Colossians 2:13-15 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, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.
Paul tells the believers they were made alive together with him. His emphasis on the resurrection of believers as an accomplished fact is important. “having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands” This bond was an IOU. And an IOU is issued in a debtor’s own handwriting to a creditor acknowledging a debt.
Sinners have broken God’s law and are in debt to God. And they know it. (Deuteronomy 27:14-26)
There was also a Jewish prayer, “Our Father, our king, in your great mercy cancel all our debts.”
Even the gentiles, who didn’t have the law or the written word, knew in their hearts, in their conscience, that they were wrong. (Romans 2:14-15)
Men were in debt to God because of sin and men knew it. But, then comes the next part of the verse. God blotted out, or wiped out that indictment. And amazingly He does it in such a way, it’s as if it had never been. There’s not a trace left!
Paul goes on: God took the indictment and nailed it to the cross of Christ. In the ancient world when a law or a decree or an ordinance was canceled it was fastened on a board by a nail.
Christ’s death changed us from being sinners to being sons of God. It gave us a new, clean, unblemished life. Paul goes on to say, Jesus disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them. When a Roman general defeated an army he would march them through the streets in pubic humility behind his own victorious army. Paul is thinking of Jesus as a triumphant conqueror, enjoying a kind of cosmic triumph and in His triumphant procession are the powers of evil, beaten for everyone to see. Sin is forgiven, evil is conquered.