Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Into the Kingdom of Light

He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

Paul transitions now from pastoral prayer to hymn of praise. This is what his prayer has been leading up to all along, and is what the believers at Colosse (and us, as well) desperately need to hear. He has come to the object of his passion — Jesus Messiah, Son of God — the One through whom God has made everything possible for Paul, for the Colossians and for us. He is the one who is to be exalted above all because it is in Him that everything comes together as God has always intended.

We have been delivered — rescued! — from the “power of darkness.” Jesus has done it by going through it for us. When the chief priests and the Temple guard came to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, He said, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53). On the cross, He dealt the death blow to the heart of darkness and destroyed its power from the inside out, bursting forth in glory three days later. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

God has also “conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” The Greek word for “conveyed” was often used of the transfer or relocation of large numbers of people from one region to another, settling them as colonists or citizens. Think of how God delivered the children of Israel from out of Egypt into the Promised Land. That is the kind of picture Paul creates here. God has transferred us from out of the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His Son. This is the Father’s inheritance for us. He has made us a colony of heaven on earth.

Do not think of this, though, as being removed from one kingdom into another, as if they were two powers, equal and opposite. It is not like that at all. The power of darkness is no match for the kingdom of God. Darkness is not a kingdom at all; it has no rightful dominion and whatever power it did have has been broken. “The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining” (1 John 2:8).

God has brought us into is the kingdom of the “Son of His love” that is, His very dear and beloved Son. When Jesus was baptized by John, the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove and the voice of the Father said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). On the Mount of Transfiguration, the Father said, “This is My beloved Son, hear Him” (Mark 9:7). It is through Jesus that we come into this kingdom, for we are “accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6).

This kingdom is the kingdom of light, because Jesus is the Light of the World. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:5). In Him, we are light. “We are not of the night nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 5:5). “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).

The kingdom God has brought us into is a kingdom of redemption, the forgiveness of sins. This combination, redemption and forgiveness, pictures a slave purchased at the marketplace and released from bondage. It is in Jesus that we have been redeemed out of the slave market; the price paid was His blood. The Greek word for “forgiveness,” refers literally to sending away and speaks of release from bondage. In Jesus, the guilt of our sin is sent far away from us and we are set free.

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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