Thursday, September 29, 2011

Side Slips Forgiven

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses. (Colossians 2:13)

The Greek word for “trespasses,” paraptoma is an interesting one. Strong’s Greek Dictionary calls it a “side slip,” which puts me in mind of Paul Simon’s old song, “Slip Sliding Away.” Vine’s Expository Dictionary calls it “a false step, a blunder.” The Bauer-Ardnt-Gingrich Greek Lexicon calls it a “false step.” Our English word “trespass” comes from a compound Latin word that literally means to “pass across.”

In the Bible, “trespass” refers to stepping outside the boundaries of God’s law, whether by unintentional error or by willful transgression. The result is death, and it affected us all, just as we were also all affected by what Paul calls “the uncircumcision of your flesh” — human nature in rebellion against God and devoid of the life that comes from Him (see Circumcision of the Heart). The good news is that though we were once dead in these things, we have been made alive together with King Jesus the Messiah. This is possible because, in Jesus, God has forgiven us all our trespasses.

The Greek word for “forgiven” here, charizomai, is not the one we usually find in the New Testament, though Paul does favor it in his letters. The root word is charis, “grace” or “favor.” Charizomai speaks of what is given or granted or released because of grace. Our English word “forgive” derives from the Latin word, perdonare (“pardon”), which means to give thoroughly or wholeheartedly. So it is a good translation here. In Jesus, God has graciously pardoned us, released us from all the ways we have violated His commandments.

There is more to it, as we will see in the next verse. But I will talk about in the next post. I am trying to keep my posts shorter, although that can be difficult because Paul’s letter to the Jesus believers at Colosse is so rich.

The Focus of Our Faith
The Focus of Our Faith
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Colosse
Bite-Size Studies Through Colossians
by Jeff Doles

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