What did Christ Abolish by the Cross?


Sold – The Debt to be Paid

We are told by Paul in In Ephesians 2 and 2 Corinthians 3 that something was abolished by the cross.  It is also mentioned in Colossians 2:14 where we read:

Col 2:14  Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

debt under the law bondage redeemedIn this verse the word for “handwriting” is the Greek word “cheirographon” which means a “bond” or “debt”.  In other versions of the bible it is translated “debt”.  Or something we owe.  In other words the price needs to be paid. In the ESV this verse reads “by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

We were in debt, bondage.  We were sold for a price to another master.  Who owned us?  Who were we in debt to?

Rom 7:14  For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

When you are “sold” to someone it becomes your owner.  You are UNDER it’s dominion.  Adam was given dominion over the animals.  He was the King of the world.  But here we see that we have been sold to another master.  Another owner, bond servants and slaves owing a “debt”.

Rom 6:14  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

When sin is reigning over you, it is your king, your slave master.  When sin reign’s over you then you are “under the law” rather than “under grace”.  You cannot be “under the law” and “under grace” at the same time.   The bible tell’s us Moses found grace in the sight ofYou shall know the truththe LORD. (Exodus 33:12, 13) Therefore Moses was not “under the law” and sin did “not have dominion over” him.

Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

When being set free from sin, you no longer owe the price.  Because that debt that you owed for sin has been paid.  We read about the wages of sin here.

Rom 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sin certainly is a cruel master.  Not only does it not pay very well, but it puts you into a very huge debt.  Before you are done being a slave to it, and free from being under it’s dominion, you owe.   How much do you have to pay?  Death.  That is quite the debt.  Not a good wage at all.  But we are told that something was done to pay that debt.

Paying the Debt

Let’s consider seriously what Christ truly paid the price for.  Did he die so that we could continue to break God’s law?   In Galatians 3 we read:

Gal 3:10  For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

According to the verse above, who receives the curse?  Those that don’t continue to do the things written in the law.  Some read this to say that those who do the law receive the curse.  I know the verse says “as many as are of works… are under the curse”.  It’s not by beholding the law that we can become changed.  The law does not do the work.  Faith in the cross is necessary to fulfill the law.  This passage also does not imply that we are not to do the law.  Especially considering that we just read that we have been set free from sin. Paul himself said “I had not known sin except the law had said thou shalt not covet.”(Rom 7:7) Sin is breaking the law.  Someone who has been set free from the bondage of sin does not continue in sin.(Rom 6:1, 2)  Paul is telling us that we can’t do it “by the law” but rather in verse 11 explains “the just shall live by faith.”  What did Christ then pay for?

Gal 3:13  Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:

The word “redeemed” means to “pay” or to “buy”.   What did Christ pay?  He paid the debt.  He redeemed it.  How did he do it?  By being nailed to the tree.  It is written that there is a curse for breaking the law.  Let’s read in Deuteronomy:

Deu 27:23  Cursed be he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen.

Consider the “curse”.  Christ redeemed us from the “curse”.  He paid for us breaking the law.  Is it okay now to lie with your mother in law?  Is this what Christ took out of the way, nailing it to His cross?   Is this the debt?  No, the debt paid is the penalty for sin.  Death was nailed to the cross.

Seeing that Which Was Abolished

In 2 Corinthians 3 we read that God abolished something.  We’ve learned already that Christ was nailed to the cross, and by this he took the penalty for breaking the law, which was sin.   Let’s read the chapter so that we might understand what was “abolished”.

2 Corinthians 3:6-7 Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.  But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:

Here in these passages we see the law written on stones being a glorious ministry, yet a ministry of death.  What more can the law do?  It is a ministry of condemnation without the gospel.  The law without the gospel can only condemn.  Therefore it is a ministry of condemnation.  As we continue to read in this chapter we will see that when reading those books of Moses minds were not seeing the gospel.  Nor could they see what was abolished.  It was abolished for them even before 31 AD if we read the context, it is talking about those who lived before 31AD.

2 Corinthians 3:13-15 And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:  But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.  But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

Here we read that minds were blinded.  They couldn’t see what was abolished.  When reading the Old Testament, there was something that they couldn’t see.  And many today have the same problem.  It is no different today then it was back then.  When Moses is read, their minds are blinded to seeing the gospel in those writings.  Notice Paul talks more about their blindness.  What were they blinded from seeing?

