Corporate Solidarity—section 2

  1. Colossians 2:11—Circumcision "in Him" fulfilled at the cross

    1. 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).

    2. 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 Representative.

    3. 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).

    4. 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 14).

      1. This refusal constituted a similar denial of Christ' s death as did Cain' s refusal to sacrifice a lamb.

      2. 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).

      3. 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 circumcisjon.12

    5. 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).

    6. 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.

      1. Paul presented Christ as the answer to and the end of rationalism; and also the answer and end of legalism (verses 9,10).13

    7. Circumcision 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.

    8. "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).

  2. Galatians 2:20—Crucified with Christ, yet living

    1. Present Christian life is based on the past fact of having been crucified with Christ. Lit.: "I have been crucified together with Christ."14

    2. Christ died as our Representative and Head, not as a private person. It is in this sense that we were crucified with ("in") Him.

    3. Faith rests on the fact that we were crucified with Christ.

  3. Romans 3:23-24—Justification by grace in Christ

    1. Verse 23: "All" believers and nonbelievers without exception.

      1. 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.

    2. 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 non-believer—both those justified by faith and those who have not believed unto justification) is forensic or legal in nature.15

    3. Redemption is in Christ Jesus

      1. 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 being emancipated.16

  4. Romans 4:25-5:1—Justification in Christ at the cross

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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."

      1. Christ took the condemnation which we merited, then was raised from the dead because of the accomplished fact of our justification in Himself.

    4. Romans 5:1—Peace through faith because of our justification in Christ at the cross.

      1. 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.

      2. Faith never creates anything. It accepts that which already exists.17

      3. 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

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