The Brutal & the Beautiful

When looking at the cross, you most likely feel the weight of what Christ did for you. You feel the heaviness of your sin and shame upon Him. Your curse of spiritual death being paid.

Have you heard there is brutality and beauty in the cross of Christ? Because of His sacrifice for your sin and death, you understand the brutality, but the beauty part might not make sense. How can anything beautiful come from Christ’s suffering?

And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he made you alive with him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.” Colossians 2:13-15

Sit with me before the cross for a minute and think about the passage you just read. What stands out to you most? Is it the brutality of Christ’s suffering or are you able to spot the beauty within the text?

The Brutality

This passage first brings you to your sin, highlighting your spiritual death, sins, and separation from God. It’s heavy and hard to comprehend in full measure. It would cripple you if you could, perhaps even kill you. Yet, this is where most of us get stuck. Staring at our own sin and death, feeling guilty of what Christ has done for us. This is what shame does. It holds you to this part of the story.

Don’t miss the comma in that first sentence of the passage in Colossians – the break that changes everything. This is where the beauty lies.

The Beauty

By looking to Christ as your hope, He has made you alive with Him and forgave you of all your sins/trespasses! Though you were once dead, you are now alive. Though Christ did suffer the brutality of your sin and death, He did so freely because He loves you SO incredibly much that it was worth the suffering in order to give you life!

One of the most profound statements to me in the Bible is within these next two sentences. “He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligation, that was against [you] and opposed to [you], and has taken it away by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; he triumphed over them in him.” (Vs. 14-15 underline added)

Jesus didn’t temporarily remove your sin and death. He didn’t give you freedom but keeps the accounts of everything to throw it in your face later. His death wasn’t insufficient for any specific sin. Hear me – Jesus Christ erased your debt – your sin and death – for all of eternity! Erased means wiped out – nonexistent. There’s no record of your wrongs with Him. If you’ve chosen to follow Jesus Christ, you have been made holy and blameless (Eph 1:4, Eph 5:27, Col 1:22)

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

There’s no longer any attachment or obligation for you to live in sin or fear eternal spiritual death. As a child of the Living God, your allegiance is solely with the Lord, not man or Satan. Jesus removed it all and nailed it to the cross by way of His own body. He bore the certificate of debt you owed. It killed Him. And yet, because He’s God, He defeated your death and raised Himself up again, showing the power He has over it.

And with that power, He came after the enemy! He disarmed any rule or authority they had over you. He broke your chains and removed the disgrace you carried and transferred your chains of allegiance from the enemy to write your certificate of freedom in Him. He took you from a prisoner and made you a child of the One True God!

But He didn’t stop there. No, because of the suffering and oppression you faced under the rule of the evil ones, Jesus disgraced them publicly. He showed the world who the authority belongs to – Him, Jesus Christ! He took it back and is seated on the throne ruling over heaven and earth.

“But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.  He is now waiting until his enemies are made his footstool.” Hebrews 10:12-13

God alone could triumph over the power of the enemy, and He did! The curse of sin and death is broken. “It is finished!” John 19:30. The victory has been won.

You can stand blameless and holy before the Living God, your Father King, in confidence (Or, as Melanie Wilson calls it in her book, {Un}Silenced, “Godfidence.”

Look at the brutality of the cross. Take a moment to acknowledge the pain and brutal suffering Christ endured on your behalf, but don’t stay there. Don’t let that small part of the first sentence overcome you, because that is not where you belong. That’s not where the story ends.

Continue to look past the brutality to the beauty of the cross. Look at the gift of freedom Jesus offers you. Ponder the power He has coursing through His veins to erase all your debt, defeat the enemy, hold them accountable for your suffering, and then triumph over them. He signed your certificate of freedom in His blood and acquitted you before the Righteous Judge.

But He didn’t leave you in the court room. Instead, He walked you out of there and added another certificate to that of your freedom – a certificate of adoption. He gave you purpose and empowerment to be called a son or daughter of the Most-High God. He has become your Father and King.

This is where you should reside your thoughts. In your holy, blameless residence with your loving Father, and in the peace that He shall reign forevermore because you are free!

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