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Their minds were blinded to “the glorious gospel of Christ” it says.  The gospel was written in the old testament.  In the books of Moses.  If we can’t see the gospel in those writings, it may well be that we are preaching another gospel.

Some think the entire law is abolished, but this is not what was abolished, the law is written “not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.”(2 Cor 3:3) What then was abolished that their minds were blinded to?

2 Timothy 1:9-10 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

So what did Christ “abolish…through the gospel”?  Death.  The curse, the penalty, the debt that we owed.  He abolished it, nailing it to His cross.   Sin brings death.  Sin is violating the law of God, and when brought under the dominion and kingdom of sin, we as slaves receive the wage of death.  It is only the penalty for breaking the law that was nailed to the cross.  The debt.

Ephesians 2:15-16 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (16) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

By the cross, he abolished death making us one with God.  Some use this verse  to teach that he abolished the law and commandments.  But this is a misunderstanding.  The very context if read carefully opens to us the fact that the moral law is still to be kept.  Here is what Paul wrote:

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

God ordained things that we should walk in “before” Paul says.  What is Paul talking about?  What did God say that we must “walk in”?

Deu 30:16  In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

So this is not the law of commandments nailed to the cross.  Clearly these are what were broken so that Christ had to be nailed to the cross.  He wasn’t nailed to the cross so we didn’t have to do the law.

Rom 2:13  (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.

One Tittle Cannot Change

Many have went to an extreme when reading the verses regarding “under the law”.  They assume it means under obligation to keep the law.  Then they read these verses and teach that it is impossible to keep the law or that we are no longer under obligation to keep the law.

“Let no one foster the delusion that the Lord God of heaven and earth has no law by which to control and govern His subjects…We are under obligation to be governed by His will, to acknowledge Him as our supreme ruler….” {Ellen White Amazing Grace 58.4}

“Without faith it is impossible to please God”.  When faith is had however, we will believe that God writes the law on the heart, therefore promising to do in us what was before to our carnal minds impossible.  He now through faith in the holy spirit enables us to fulfill the law.

Rom 8:4  That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

If Christ is in us, and he fulfilled the law, then all we need to do is believe that He will do in us the very same thing.  To deny it is to “deny that Christ is come in the flesh, and this is that spirit of antichrist.”(1 John 4:3, 4).  Jesus said:

Matthew 5:17-18 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Jesus said not to let the thought enter your mind that he came to destroy the law.  Don’t even think that even a tittle from the law had changed.  Yet many teachers today are teaching this very thing.   Most usually start with the Sabbath or the 4th commandment, some work from other statutes and start nailing them to the cross.    Christ is the lamb of God, and in Daniel 9:27 we are told that “sacrifices and offerings would cease” not the law itself.  It is the remedial system for breaking the law.

Offer the Sacrifice of Praise and Thanksgiving on Sabbaths and New Moons

The Jewish temple services were to pass away at the cross.  Some say that this includes all of the Father’s appointed times.   However, let’s consider the following offerings and sacrifices.

Heb 13:15  By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Did this offering and sacrifice cease at the cross?  I think not since this is a quote from the New Testament.   We are told these kinds of offerings and sacrifices are to be made “continually”.   What does the bible say about these offerings in the Old Testament? Were we to make them?

1 Chronicles 23:30-32  And to stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at even;  (31)  And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the new moons, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD:  (32)  And that they should keep the charge of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the holy place, and the charge of the sons of Aaron their brethren, in the service of the house of the LORD.

Thank and praise offerings in the Old Testament, mornings and evenings, as well as on the sabbaths, new moons, and set feasts.   And it appears that these were to maintain “order” and “charge” in the temple, and to be done “continually before the LORD”.   Will we be doing anything like that in the New Heaven and Earth?

Isaiah 66:22-23 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

We read in this verse that we will come before the throne to worship Him each New Moon and Sabbath in the new heavens and new earth.   We read of these gatherings in Revelation 22.  Keep in mind when reading this that the word “month” in this verse means a “new moon”.

We will come before his throne each new moon for  worship.
We will come before his throne each new moon for worship.

