Do we have to do more?
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)
We might use a phrase such as, "I am dead to this world", at the end of a busy day. We have hurried here and there, stood way longer than we anticipated, waited longer than we wanted, got involved in tasks we did not plan, and we are bordering on sheer exhaustion. To 'be dead to this world' has a different meaning in a spiritual sense, though. It means we actually take on 'new life'. The first way of thinking says we are about to get some rest for our weary bodies, while the second one anticipates a 'rest' of a whole different kind!
Paul is speaking with the church at Colosse about circumcision, and other religious pursuits that some were saying 'had to be done' in order to be a follower of God. He wanted them to know that there was an 'exchange' of character that occurred the moment they said 'yes' to Jesus. He uses the 'ritual' of baptism to indicate this 'exchange' has occurred - the 'putting to death' of our old nature and giving way to the new nature within. Nothing speaks of a 'parting of the ways' from the old to the new like death. Death to the old self and life to the new nature that is birthed within us in saying 'yes' to Jesus.
Truth be told, we are all dead because of our sins, and we deal with this crazy sinful nature that needs a good 'excision' in order to be rid of it. The good news is that this is not our work, but God's. If I had to do this all on my own, I'd be a mess! The 'charges' that our sinful nature brings against us are innumerable, but they are done away with at the cross. I am delighted to know that the 'spiritual rulers and authorities' that want to make us feel like we need to 'do more' to be right with God are disarmed - they have no weapons that they can actually use against us!
They might try to make us think we need 'more' than our simple faith in the finished work of the cross, but God won't let them pull the wool over our eyes on that one. He has taking painstaking care to lay out the truth of our 'freedom from sin' and our 'sinful nature' in scripture so we don't get misled by those 'crafty devils' who want to entrap us in religious philosophies. We just need to trust the finished work of Christ to make us whole and free - this 'exchange' isn't physical as much as it is 'spiritual'. We might see the physical change because as our inward nature changes it is only natural that our outward appearance and outward actions will change right along with it! Just sayin!