How Should we Explain Colossians 2:13 to a Protestant


#1

Today a Protestant presented me with the verse Col. 2:13-15. It states, " 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, 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. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (NIV) I haven't encountered this verse in my previous research into apologetics and as a result, I'm slightly confused on how to explain it. More specifically, I struggle with the segment of verse 13 that states, "he forgave all our sins..." As a whole this passage seems to be talking about the forgiveness of original sin through baptism, but this section of verse 13 throws me off. So how should I approach explaining this verse?

Thanks


#2

Here St Paul contrasts circumcision with the spiritual circumcision of Baptism which as we know washes away all sin.

The failure to understand the fact that Christ established His Church with the power to bind and loose and teach the fullness of truth, coupled with a false idea of self-interpretation rather than attention to Her teaching seems to be at the root of all such confusions.


#3

[quote="C794, post:1, topic:329783"]
Today a Protestant presented me with the verse Col. 2:13-15. It states, " 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, 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. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (NIV) I haven't encountered this verse in my previous research into apologetics and as a result, I'm slightly confused on how to explain it. More specifically, I struggle with the segment of verse 13 that states, "he forgave all our sins..." As a whole this passage seems to be talking about the forgiveness of original sin through baptism, but this section of verse 13 throws me off. So how should I approach explaining this verse?
Thanks

[/quote]

**13 And you, when you were dead in your sins, and the uncircumcision of your flesh; he hath quickened together with him, forgiving you all offences: **
The mosaic law did not provide relief from sin for the Jews, and the gentiles did not have relief in their uncircumcision.

**14 Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. And he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross: **
The decree that was against humanity which is sin. A decree or debt that was paid for by Christ on the cross.

15 And despoiling the principalities and powers, he hath exposed them confidently in open shew, triumphing over them in himself.
This was Christ's triumph over the powers and agents of Satan.


#4

[quote="Abu, post:2, topic:329783"]

The failure to understand the fact that Christ established His Church with the power to bind and loose and teach the fullness of truth, coupled with a false idea of self-interpretation rather than attention to Her teaching seems to be at the root of all such confusions.

[/quote]

This can be dismissed as circular reasoning by most Protestants. Protestants are used to Catholics using this type of circular reasoning to prove a point.

The CC is the One True Church, therefore our interpretation is correct because the CC is the One True Church.

This explanation can be used by Catholics and any passage that Protestants bring up. It sounds good to other Catholics but in the end it's like telling an Atheist that the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says so.


#5

[quote="dronald, post:4, topic:329783"]

Originally Posted by Abu

The failure to understand the fact that Christ established His Church with the power to bind and loose and teach the fullness of truth, coupled with a false idea of self-interpretation rather than attention to Her teaching seems to be at the root of all such confusions.

This can be dismissed as circular reasoning by most Protestants. Protestants are used to Catholics using this type of circular reasoning to prove a point.

What is circular about his statement? Can you explain/expound further? And are not protestants guilty as much also?

And what do you find disagreebale with Abu's statement?

Did Christ establish one church or thousands of proterstant denoms?

The CC is the One True Church, therefore our interpretation is correct because the CC is the One True Church.

Should there be only one understanding of the Bible or several thousand understandings?

If the CC is not correct in its interpretation...then where would one go to for the correct understanding/interpretation?

Which one of thre several thousand denoms should one go to?

This explanation can be used by Catholics and any passage that Protestants bring up. It sounds good to other Catholics but in the end it's like telling an Atheist that the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says so.

But a catholic would not tell an atheist the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says so....a knowledgeable catholic would start with Christ establishing a Church and that church sifting through several hundred writings to bind together that became the Bible.

[/quote]


#6

[quote="pablope, post:5, topic:329783"]

But a catholic would not tell an atheist the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says so....a knowledgeable catholic would start with Christ establishing a Church and that church sifting through several hundred writings to bind together that became the Bible.

[/quote]

Yes, yes. Any knowledgeable apologist will not use such a fallacious argument because it proves nothing.


#7

Your problem is the phrase "all sins" because this presumably refers to every sin of the believer: past, present and future. Your answer is that "all sins" does not refer to future sins because they have not been committed yet and do not exist yet. The Catholic view is that all our sins are forgiven in baptism... just not those sins which we will not go on to commit as they are not yet ours and just plain are not.