Revelation 22:1-3 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.  And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

There are many things we can note as we come before the throne of God and the lamb each New Moon.  We can note that some kind of feast or festival will take place each month.   The feast will include “meat” and “drink“.  For we read in Genesis 1:29 that “God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.”   Furthermore the word “month” in this verse means “New Moon”. We also note that this “meat” and “drink” offers us eternal life.   Does the bible talk of any other “meat” and “drink” that can offer eternal life in which we can eat?

John 6:53-55 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

Unless we eat of the tree, and drink of the river, we have no life.  Unless we eat of his flesh, and drink of his blood, we have no life.   His flesh is meat, and his blood is drink.  One commentary on these verses reads:

“Christ is the source of our life, the source of our immortality. He is the tree of life, and to all who come to him he gives spiritual life…For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”  {Ellen White RH, January 26, 1897 par. 10}

“He is the tree of life”.  We will be partaking of this “meat” and “drink” in heaven.  When will we come to the tree of life to eat this “meat” and “drink”?  Every month, or New Moon.   We also read from this same writer that:

“God teaches that we should assemble in His house to cultivate the attributes of perfect love. This will fit the dwellers of earth for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love Him. There they will assemble in the sanctuary from Sabbath to Sabbath, from one new moon to another, to unite in loftiest strains of song, in praise and thanksgiving to Him who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever.” {Ellen White Amazing Grace 76.4}

So we will “offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving” at the throne every new moon and sabbath.  We will partake of a “meat and drink” that is eternal life to us when we get to the kingdom.   It is also documented that before the cross “At the time of the new moon a sacred festival was celebrated  in Israel.” (Ellen white, Patriarchs and Prophets 665)

New moons before cross after cross heaven

So we see that in the time before the cross Israel kept the New Moon, when we come to the New Heaven and Earth we will come to worship before God and the Lamb every Sabbath and New Moon.   But what about today?  Is it nailed to the cross today? Would it make sense to nail it to the cross now, and take it off in heaven?  Some have read Colossians 2 and said that these verses imply that the Sabbaths, New Moons, and Feasts are all nailed to the cross today.  But how can that be if we will come together at these times in heaven?  I guess that’s why it is important to understand that only our debt, our penalty, the curse was abolished and taken out of the way.  This would imply the sacrificial lamb.  Paul says:

Christ our passover was sacrificed for us, let us keep the feast.
Christ our passover was sacrificed for us, let us keep the feast.

1 Corinthians 5:7-8 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

We are definitely to keep some sort of feast according to this passage.  Some might say “this is the Lord’s supper”.  And I would agree.  But when should we keep the Lord’s supper?  Is there any set times?  Is it anytime we want?  Does God still have a schedule and order like he did before the cross when we come together in praise and thanksgiving.   Does he have a set time to come together for the meat and drink of the Lord’s supper today as He will in the new heavens and new earth?  I believe He does.

Colossians 2:14 tells us Christ our passover was sacrificed for us being “nailed to the cross”.   But what does the rest of the passage say?

Colossians 2:16-17 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: (17) Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Since Christ is our passover sacrifice, and he instituted the Lord’s supper(meat and drink) in place of the levitical priesthood with it’s types and ceremonies, we are to let no man judge us in respect to keeping the passover feast.   Furthermore, just as we will keep it on the New Moons and sabbath days in the new heaven and new earth, shouldn’t we also keep it on new moons and Sabbaths today?   For sure.  Some have said that the Sabbaths mentioned in these verses refer to feast Sabbaths.  But this is not consistent reasoning.  Especially considering that every where else in scripture where the terms “Sabbaths” and “New Moons” are used together it is referring to the weekly Sabbath.

This meat and drink done on the new moons is a shadow of eating from the tree of life and drinking from the river of life in the new heaven and new earth every month.   These things are shadows of things to come.  They also point back to the amazing work of the cross and what Christ did taking our penalty, our condemnation, redeeming our debt, paying the price.  Are we willing to let him have what he paid for?

Is this against us?  Is this nailed to the cross only to be taken off the cross again later?  These celebrations of praise and thanksgiving are needed by the bride of Christ each month.   In Revelation 12 we see a woman standing on the moon.   She is clothed in the sun.  The sun is what lightens the moon every month and the two together are how we are to understand God’s times.  If the new moons are used to do this, then we can’t just keep a new moon on any date.  In the same manner the feasts must be calculated by the new moon.

