Thursday Thoughts

Recently I made the decision to return to school. As with many things in this life, it certainly has
had its ups and downs. I have loved getting back into school for things such as discussions with
fellow students about current readings, for relationship within another community, for pushing
myself to learn more about the character of God. The list goes on and on. There of course, have
been some things that have not felt as glamorous as one might hope. I now constantly face my
clunkiness as a writer, how busy I let myself be, my trouble with things that don’t come
naturally. Again, the list goes on and on. My big assignment of the semester is an 8-page
bibliographic essay on the meaning of one word in Colossians 2:14 and the different interpretations surrounding the passage. (Coincidentally, the paper is due later this evening and it appears I still have a sizable amount to do.) Anyways, here is the passage in question:

“…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 discourse around this passage hinges on the interpretation of the Greek word
“chierographon.” This is typically translated as an IOU, hence the phrase “charge of our legal
indebtedness.” Writing 8 pages around one word was and is a daunting task. But through this
practice, I have spent a lot of time in the chapter and seen the beauty in it. Here is the verse in
more context:

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.

Colossians 2:13-14

I can’t pretend to know Greek or to have some incredible insight into this discussion. I have
often felt inept in this assignment. But I do know this. Regardless of the differing translations
and nuance around this word, whatever was standing in the way of us and life in Christ has been nailed to the cross, vanquished by the death and resurrection of our Savior. This “chierographon” was holding us back in death, but Christ has brought life to our broken existence. This thing that held us from our Lord is done away with. Praise be to the God who wiped clean our slate.

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