What Happened To Our Sin Debt?

March 29, 2024

“Having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14)

Yesterday we talked about two things that were nailed to the cross, along with Jesus, so that we might experience true forgiveness and redemption. The first was our sins and the next was our destiny. Today, we’re going to talk about the final thing that was nailed to the cross for us, and that is our shameful debt.

Paul is going the extra mile in today’s key passage to make sure that we really understand the transaction that took place at the cross and how valuable that nail was that went through his hand. The reason why we can be forgiven of all our sins is found in this next statement, “Having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14).  

The word for “legal indebtedness” is only used here in the entire New Testament. It literally means “something written with the hand” or what we refer to today as an “IOU.” It was then called a “record of debt.” It was used in two ways back in the day.

If you borrowed some money from someone you would write them out a certificate of debt in your own handwriting and you would sign it. It would be kept in the possession of the person who loaned you the money until you paid it back. 

It was also used as an indictment of a crime that you had committed. If you were imprisoned, your crime would be written out on this certificate of debt until you paid your debt to society, and at that point, you could go free, and the certificate would show that your debt had been paid.

That is what Paul means when he calls this record of debt something that “stood against us.” Paul was saying that all the way back to the beginning with Adam and Eve, every single person who has ever lived has broken God’s law. That means every single sin has to be paid for. 

There was this massive sin-debt that had been accumulating for thousands of years and the human race was running this massive spiritual deficit with God. Thankfully, all of that debt was nailed to the cross as well and was paid for in full.

Aren't you grateful your sin debt was paid for by Jesus on the cross?

Dear Lord, thank you for paying for my debt. Thank you for washing away my sins so that I might be a new creation in you. Help me not to live in shame anymore, for it is because of you that all my shame is gone, and I’ve been set free. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Topics: Sin

Bible Reference

by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.