Monthly Ceremony of Cleansing

Rev 12:1  And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

“The moon under her feet.”  What other ceremony did Jesus institute?  A ceremony of cleansing for his bride.  A foot washing.

John 13:8-10 Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.  Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head.  Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

When we come together each month, the entire body does not cleansing, but the impurities that are in the body must be forsaken.  The cleansing blood of the lamb must be applied to cleanse the impurities that have come to the light during that month.   A woman needs this time each month to cleanse her body.  So it is with the body and bride of Christ.

The divisions in the community, the lack of order, these things stem from forsaking the sacred times, evening, morning, sabbaths, new moons, and feast days.   These are not against us.  They are necessary for the spiritual life of the people.  More necessary today, than they were before the cross.

“Anciently the Lord instructed His people to assemble three times a year for His worship. To these holy convocations the children of Israel came, bringing to the house of God their tithes, their sin offerings, and their offerings of gratitude. They met to recount God’s mercies, to make known His wonderful works, and to offer praise and thanksgiving to His name. And they were to unite in the sacrificial service which pointed to Christ as the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. Thus they were to be preserved from the corrupting power of worldliness and idolatry. Faith and love and gratitude were to be kept alive in their hearts, and through their association together in this sacred service they were to be bound closer to God and to one another.
In the days of Christ these feasts were attended by vast multitudes of people from all lands; and had they been kept as God intended, in the spirit of true worship, the light of truth might through them have been given to all the nations of the world.
With those who lived at a distance from the tabernacle, more than a month of every year must have been occupied in attendance upon these holy convocations. The Lord saw that these gatherings were necessary for the spiritual life of , is people. They needed to turn away from their worldly cares, to commune with God, and to contemplate unseen realities.
If the children of Israel needed the benefit of these holy convocations in their time, how much more do we need them in these last days of peril and conflict! And if the people of the world then needed the light which God had committed to His church, how much more do they need it now!”(Ellen White 6T 39-40)

If these are “necessary for the spiritual life of His people” and “much more do we need them in these last days.”  How can they be nailed to the cross?  How can they be something that is against us?   They are more necessary today.  Some liken these to circumcision of the flesh.  But circumcision of the flesh isn’t necessary today.   What is necessary for our spiritual life, is to come before the throne from Sabbath to Sabbath as well as every new moon to receive of the living water, and the living bread that comes down from heaven.  Taking part of the tree of life.   Coming together in praise and worship of God and the Lamb.

Does this sound like something that is nailed to the cross?  That was against us?  It clearly is not.  Christ nailed the curse to His cross.  He took death out of the way, being made death for us, made sin for us, made a curse for us, made flesh for us, made lower than the angels, made in the likeness of men for the suffering of the cross.   He took upon the cross our penalty for breaking the law.  Therefore let no man judge you in respect to your keeping of the Lord’s supper, foot washing, Sabbaths, new moons and feast days, which are a shadow of things to come.  When?  When we get to the throne in the new kingdom.   Speaking of the bride in Ephesians 5 we read about her cleansing.  Perhaps this is what we should do on sabbaths, new moons and feast days today.  Maybe even in the morning and in the even as God has laid out a structure of order for us today.

Ephesians 5:18-26 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;  Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

What better than to come together to give praise and thanks to our Father at His appointed times and to stand at the river, the channel of blessing.

“We should improve every opportunity of placing ourselves in the channel of blessing. . . . The convocations of the church, as in camp meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God’s appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain.”(Ellen White FLB 246)

Hope to see you standing at the channel of life each month.


Let’s Summarize:

  1. We were sold as slaves to sin
  2. A “debt” was owed for sin
  3. The Greek word for “handwriting of ordinances” in Colossians 2:14 means “debt”
  4. The debt or wage owed for sin is death
  5. Christ abolished death by the cross
  6. The sacrificial system pointed to his death
  7. We do the Lord’s Supper today in remembrance of the debt that was paid by the cross
  8. Christ is the tree of life and this is a symbol of the Lord’s Supper
  9. Christ’s body is “meat” and “drink”
  10. This meat and drink will be eaten on New moons in heaven.
  11. A festival was observed on the new moons before the cross and another one will be observed in heaven.
  12. How can it be nailed to the cross if we will keep it in heaven
  13. It is beneficial to the body of Christ to keep them today.
  14. They are a time of cleansing
  15. They are more necessary for the spiritual life of his people than they were before the cross

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