The different interpretation ultimately stems from the different views on justification. If justification resides exclusively within the mind of God, then there is no reason why God would wait with regard to anything in the believer before forgiving sin. The problem with this view is that it really suggests that Christians are born justified (because they conflate justification with election) and therefore do not ever need to be "born again" or "get saved." I think most would deny this, necessitating some point in the believer's life at which forgiveness is applied to the believer (Colossians 2:12 seems to say this is baptism...) and the argument against the Catholic position loses most of its force.

If we're going to prooftext, we might as well use 2 Peter 1:9: But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his **old sins.

Protestants usually criticize the Catholic position that the forgiveness of sins is contingent upon sorrow and repentance on the grounds that it subtracts from the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice. However, most will admit that there is a time in the believer's life at whcih they are "born again" (which of course does not refer to baptism), and before which, the believer was unsaved. Many even believe that we are justified because we repent and turn to Christ rather than the other way around. The double standard here is outrageous. Why did God need to wait so long to justify the believer? Why not 2,000 years ago? Wasn't Christ's work sufficient?


#8

[quote="QNDNNDQDCE, post:7, topic:329783"]
Your problem is the phrase "all sins" because this presumably refers to every sin of the believer: past, present and future. Your answer is that "all sins" does not refer to future sins because they have not been committed yet and do not exist yet. The Catholic view is that all our sins are forgiven in baptism... just not those sins which we will not go on to commit as they are not yet ours and just plain are not.

[/quote]

But isn't this refuted by verse 14 which is acknowledging a past event? 14having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

The nailing it to the cross would have been a past event, therefore wouldn't it be all future sins after the nailing of sins to the cross? Or would you say that this is only for Christians who lived before Jesus's death and therefore only the sins they committed before their sins were nailed to the cross have been taken away?

Perhaps this passage no longer applies to us, but rather only to those who lived before Jesus took away their sins? Or maybe it is speaking of all sins after the nailing of the cross, since it does in fact say all sins.


#9

dronald #4
This explanation can be used by Catholics and any passage that Protestants bring up. It sounds good to other Catholics but in the end it's like telling an Atheist that the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says so.
This can be dismissed as circular reasoning by most Protestants. Protestants are used to Catholics using this type of circular reasoning to prove a point.

It takes real squares to feel that it is circular to acknowledge with reason that the historical accounts in the Gospels factually through eyewitnesses show the establishment of Christ’s Church on Peter the Rock, His miracles, His claim to be God and His Resurrection, and to accept that His Church with His authority can then teach infallibly and tell us what writings are the inspired Word of God!

THINK, of the absurdity expressed above. For all readers, the falsehood of circularity is shown in the reality that:
1) The documents of Scripture are HISTORICAL – it is absurd to claim that Scripture is inspired without the authority of God to know that it is inspired.
2) However, HISTORICALLY, the documents of Scripture relate that the man Jesus claimed to be sent by God, claimed to be God, proved His claim by His miracles and His Resurrection, established His Church on St Peter to continue His teaching until the end of time.
3) HIS CHURCH, HISTORICALLY ESTABLISHED, then teaches what writings form God’s Word and that all of those writings, and no others, are inspired by the Holy Spirit. No one else can decide what books are inspired or has any authority to do so.

When the Twelve are sent on mission, they are told by Christ “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words…shake off the dust from your feet. Assuredly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment than for that city.” (Mt 10: 14-15).

Those who don’t know their history need to. The authorisation, coming from Christ’s Vicar and His Church, didn’t fall out of thin air, but from Christ’s mandate to teach all that He had commanded.

Since the facts prove the certification and authorisation of the Sacred Scriptures by Christ's Catholic Church (O.T & NT) from His Vicar, as the canon of the Scriptures for use as the inspired Word of God, all attempts to evade these truths merely show not only the false god of private interpretation but privation and deprivation for those so victimised.

Thus only the Catholic Church has Christ's authority to interpret the Sacred Scriptures -- Her faithful wrote the New Testament.


#10

[quote="dronald, post:6, topic:329783"]
Yes, yes. Any knowledgeable apologist will not use such a fallacious argument because it proves nothing.

