FREE TO CHANGE
"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. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him. "
// Colossians 2:13-15
What about when we feel condemned or ashamed, at the memory of our past (distant or recent)? What about the pressure we feel to become “better Christians” or to change, to stop doing certain things or to start doing other things? Is this the transformation process, and are those things part-and-parcel of living the ascended life? Do we need condemnation and shame to motivate our growth and change, or do those things actually stunt our growth in God?
Paul states that God has forgiven “us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us.” All trespasses are forgiven by God. All means all. Nothing is held against us; God canceled the record of our debt. Elsewhere, Paul wrote, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (see Romans 8:31). In God’s mind, nothing stands against us — even the mistakes of yesterday or this morning. No trespass, no mistake, no debt big or small, can impede our growth in God. All is canceled.
It’s not just the record of debt that God canceled, but also all of “its legal demands.” The pressure to change, the demand to become a different person, the inward condemnation — all “this He set aside, nailing it to the cross.” All of it is gone, set aside, which means it cannot interrupt your growth in change. None of it has the right any longer to insert itself into our lives, like a wagging finger, and demand us to be better because we’ve been so bad. We are free to transform and change, to become like Jesus, because we are moved and motivated by God’s love for us. We are free to become the kind of men and women we want to become; those who look just like Jesus.
Oh, and the bonus? The enemy doesn’t get a say, either! The enemy, who once enslaved us, who once used all his power and tyranny to oppress us, to make demands on our hearts and minds, to grind us down with condemnation — that selfsame enslaver has no say anymore. Why? Because “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.” God has shamed and triumphed over the one who used to shame you and triumph over you with his sadistic glee at your demise. God has shamed him, so that you and I don’t ever have to suffer at the hands of his shaming again.
God raised us up with Jesus, honoring us with His love as He does His Son, and put our enemy to an open shame while simultaneously nailing every record of debt and its legal demands onto His Son’s Cross. You and I are free to transform, to become the person God sees us to be, to be just like Jesus, all because we love Him and because we love freedom, truth, and righteousness! We are, now, already alive together with Christ, so let’s enjoy the life we have, the very life of Christ Himself!