
• In sins = speaks of a sphere; we are dead in the sphere of sin; that is the sphere or realm in which every unbeliever lives.
• The unbeliever walks around in physical life, but in the state of spiritual death… completely controlled by his depraved, fallen, fleshly nature, called SIN.
• He walks, breathes, and lives in the sphere of SIN.
• There is no escaping that sphere either, apart from spiritual resurrection; regeneration!
• One who is dead is unable to respond; one who is dead spiritually is unable to respond to spiritual stimuli.
• Spiritual things are foolishness to him. (I Cor. 2:14)
• He does not know or understand the spiritual sphere.
• The only realm he understands is the earthly, the things of the world and the flesh.
e. Sin separates us from God and from the spiritual realm (Isa. 59:1-2).
f. Spiritually dead in sins is the present state of every unbeliever.
g. And if that state remains unchanged, it ends in eternal death, a final and eternal separation from God.
h. John 8:24 – Unless a man believes during his earthly life, and he dies physically, he dies in his sins (spiritually dead)… and that ends in eternal death in the Lake of Fire.
3. The second reason we need to be quickened: We were SPIRITUALLY UNCIRCUMCISED.
a. Paul is writing to a church consisting primarily of Gentiles.
• One of the Old Testament descriptions of Gentiles was the uncircumcision. (Eph. 2:11-12)
• This spoke of Gentiles as having no covenant with God and no relationship to God.
• Gentiles were not related to Abraham, but traced their ancestry straight back to fallen Adam and his sin and condemnation.
• The uncircumcised Gentile had no hope and was without God in the world.
• It was a way of describing a person with no relationship to God… no knowledge of God… no hope.
• In the New Testament, Paul uses this common Old Testament expression to describe one who is not born again… one who has not been made alive in Christ.
• Uncircumcised is the same in meaning here as a non-Christian, an unbeliever, unregenerate.
b. Col. 2:13 – being spiritually uncircumcised is equated with being dead in your sins.”
• The opposite of spiritual death is spiritual life.
• Paul thus defines for us what he means by uncircumcision here: dead in sins; unregenerate.
• Thus, the one who is dead in sins needs LIFE.
c. Those who are spiritually uncircumcised have not had the flesh severed, and thus are still SLAVES to sin.
• The old man—who is a slave to sin has not been cut off… their old man has not been crucified.
• They are still a slave to sin. They have not yet been severed from that bondage to fallen human nature.
• The cross has not yet been applied by faith.
• They have neither been crucified with Christ nor circumcised… severed from the old relationship to the flesh.
• Those spiritually uncircumcised are what Paul calls the old man… the unregenerate man… lost and dead in sin.
d. Review: Two reasons why men need to be made alive:
• Men are spiritually dead in sins = speaks of sinful deeds… men are sinners by practice.
• Men are spiritually uncircumcised = speaks of a fallen nature. Men are sinners by nature.
• One speaks of the actual transgressions, while the other speaks of the nature that produced them.
4. The BASIS for the quickening (regeneration): FORGIVENESS
a. Forgive: this is not the most common term for forgive.
• The root of this term is the word for grace.
• It means to grace a person …
• It sometimes means to grace a person by showing favor; or by forgiving a debt; or here, by forgiving sins.
• God showered us with grace by forgiving the debt of ALL of our trespasses.
• God GRACED us… and the result was our sins are gone… if we have trusted Christ as our Savior.
b. Having forgiven you… aorist participle
• The aorist participle implies that this action precedes the action of the main verb(s): raised and quickened.
• Forgiveness of sins precedes raising us up and giving us life.
• Of course, this all occurs simultaneously the moment we put our faith in Christ.
• But theologically there is a chronology.
• Before God is ABLE to raise us up into heavenly places and give us new life in Christ, He must FIRST deal with the sin issue—for sin separates us from God.
• God did that on the cross of Calvary—where all of our sins were laid upon Christ and He bore the penalty FOR us… in our place… as our Substitute.
• The divine wrath and penalty for sin that should have fallen upon you and me, fell upon Christ.
• He shed His blood, the blood of the New Covenant for us, and that makes available TO us, the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant—including forgiveness of sins.
• God did not, could not, raise up the Old Testament saints into heavenly places, for they lived before the cross. They were God’s earthly people. The church is very different. We are God’s heavenly people and enjoy a position no Old Testament saint ever imagined!
• What a privilege it is to be IN Christ… identified with Him in His death on the cross and His resurrection into glory!
• Not until the sin question was settled could we be raised up into heavenly places in Christ.
c. The BASIS of Forgiveness = the Christ’s blood. (Matt. 26:28)
d. The GROUND of forgiveness = the grace of God (Eph.1:7)
e. The REQUIREMENT for forgiveness = faith (Acts 10:43; 13:38-39)
f. God’s ATTITUDE towards forgiveness = He’s ready! (Psalm 86:5)
g. Forgiveness speaks of freedom from the ultimate consequence of sin, namely, condemnation.
• Being spiritually raised up with Christ speaks of freedom from spiritual death caused by sin.
• Being spiritually circumcised speaks of freedom from the power of sin.
• Being forgiven speaks of freedom from the condemnation of sin.
• If we are in Christ, there is NO condemnation (Rom. 8:1).
• If we have been forgiven all of our sins have been removed as far as east is from the west. Who can lay anything to the charge of those forgiven? If all of our sins have been taken away, what charged can be leveled against us?
h. We were burdened by sin; weighed down by sin; dead in sins; Christ took this burden away by bearing our sins in his own body on the cross.
i. We are now raised up with Him and made alive in Him. Hence, we have left the burden of sin behind. We have the guilt, shame, condemnation, and dominion of sin behind.
5. The RESULTS of forgiveness
a. Christ FORGAVE us our sins.
• He didn’t cover them up but took them away.
• Isa. 1:18 – though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.
b. Christ forgave ALL trespasses.
• My sin not in part but the WHOLE… is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more… praise the Lord!
• Burdens are lifted at Calvary… because our sins are GONE!
c. Christ SATISFIED the Father’s justice. Hence, we are perfectly accepted; welcome in His presence; no reason to shy away.
d. The book of Hebrews speaks of some of our heavenly privileges as a result of being raised up with Christ.
• Heb. 3: 1 – we are partakers of a heavenly calling—as opposed to Israel, God’s earthly people who received an earthly calling to an earthly land and earthly promises.
• Heb. 10:19-22 – we have been raised up and enabled to enter into the heavenly holy place by faith… and draw near to God… nearer still nearer.
• We are thus able to experience the reality and the substance while Old Testament saints had merely the shadow.
• We are able to experience a closeness to God while Old Testament saints worshipped God at a distance.
• We are able to experience rest because of a purged conscience, while Old Testament saints could never enter into that rest… because they had to offer sacrifices repeatedly and without end… because they knew those sacrifices never really took away their sins.
• But because Christ provided FORGIVENESS… dealt with the sin question once and for all… eternally satisfied the Father’s justice… therefore we CAN draw near… all the way into the Holy of Holies with God!
• That which separated us from God has been REMOVED by Christ… and we can appropriate the benefits of it by FAITH.
• Christ paid the penalty for the sins of the whole world… including all my sins and all of yours too.
• HAVE you appropriated the benefits of His work on the cross by faith?
• Why not today? Why not right now?