The Cross of Christ is the centerpiece of human history, the masterpiece of God’s design. On it, a mysterious transaction is taking place between the human and divine, between the temporal and eternal. Supernatural life is hidden here, God’s stairway to heaven.
As Jesus Christ allows Himself to be crucified, embracing unspeakable suffering on our behalf (Is 53:4-5), He becomes sin for us so that in Him we might be made perfectly righteous. (2Co 5:21)
Yet as Christ is suffering for us, nailed to His cross, the Father is also nailing something else to His cross: He calls it the handwriting of ordinances. (Col 2:14) These ordinances are against us, contrary to us; He blots them out and takes them away. What are they?
First and foremost, it can’t be Torah, the ordinances YHWH Himself has given us. These ordinances aren’t against us; they’re good (Ro 7:12) and for our good. (Ps 119:71) Their purpose is to point us to God and facilitate our becoming like Him. (1Ti 1:5)
It could be sin, for Christ became sin for us and was nailed to the cross, but the handwriting of ordinances isn’t God’s definition of sin. (1Jn 3:4)
It could be accusation, which loses all its force in Christ (Ro 8:34), but I think this is both awkward and redundant with context (Col 2:13); it simply doesn’t do this justice.
The immediate context is an admonition: let no man judge you; Christ’s work implies that we ought not to be intimidated by extra-biblical rules and regulations defining how to abide in God. (Col 2:16) Man is always adding to, twisting and corrupting God’s Word, trying to burden, manipulate and control us through our very longing to know and walk with God. It’s insidiously powerful, a constant obstacle in our spiritual journey.
My thought is that YHWH nails all this false, Man-made religion to His cross, everything that’s designed to keep us from a living, vibrant life with Him. He’s taken down every barrier to fellowship with Himself: He’s nailed our sin, and also every lie about Himself, to His cross. He enforces no space between us and Him, no distance; He’s made a way to be closer to us than our own breath, within and throughout us, working in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. (Php 2:13)
God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world! (Ga 6:14)