You Died 2,000 Years Ago

We Died in Christ

What possible connection can the dusty streets of Jerusalem in AD 30 have with our high-tech lives in AD 2021? In the age of TikTok, how does a naked, bloodied, and bruised body hanging on a wooden cross outside Jerusalem have any connection with my life? There seems to be a chasm—a geographical, chronological, and cultural chasm—between Christ’s death and our lives. How can we close the distance and connect with Christ’s cross? The apostle Paul builds a bridge for us in Colossians 2:11–12.

Philippians and Colossians

David Murray

This journey through the books of Philippians and Colossians includes 50 daily devotionals written by David Murray. Part of the StoryChanger Devotional series, this book features daily readings designed to help you learn, love, and live the Bible.

“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ” (Col. 2:11).

Christ was circumcised. Circumcision involved cutting off a small piece of flesh and throwing it away to die. Although designed by God to initiate entry into covenant relationship with him, here it’s used as a picture of Christ’s death. Not just a small piece of flesh, but his whole body was violently cut off and thrown aside to die.

We were circumcised with Christ. “In him you also were circumcised.” Believers were in Christ when he was circumcised (cut off to die) on Calvary. He represented them so perfectly that they are regarded as having been as present as he was and as circumcised (cut off to die) as he was.

Ours was a “circumcision made without hands.” Although Christ was physically cut off and cast aside, faith in Christ unites us with him so perfectly that we are regarded as circumcised, without suffering the same as he did by human hands.

“By putting off the body of the flesh.” When we are united to Christ by faith, we are to regard our bodies of sinful flesh as put off to die. Just as Christ’s sin-bearing body was cut off at Calvary, so the body of our sins is to be viewed as put off at Calvary. It’s not only Christ who was put to death on the cross; every believer and all our sins were killed there too.

Our eyes see one death on the cross;
our faith sees multiple deaths on the cross.

If I died in Christ, does that mean
I was buried with him too?

We Were Buried in Christ

“. . . having been buried with him in baptism” (Col. 2:12).

To baptize can mean to engulf, to overwhelm, or to dip. Here it refers to Christ’s overwhelming and engulfing experience of death, especially his burial. Believers participated not only in Christ’s death but also in his burial. We were so integrated with him that God sees us as having been entombed with him.

There is no closer union than that of the believer with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection.

Our eyes see Christ in a lifeless grave,
but our faith sees Christ in a life-giving grave.

If I died and was buried with Christ,
was I resurrected with him too?

We Were Raised with Christ

“In which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12).

We were crucified on Easter Friday, buried on Easter Saturday, and in the garden on Easter Sunday. There is no closer union than that of the believer with Christ in his death, burial, and resurrection. Just as Christ left death behind and started a whole new powerful life, so faith in Christ accomplishes the same thing for the believer.

Our eyes see one empty tomb,
but our faith sees our empty tomb.

This article is adapted from Philippians and Colossians: Stories of Joy and Identity by David Murray.

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