“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the circumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13‐14)
When Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit of a young boy, when he broke the chains of death that bound Jairus’ daughter, and when he restored a man’s withered hand in the middle of an ordinary Sabbath gathering, no one assisted him in the healing process. By Christ’s distinct power, might, and majesty, the evil spirit cowered and fled, the girl rose from her deathbed, and the crippled man was made whole again.
In all four Gospels, whenever Jesus healed, a perfect healing occurred. The sick, the lame, and the tortured soul all left his presence transformed and utterly whole. No paralytic ever limped away after Jesus cured his palsy; no leper had leftover blemishes disfiguring his skin; no physician or therapist was called to complete the half-done miracle.
Likewise, when Jesus heals us spiritually by washing away our sins, forgiving our transgressions, and erasing our debts, our healing is also absolutely complete.
All by himself, Jesus forgives, cleanses, and redeems; no one needs to assist him with his saving grace.
The mentality that asserts, “God helps those who help themselves,” mistakenly believes that we must participate to ensure salvation works. Surely, our good deeds, righteous acts, or some legalistic addition is a necessary requirement.
However Christ doesn’t need our help any more than he needed the blind man’s assistance in restoring his sight. Jesus forgives all our transgressions, cancels the entire debt, and nails all our sins to the cross. Though we were spiritually dead and enslaved in a kingdom of darkness, he rescued us and gave us new life, forevermore.
It’s perfectly fitting, then, for Peter to proclaim, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). That thought all by itself should remind us that we are forgiven entirely, that our debt is cancelled completely, and that every legal demand has been met perfectly by the Savior of the World.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell