Tuesday, December 5th, 2023
Scripture: Col. 2:12 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.
Teaching: Paul, in verses 9-12 (which is one sentence), is describing what it means to depend on Christ, and specifically, what Christ has done for us by our faith. First, in verse 10, Paul tells us that we are made complete in Him, and in Him we have no fear of death or the world, as Christ is the head of all Creation. Second, in verse 11, Paul connects circumcision, the physical sign of the Old Covenant, with a circumcision of the heart. Here, he is saying our hearts are changed, forever marked, by the indwelling of the Spirit that comes with faith. Now in verse 12, Paul connects the burial and resurrection of Christ with the act of baptism.
Baptism is a public declaration of what has already happened inwardly, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But more than that, it enables believers to follow Christ in a kind of burial and resurrection, going down under the water before being raised to life from it. It is a moment that is picturing our sins being washed away by the blood of Christ and our spiritual baptism by the Holy Spirit. The key part of this verse is this: “you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God.” Notice who holds the power and does the raising.
Takeaway: Baptism is not the work of a pastor or elder, it is the powerful working of God. While baptism is often conducted by a Church leader, the power of the baptism to wash away sins, change a heart, and begin a new life as a new creation is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. It is the Lord’s. In these three ways Paul describes in verses 10-12, Paul shows how we are made complete in Christ. There is nothing more needed. This will lead us into the next verses, as Paul will quash the false teaching in Colossae that contended that one needed Christ and something else.