[/quote]

Let me remind you of the forum rules, which you, as a professing Christian, agreed to abide by when allowed here as a guest.


#11

[quote="dronald, post:4, topic:329783"]
This can be dismissed as circular reasoning by most Protestants. Protestants are used to Catholics using this type of circular reasoning to prove a point.

The CC is the One True Church, therefore our interpretation is correct because the CC is the One True Church.

This explanation can be used by Catholics and any passage that Protestants bring up. It sounds good to other Catholics but in the end it's like telling an Atheist that the Bible is the word of God because the Bible says so.

[/quote]

Sacred Scripture is the product of Holy Tradition. The Church gave us the Bible, therefore she alone may interpret it. This is not circular reasoning (although the proof happens to be in the Bible) as Jesus (God) established His Church on the "rock" of Peter, the first Pope. The Bible didn't exist in Jesus and Peter's time. It came into being hundreds of years later, as the Church discerned which writings were inspired as we always have, through a process of refining Holy Tradition. The Church today represents the authentic teachings of Jesus and the rest of His revelation to His people, because it has been handed on, unbroken and unblemished through the Apostolic Succession of bishops in communion with Peter. Nobody else has ever been able to interpret the Bible with authority because they do not retain the deposit of the True Faith. We are the One True Church because we are the only one founded by Christ and handed on to Peter and the Apostles. Heretics and schismatics have attempted to wrest control from our hands and have always failed, because Jesus himself promised "the Gates of Hell will not prevail" against us. Peter as the first Pope and the apostles as the first bishops are a fact accepted by the entire Early Church and passed down in Tradition. We don't need a written Bible to prove we are the True Church, we know it because we live Holy Tradition today just as it was in the Apostolic Age.


#12

Was this person trying to claim that we need not confess sins, since our Lord had already done all of that for us? Ask them to explain why Paul forgave sins in the person of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:10 KJV), and why Paul had a ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:16-21) with God. Paul was writing to those already converted - that’s why it was a letter. Sounds to me like there was still some payment due for sin. Ask them to explain why the Apostle James admonishes us to “confess our sins to each other” (James 5:16) if our sins are somehow gone. It sounds like what you are confronting is “Me and Jesus” Kindergarten theology. In Christian history, it is very recently invented, and very shallow. CAF founder Karl Keating covers all of this in his book Catholicism and Fundamentalism.

As to the interpretation of this verse, the following is from the Haydock Commentary:

Ver. 14. Blotting out, &c.[4] This is commonly expounded of the sentence of eternal death pronounced against sinful Adam, and all his posterity, for having sinned in him. Others would have it to signify only the yoke and obligations of the Mosaical law, which could not of itself remit sins, and occasionally made persons greater sinners. This sentence of death (whether we understand the one or the other) Christ took away, fastening it as it were, to the cross, taking it away by his death on the cross. (Witham)

Paul was comparing the New Covenant in Christ’s Blood with the Old Mosaic Covenant, which relied only on animal blood.


#13

[quote="C794, post:1, topic:329783"]
Today a Protestant presented me with the verse Col. 2:13-15. It states, " 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, 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. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." (NIV) I haven't encountered this verse in my previous research into apologetics and as a result, I'm slightly confused on how to explain it. More specifically, I struggle with the segment of verse 13 that states, "he forgave all our sins..." As a whole this passage seems to be talking about the forgiveness of original sin through baptism, but this section of verse 13 throws me off. So how should I approach explaining this verse?

Thanks

[/quote]

This just means our sins are forgiven-OS and personal sins-but still with the provision that we accept this offer; the offer can do good for the individual otherwise. And this means that God restores us back to high ground, the ground Adam lost for humankind with his original sin, so that we're back to the position of innocence. But God won't force us to stay there any more than He forced Adam not to sin to begin with. We can always turn away again, but if we do, the offer of forgiveness still stands if we repent again, turning back to God and away from sin.

The purpose of the New Covenant is to empower man to become authentically righteous, to become who he was created to be, to not only be forgiven but to 'go, and sin no more'. This is a process, of God drawing us, via grace, into increasing righteousness/justice, placing His laws on our hearts and writing them in our minds. To the extent that we will to do what's right, that we choose goodness, our justice is greater. God is patient and kind, the divine Potter doing a work in us, as we cooperate. This is the "struggle with sin", with concupiscence, a battle for where our treasure truly lies: with God first above all else, or with lesser, created things. Man's full justice consists in loving God with his whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and his neighbor as himself, the greatest commandments.


