Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way…
Liberty is the way to true life for man. A slave has nothing to live for: but proclaim his freedom, and he becomes another being. So with the man whom God sets free. Quickening from God comes in forgiveness of sins.
I. THE INDICTMENT AGAINST US — the law of God as expressed in the ten commandments and written in the heart (Romans 2:14).
1. Here we hate man's moral obligation, of which men everywhere have been more or less conscious. Moral sense of the two great duties of love to God and our neighbour is everywhere diffused. The handwriting is so on every man's soul that he knows and feels that some things ought to be done while others are forbidden as wrong. Many attempt to efface the handwriting, as well as to defy it, but that only confirms the fact that it exists in all the fulness of its claim.
2. This handwriting is "against us" because we have broken it. The law is for the lawless, and its verdict is only against the sinful. It commands our supreme love to God, and we have not loved Him, This is the debt we owe to God as our Creator and Father; we have not paid it and now cannot.
3. It is also "contrary to us." The terms are not exactly equivalent. The one expresses silent condemnation, the other a positive hostility. A man may owe a debt he cannot pay, and this fact is an obligation against him, even though there be no positive demand for payment. But if by the process of "dunning" the debt is often brought before him, and he is unpleasantly reminded of it, then the obligation is not only against him, it is contrary to him: it disturbs his peace and fills him with dread. So the Divine law acting on the law of our mind is constantly reminding us of our obligation, and is hostile to our peace. Its spirituality is against us, for we are carnal; its purity, for we are unholy; its justice, for we have kept back God's due. Such is the indictment, "that every mouth may be stopped" (Romans 3:19).
II. THE INDICTMENT CANCELLED. The verdict against sinful men is erased or wiped out. This idea often recurs in Scripture in reference to sin — "blot out all my iniquities."
2. It is taken out of the way; not that the law and moral obligation are abolished, but the verdict is removed so that it cannot be adduced for our condemnation. Literally it is "taken out of the midst," as if the handwriting had lain between God and His people — a barrier to their approach to Him, and to their peace with Him.
3. The means. Nailing to the cross and so destruction. Its condemning force was exhausted on Christ, so that it is powerless against all who are in Him. This is our discharge: the law has been fulfilled, and its finding against us for ever taken away.
(J. Spence, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;