Were the Ten Commandments nailed to the Cross?
A Deeper Look at Colossians 2:13-15
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.
In Colossians 2:13-15, Paul wrote, “13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 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; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (KJV, emphasis mine throughout)
Many people use these verses to say that Christ nailed the Law of God or the entire Old Testament to the cross, including the Sabbath. In this verse, the phrase “handwriting of ordinances” is the Greek phrase choriegraphon dogma. Choreigraphon means a signed bill of indebtedness. Dogma means a man-made decree. This phrase refers to the self-admitted decree of our sin debt.
This is reinforced by the fact that the phrase “blotting out” means to erase something that is written. The newest version of the NIV words Colossians 2:13-14 this way:
“13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 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.”
We can see that newer translations have more properly rendered this verse. Clearly, the mention of our sins being forgiven in verse 13 and then the bill of indebtedness in verse 14 are linked.
The word of God mentions that a record of our deeds are kept in heaven (Revelation 20:12, Hosea 13:12, Nehemiah 13:14, Psalm 109:14). Christ erased our sin debt by nailing it to the cross. He erased the record of our sins! Revelation 12:10 explains that Satan is the accuser of the brethren. When we repent, our sins are blotted out of the books in Heaven, so that the powers and principalities of this world are put to an open shame! They are disarmed! Their accusations are rendered null and void. This should be very humbling to all of us.
Our sin debt was nailed to the cross, not the Law of God. In Galatians 5:24, Paul wrote: “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” We don’t crucify what is holy and righteous (Romans 7:12-14), but those things within us that cause us to transgress His law.
Kelly McDonald, JR.
President of the Bible Sabbath Association (BSA)