#14

[quote="fhansen, post:13, topic:329783"]
This just means our sins are forgiven-OS and personal sins-but still with the provision that we accept this offer; the offer can do good for the individual otherwise. And this means that God restores us back to high ground, the ground Adam lost for humankind with his original sin, so that we're back to the position of innocence. But God won't force us to stay there any more than He forced Adam not to sin to begin with. We can always turn away again, but if we do, the offer of forgiveness still stands if we repent again, turning back to God and away from sin.

The purpose of the New Covenant is to empower man to become authentically righteous, to become who he was created to be, to not only be forgiven but to 'go, and sin no more'. This is a process, of God drawing us, via grace, into increasing righteousness/justice, placing His laws on our hearts and writing them in our minds. To the extent that we will to do what's right, that we choose goodness, our justice is greater. God is patient and kind, the divine Potter doing a work in us, as we cooperate. This is the "struggle with sin", with concupiscence, a battle for where our treasure truly lies: with God first above all else, or with lesser, created things. Man's full justice consists in loving God with his whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and his neighbor as himself, the greatest commandments.

[/quote]

You could emphasize verse 12 which tells how our sins were taken away through BAPTISM and not by reciting the "Sinner's Prayer." Couple that with the verse in 1 Peter 3:21 which says that "baptism saves you."


#15

My friend, as you know, a circular argument assumes as one of its premises the conclusion seeking to be proved. This premise is frequently unexpressed (as in an enthymeme). Your example about proving the Bible to be the Word of God by citing the Bible is a good example of a circular argument. However, the argument for the authority of the Church does not assume the authority of the Church as a premise (hidden or explicit), and thus is not a circular argument. The only premises needed to prove the authority of the Church are 1) Christ founded the CC, promising it would not fall into error (we believe this not because the Church says so, but because of history), and 2) Christ is God (again something not believed on the authority of the Church). From these 2 premises, neither of which depend on the Church’s authority, we can conclude that the CC cannot err in its interpretation of Scripture. There is nothing circular about this argument.


#16

[quote="PietroPaolo, post:15, topic:329783"]
My friend, as you know, a circular argument assumes as one of its premises the conclusion seeking to be proved. This premise is frequently unexpressed (as in an enthymeme). Your example about proving the Bible to be the Word of God by citing the Bible is a good example of a circular argument. However, the argument for the authority of the Church does not assume the authority of the Church as a premise (hidden or explicit), and thus is not a circular argument. The only premises needed to prove the authority of the Church are 1) Christ founded the CC, promising it would not fall into error (we believe this not because the Church says so, but because of history), and 2) Christ is God (again something not believed on the authority of the Church). From these 2 premises, neither of which depend on the Church's authority, we can conclude that the CC cannot err in its interpretation of Scripture. There is nothing circular about this argument.

[/quote]

As a Protestant I had a problem with just these two premises -- That Christ founded the Catholic Church and that Christ is God. I believed that Christ was the "Son of God" but I had a problem with the concept that Mary was the mother of God. To me God was synonymous with The Father so how could Mary be "mother of God?" I figured Christ founded "something" but that the Catholic Church didn't come along until about the time of Augustine and that the Catholic Church was some sort of corruption of the church Jesus founded. And that the "real" church went underground until Luther.


#17

[quote="PietroPaolo, post:15, topic:329783"]
My friend, as you know, a circular argument assumes as one of its premises the conclusion seeking to be proved. This premise is frequently unexpressed (as in an enthymeme). Your example about proving the Bible to be the Word of God by citing the Bible is a good example of a circular argument. However, the argument for the authority of the Church does not assume the authority of the Church as a premise (hidden or explicit), and thus is not a circular argument. The only premises needed to prove the authority of the Church are 1) Christ founded the CC, promising it would not fall into error (we believe this not because the Church says so, but because of history), and 2) Christ is God (again something not believed on the authority of the Church). From these 2 premises, neither of which depend on the Church's authority, we can conclude that the CC cannot err in its interpretation of Scripture. There is nothing circular about this argument.

