Posted by: The Simple Guy | October 29, 2010

What Was Nailed To The Cross?

I’ve been discussing Colossians with a friend at work.  He has come to the conviction that he must keep the Sabbath, and that it should be on Saturday.  Those who are teaching him have had various things to say, and I won’t get into all of that here.  But last week he gave me a paper about Colossians 2 that talked about what was actually nailed to the cross.

The argument went something like this:

Some people say that Colossians teaches that the law is of no effect, because Jesus nailed it to the cross.

Col 2:14 KJV
(14)  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

But the idea that the law has been done away with based on this verse, is a misunderstanding of what was intended.  You see, the law wasn’t nailed to the cross, but the record of debt.  In a crucifixion, two things were nailed to the cross.  The criminal, and the legal declaration of his guilt.  (This man is guilty of treason, or rape, or murder, etc)

So far, I agree with this line of reasoning.

The paper went on to say that since it wasn’t the law that was nailed to the cross, that we still must keep the law, and only those who do are saved.

Ok, now we have a problem.

When I get the chance to talk to my friend, I want to point out the straw man argument here.

No one is saying that Jesus nailed the law to the cross, and that it isn’t relevant anymore.

What we are saying, is that the law does in fact apply to every man.  The penalty for breaking the law is death.  Jesus did not break the law, yet paid the penalty.  I am identified with Him by faith.  He died my death.  The law has been satisfied fully on my behalf.  I cannot add one iota to Jesus’ satisfaction of the demands of the law.

It’s like this.  I owe a mortgage on my house.  If a rich relative died and left me a huge sum of money, by his death I am able to pay my debt.  My note would be paid in full.  So I would take the money I did not earn, put in my checking account, and write a check to the mortgage company for the full amount of my debt.  I would then receive from them a receipt that would say, “paid in full”  In addition, the deed to my house would then be free and clear.  If someone was to come up to me after the fact and ask me if I was still making a payment, I would be able to say, “no”  If they were to imply from my answer that I am a deadbeat and don’t believe in paying for my housing, they would be wrong.  I have demonstrated by applying my relative’s resources to the full amount that I do in fact believe in paying for housing.  But my house is paid for.  It would be absurd to keep making a payment.


This is what the paper’s argument essentially is.  The main stream teaching is not that the law is of no effect anymore, that it doesn’t apply.  The main stream teaching is that the law did apply to me, and I was hopelessly bankrupt.  But Jesus died in my place.   Now I don’t owe that lender anymore.

(By the way, when Jesus said, “It is finished”  He was in essence saying, “paid in full”)

It is absurd and insulting to Christ to attempt to continue making payments.  It insinuates that His payment wasn’t enough.

Let’s look at a different translation with a little more context:

Col 2:12-17 ESV
(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.
(16)  Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.
(17)  These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.

Any ideas why someone who believes we have to keep the Sabbath would feel the need to explain away this verse when we look at the broader context?  Hmm. . .

Any thoughts?






  1. For that no flesh is justified by the law it is evident, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
    If righteousness comes by the law, than Christ died in vain.

    And on and on we could go Craig. It always amazes me how people want to be under something that can only condemn then to eternal death. As Paul asked: “Do you not hear the law?”

    It is evident also, from scripture, that the Old Covenant Sabbath which was identified with, and commemerated the finished work of the old creation passed away with the institution of a “New Creation” on the first day of the week when Christ rose from the grave.

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