Colossians 2:13-15

Nailed to the Cross

God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has take it away, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13b-14 (NIV2011)

Found guilty, He was crucified. The notice nailed on the cross above His head declared, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” He died; the crime was paid for. He was buried.

But wait! There’s more … He rose from the dead. He conquered death. He is alive!

Paul made a direct connection between Jesus Christ and those who received Him as Lord (Colossians 2:6). We were dead in our sins (2:13). Guilty–no doubt about it. We were helpless to remove a single sin. But the notice nailed to Jesus’ cross had an invisible list attached–all the sins of the world. Written in blood across the list were these words: Paid in full by the death of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.

When in faith we were baptized in Christ’s name, we were buried with Him (2:12). When He rose from the dead, God cancelled our sins and made us alive with Jesus (2:13-14).

Paul described the heavenly scene on Resurrection Day: “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, [Jesus] made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (2:15).

However, although the power of sin and death was broken, on earth we still struggle against these unseen powers of darkness (Ephesians 6:11-12). We don’t see a sinless world, not even one sinless Christian. The devil, the Accuser, still comes and perches on our shoulders, where he hisses persuasive but powerless accusations.

But we don’t have to accept what he says. We can claim victory. As Horatio Spafford wrote in one of my favorite hymns:

My sin–oh, the bliss of this glorious thought–
My sin–not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

Can you sing,”Praise the Lord, O my soul, for all my sins have been nailed to the cross–even the ones I haven’t committed yet–because of the power of the cross”?


The KJV translates disarmed in Colossians 2:15 as spoiled. Christ spoiled the principalities and powers. This is a military term we hear used in “the victor took the spoils.” What did Christ take as spoils? Does that include you?

How can we face the Accuser with confidence according to Romans 8:1-11?

What analogy is used in James 5:7-8 to describe God’s patience to judge the world? How should we live in the meantime?

To read more of Spafford’s lyrics to “It Is Well with My Soul,” go to

Nancy J. Baker

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