[/quote]

I don't doubt that there are some solid arguments that Christ found the Catholic Church specifically, and that when He says "Those who come to me shall never hunger and those who believe in me shall never thirst" He may only be speaking of Catholics. That's why I'm here, because if God wants me to be Catholic I have to do a little work.

If at any time I come across as harsh it's only for my own good, because if I don't challenge everything then I'll never receive a sufficient answer.

So perhaps if you can prove that the CC is the only authority that can interpret Scripture you may have won over your Protestant brother, but simply saying, "You can't interpret that, because the CC has and the CC is always right." Doesn't work.


#18

[quote="dronald, post:17, topic:329783"]
So perhaps if you can prove that the CC is the only authority that can interpret Scripture you may have won over your Protestant brother, but simply saying, "You can't interpret that, because the CC has and the CC is always right." Doesn't work.

[/quote]

dronald,
I don't offer this as proof, but rather as something for you to pray and meditate on. Not accepting any authority is fatal to the virtue of faith because faith consists in submitting and private interpretation consists in judging. In faith by hearing, the last word rests with the teacher; in private judgment it rests with the reader.

Isa. 35:8,54:13-17 - In the Old Testament, the Church is described as a Holy Way, free from error.

Acts. 9:2; 22:4; 24:14,22 - In the New Testament, the Church is the "Way" from Isaiah where fools will not err therein.

Mt. 16:17 – God protects Peter from error by revealing the truth in a doctrinal question of faith.

Mt. 16:18 - If the gates of hell shall not prevail, then the church cannot lose the faith. It cannot teach error.

Mt. 16:19 – The power to bind and loose requires authority.

Mt. 18:17-19 - Jesus exhorts people to seek the Church as a final authority on the truth.

Jn. 16:13; Mt. 28:20 – Matthew and John say God will guide the Church into all truth.

1Tim. 3:15 - Paul says the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth.


#19

[quote="dronald, post:17, topic:329783"]
I don't doubt that there are some solid arguments that Christ found the Catholic Church specifically, and that when He says "Those who come to me shall never hunger and those who believe in me shall never thirst" He may only be speaking of Catholics. That's why I'm here, because if God wants me to be Catholic I have to do a little work.

If at any time I come across as harsh it's only for my own good, because if I don't challenge everything then I'll never receive a sufficient answer.

So perhaps if you can prove that the CC is the only authority that can interpret Scripture you may have won over your Protestant brother, but simply saying, "You can't interpret that, because the CC has and the CC is always right." Doesn't work.

[/quote]

You don't come across as harsh. Again, the argument for the authority of the Church is not circular. You may not find it convincing (I would disagree) but it definitely is not circular.

The shortest answer to private interpretation of the Bible is found in the Bible itself in 2 Peter 1:20 - "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation." We can ask, if one cannot interpret Scripture individually, then who can? The answer is the Church b/c the Church is the pillar and foundation of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). We also see Christ established a Church (Matt 16:18), a Church to which he gives authority and the power to speak in His name (Luke 10:16). When a member of the 12 dies, we see that his place is not left vacant, but is filled with another (Act 1:26) so we know the Church continues to survive past the death of the last apostle. In fact, Christ promised that His Church would stand forever (Matt 16:18).

All of this is very important because the canon of Scripture (i.e. what books make up the Bible) is entirely based on the authority of the C. Church. We know the Gospels of Judas and Thomas are not the word of God and that the Letter to the Hebrews and Revelation are because the Church was given the power by Christ to determine such things. If the Catholic Church has the power to determine what is Scriptural and what is not, how can she lack the power to interpret Scripture?


#20

[quote="dronald, post:17, topic:329783"]
I

So perhaps if you can prove that the CC is the only authority that can interpret Scripture you may have won over your Protestant brother, but simply saying, "You can't interpret that, because the CC has and the CC is always right." Doesn't work.

[/quote]

In terms of faith and morals...it is not that the CC is always right...but the promise of the guidance of the Holy Spirit is what makes the CC, through its Magisterium, to tell us that it shall not fail on faith and morals.

If the CC is not always right....then where will you get the answer?

If the CC does not work for you...then what is your other choice?


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