Colossians 2:11—Circumcision "in
Him" fulfilled at the cross
The term "cut off' in Dan
9:26 is karath. The word was used to describe the circumcision of
the flesh of Moses' second son by his mother, Zipporah (Ex. 4:24).
The idea of a covenant is so called from the idea of cutting
animals apart and walking between the divided parts—Gen. 15:9, 10,
17, 18. God walked between those pieces and "made (or cut [karath])
a covenant with Abram." In doing this God was in effect saying,
"If I should fail in My promise to you, let Me be as this dead
carcass." He did not fail, but as our Surety, He became like
that dead carcass which typified Him. He was "cut off' as our
What would happen "in Christ," as God's
"Covenant for the people," was symbolized by the
circumcision in the flesh of all Israelite males (Gen. 17: 13).
Circumcision was of a very serious nature. The sentence of death was
pronounced on anyone refusing this rite. He "shall be cut off (karath) from his people; he has broken My covenant" (verse
This refusal constituted a similar denial of Christ' s death as
did Cain' s refusal to sacrifice a lamb.
Moses was stricken because
he neglected to circumcise his second son. Zipporah knew exactly why
her husband was cut down almost to death. She likewise knew the
remedy. And she "cut off the foreskin of her son" and thus
spared Moses' life. Consequent,
Moses became like a bridegroom in returning from his death-bed
experience (Exodus 4:24-26).
These Old Testament commands and
experiences were used by the "Pharisees that believed" as they
followed Paul and tried to convince Gentile converts to be circumcised
in order to be saved. They had Bible "proof" for the practice of
Paul always met the arguments for circumcision with
the mighty argument of the cross. Anyone practicing circumcision for
salvation had fallen from grace (Galatians 5:2-4, 11-13; 6:12-16).
In the second chapter of his letter
to the Colossians, Paul dealt with two problems facing that church. One
was rationalism (verse 8) and the other was an amalgamation between
Judaism and Paganism (verses 14-23) all of which were based on legalism.
Paul presented Christ as the answer to and the end of rationalism;
and also the answer and end of legalism (verses 9,10).13
was a figure of death and destruction. It was a shadow or type of
Christ's death. The real circumcision was when Christ was crucified,
i.e. "cut off" from life. Circumcision was forever. In the type,
the flesh that was cut off was gone for ever. It typified Christ's
death, which was equivalent to the second death.
"In Him you
were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by
putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, in the circumcision of
Christ" (Colossians 2:11).
Galatians 2:20—Crucified with Christ, yet
Present Christian life is based on the past fact of having
been crucified with Christ. Lit.: "I have been crucified
together with Christ."14
Christ died as our Representative and
Head, not as a private person. It is in this sense that we were
crucified with ("in") Him.
Faith rests on the fact that we were
crucified with Christ.
Romans 3:23-24—Justification by grace
Verse 23: "All" believers and nonbelievers
Two truths inherent in this statement. One we know
experientially: we have all personally sinned. The second truth is that
we were in Adam's loins when he sinned. This truth is illustrated by the
fact that we all die the first death.
Verse 24. The "All" mentioned
in verses 4, 9, 20, 22, 23—Jews and Gentiles (the whole world of
mankind)—"are being justified freely by His grace through the
redemption in Christ Jesus." This justification by grace (because
the grammar here includes "all"—both believer and
those justified by faith and those who have not believed unto
justification) is forensic or legal in nature.15
Redemption is in Christ Jesus
Justification came through the
redemption established and validated in Christ alone. The word
redemption used in verse 24 means to deliver, to loosen or to
liberate. It is the word used for setting free prisoners of war and for
emancipating slaves from bondage. There are two aspects of emancipation.
There is 1) the judicial act of emancipating and 2) the condition of
Romans 4:25-5:1—Justification in Christ
at the cross
The term "in Christ" is not present, but the
concept is. In Romans 4:25, in conjunction with the accusative case as the
object of the preposition, the word used there means "because
of" in both instances
of its usage. It gives the reason both for the delivering of Christ up
to, and for His resurrection from, death. The first is because of our
sins, the second because of our justification. That same word as used here is
retrospective, not prospective.
Christ's resurrection was predicated
upon the fact of our justification when Christ was delivered up for us
all. Justification is presented here as before the resurrection. This
would have to have been accomplished "in Christ" when He died
for us because of our sins. This thought of Christ' s death and our
justification is presented again in Romans 5:9, 16.
The resurrection, then, is evidence
of a prior justification. If there had been no justification at the
cross, in Christ, He would not have been raised from the dead, which
death was the penalty He took and consequently exhausted in behalf of
mankind in His role as the "last Adam."
Christ took the
condemnation which we merited, then was raised from the dead because of
the accomplished fact of our justification in Himself.
Romans 5:1—Peace through faith because of our justification in Christ at the
Out of the faith that receives the objective,
legal justification of Romans 4:25 we have peace toward God. This peace is
not mere feeling. Peace is the absence of war. The believer
stops fighting God.
Faith never creates
anything. It accepts that which already exists.17
Justification is a fact of
history, having been accomplished in the death of Christ. As
to being personally justified, faith reaches backward in
time to the person Christ Jesus and His justifying act and
receives the proffered gift (placed in man's hand for
acceptance or rejection).18
Justification and Reconciliation