Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.
6 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10 and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 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, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 15 He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
The Fundamental Truth of Christianity1
The most central, core, fundamental truth of Christianity is the gospel. The truth that Jesus paid all of the consequence of my sin is the most thrilling, freeing, affection-impacting truth in the universe. I want to celebrate that with you, so this week we are focusing on “Jesus paid it all” and next week we will consider “all to him I owe.”
Verses 13 and 14 provide the emphasis of Jesus paying it all, “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, 14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” I have six observations regarding these verses.
Six Observations of How Jesus Paid It All
1. We were dead in our trespasses and uncircumcision of our flesh. We have all done sinful things. These are our trespasses. They are not sinful things because of a majority view that they are sinful but because they contradict the character of God. Lying is a sin because God is true. Murder is a sin because God gives life. This is not some sort of arbitrary list or bag of morals but a reflection of the very character of God.
The “uncircumcision” of our flesh refers to the fact that our very nature is sinful. Circumcision was a ritual by which Israel cleansed themselves to be holy, to be set apart for God. We do not start out in life positive or neutral. Our very nature is an offense to God. We are “bent” in the wrong direction.
We are dead, meaning there is no flicker of spiritual life in us. There is no inclination towards God or truth apart from our own selfish, sinful impulses. Yet we are morally obligated to keep the law; morally obligated to be perfect.
2. As God’s image bearers, we are obligated to God to keep his law perfectly. We are morally obligated to be perfect. However, our failure to be perfect incurs debt. This is not a debt that can be paid in installments. This is not a debt like the latest credit card bills. It is a crushing, impossible debt that could not be paid were you the richest person in the world for a million years.
3. How did Jesus pay what we owed? He became a sacrifice. In the Old Testament, sin was passed ceremonially to the offering for sin. Jesus paid what we owed by dying in our place. Hebrews 9:11-14 explains it,
When Christ appeared as a high priest…he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls…sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.
Jesus became a propitiation—Jesus paid our debt by absorbing the wrath of God on our behalf. Hebrews 2:17 adds, “Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.” Jesus was able to become our propitiation and pay all of our debt because he became man.
4. What was the effect of Jesus paying what we owed? Jesus reconciled us to God. As the propitiation put forth on our behalf, God’s wrath was poured out on another. You do not necessarily love someone because you are not angry with them. However, in Christ, through his payment, we were transferred from being enemies to not enemies but objects of love. Romans 5:10 says, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”
Jesus redeemed us for God. Redeemed implies a captivity or bondage and a ransom paid. That is exactly what Jesus did. When we were in captivity, Jesus bought our freedom. This is next week’s sermon. What does this freedom mean? What does “all to Him I owe” mean?
5. How does this become ours? It is through faith. It is by believing in Jesus and all that he accomplished for us by paying our debt through his death and resurrection.
 Note: This text is not a full transcript but a summary of notes.