While the overall theme of the Book of Colossians is the Preeminence of the Christ, we want to focus our attention on three verses – the message that is recorded in Colossians 1:12-14. Just prior to those statements, Paul set forth his prayer for the Colossian saints (1:9-11). Now, in verses 12-14, he writes about giving thanks to God the Father. Why should He receive thanks? Hear Paul’s words:
(12) Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (13) He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, (14) in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.
According to these verses, what has God the Father done for Christians? Consider these six truths.
God the Father has made us HIS CHILDREN (1:12). There is a sense in which all humans are the offspring of God (Acts 17:28,29). But the statement in Colossians 1:12 points to God as a spiritual Father to certain people. Those who have by faith been baptized into the Christ are counted as God’s spiritual children (Galatians 3:26,27). In every culture, what is expected of children? Respect. “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect” (Hebrews 12:9). How much greater is our heavenly Father worthy of our respect! Again, what is expected out of children? Obedience (Ephesians 6:1,2). Should our Father not see such in us as we serve Him?
God the Father has also made us HEIRS. The text declares that He “has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints” (1:12). What do we call those that have an inheritance? “Heirs.” In a family, the children have unique privileges and blessings. So it is in the family of God. Christians are “joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17). God’s children have an inheritance that is reserved in heaven for them (1 Peter 1:3,4).
Third, God the Father has made us SAINTS (1:12). This is the idea of being holy or sanctified, those who are set apart for God’s purpose. How does God sanctify or make people holy? Through His word. Hear Jesus’ prayer to the Father: “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth . . . that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (John 17:17,19). If the Bible says that God sanctifies people (makes them holy), then does that mean that humans have nothing to do in order to be holy? No. The Bible teaches that we are “sanctified by faith” (Acts 26:18). Obedient faith is man’s proper response to God’s grace. Continuing to demonstrate such a faith is what keeps one sanctified in the Son of God.
We also learn from Colossians 1:13 that God the Father has DELIVERED us. From what? From the power of darkness. There are only two possibilities for each accountable person: each person is either walking (living) in the light, or walking in darkness. Those who are outside of the Christ are lost in darkness. God calls such people into the light of His Son (1 Peter 2:9). How does God do such calling? He calls men through the message of the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14). Those who respond to the call of the gospel by obeying Jesus are delivered from darkness. Those who reject the gospel remain in the lost state of darkness.
Fifth, God the Father has CONVEYED/ TRANSLATED us (1:13). Into what? “. . . into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” When did that transition take place? When we obeyed from the heart the form of doctrine which we learned in the gospel (Romans 6:17). When one obeys the gospel, he is baptized into the Christ and into His death (Romans 6:3,4). Put another way, according to Jesus, one that believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16). From Acts 2:47, we learn that God adds such saved people to His church.
That brings us back to the thought that the Father had conveyed the Colossians into Jesus’ kingdom (1:13). If people in the first century were in the kingdom of our Lord, then what conclusion should we make about that kingdom? It already existed at that time. No one can be “in” a kingdom that does not exist! Those in our generation who tell us that they are waiting for Jesus to come again to establish His kingdom on earth have missed a major truth: His kingdom already exists! It has been in existence for about 2000 years. The kingdom of the Christ is His church, over which He rules as King or Head.
Finally, in Colossians 1:14 we learn that God the Father has REDEEMED/FORGIVEN us. How wonderful is that?! From what are we redeemed? Our sins. Where does this forgiveness take place? In the Christ (1:14). Since a person can only be redeemed by the blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:18,19), and since redemption is found only in Him, then if a person wants to be forgiven, he must get into the Christ. Forgiveness is available to all, but received only by those that obey the gospel and by so doing are added to the Kingdom.
God is so great! He has made us His children, heirs, and saints, delivered us, conveyed us into the Kingdom, and forgiven us. Glory be to His name.
—Roger D. Campbell
TRUTH is published monthly by the Klang church of Christ in order to help educate, edify, encourage, and equip the saints of God.