As with most great teachers, Paul uses a series of vivid pictures here to describe what God in Christ has done for us with the intention of demonstrating clearly that Christ has accomplished all that was needed: there is no need of anything or anyone else, He is the believers' all-in-all. The images Paul uses here are: 1. Without Christ, all people are completely helpless, just as if we were already dead, lifeless. Jesus Christ, through His act on the cross, has not only delivered all people from the power of sin, but also the consequences of sin. He performed a work of power, because He put life into those who were dead and a work of grace, because He reached out to every human, including all of us who had no reason to expects benefits, unmerited benefits, flowing from the heart of God. 2. Jesus wiped out the charge list which set out all our debts, our failings according to the Law. This is something which is absolutely vital for our present peace and future hope and is not something which could have been accomplished apart from a sinless man and He the Son of God. That is why those who deny the divine nature of Jesus are still trapped in their sins: they are unable to recognise the God-ness of their Saviour. God through Christ has wiped out the record of our shortcomings, it is like they have never been! As Paul states, God took the charge list and nailed it to the cross. In the ancient world, when a law was cancelled, it was fastened to a board and a nail was driven right through it. Even more so, in effect here, the charges that could justifiably be made against us were crucified with Christ on the cross! Please recognise how much it cost the Godhead to wipe out our sins, to demonstrate the fullness of the Divine Grace! As the great hymnwriter put it: 'The Immortal dies!' 3. The ancient world believed in many different layers and personnel within the spiritual realms, many of whom were out to destroy human lives. A few months ago, I watched a video of an elderly Priest exorcising a young woman. This Italian lady was very well-dressed and eloquent, had her family all around her: but when he began to pray, she became something very frightening and required several strong men to keep her from launching at the Priest. Don't ever forget that the evil one comes to destroy us, to take away every good thing and attribute we have, demonstrated in what he did to Job. Jesus has stripped these powers and authorities and made them His captives, putting them to public shame, just as a victorious Roman General did.
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