And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14 (ESV)
The crucifixion of Jesus on the cross is the central event in the history of mankind. Our measurement of time is even centered on the life and death of Christ; BC and AD. The cross was so central in the life and ministry of the apostle Paul that, even with all the revelation given to him by God, when visiting the Corinthian church decided to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).
What is the significance of the cross as it pertains to us? The death of Jesus on the cross cancelled the debt of sin in the lives of all those who would believe on his name. Just before his death, Jesus cried, “It is finished!” This phrase was a legal term used when a debtor had paid his debt. In ancient times when a debt was paid, a notice was attached to the doorpost of the debtor’s home that read, “Paid in full.” Those were the words Jesus spoke on the cross. To all who believe on his name the debt owed to God through sin, was paid in full by the blood of Jesus.
To who were we in debt? We were in debt to God for breaking his law. In Adam we had broken God’s law by sinning against it (Romans 5:12), therefore becoming indebted to God and under the curse of the law. Jesus paid our debt on the cross by bearing our sin and becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He in fact became sin that we might become the righteousness of God. Paul wrote, For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV)
Due to our sin we had sold ourselves into slavery; we were slaves of sin and in bondage to it. However, for us who have believed, Jesus redeemed (ransomed) or purchased us for God by the blood of his cross. Peter wrote, . . . knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of lamb without blemish or spot. (1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV)
The legal demands of our debt were that payment had to be made. Jesus became the payment for our debt by being nailed to a cross. The apostle Peter wrote, He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (1 Peter 2:24 ESV)
Jesus, the righteous, died for us, the unrighteous that he might bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). Because the debt or our sins has been cancelled by the blood sacrifice of Jesus we now stand justified, not guilty, and righteous before a holy and righteous God (Romans 3:24).
Have you believed on Christ? Has your debt been paid?
Scriptures for meditation: