“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (KJV, Col. 1:12-14).
“Giving thanks unto the Father”
The fatherhood of God must be central in the heart of the Christian. Here, we see it is to the Father that the Christian must give thanks. God the Father saw fit from eternity past to adopt into His family those that would turn to Christ in saving faith.
When Jesus preached His Sermon on the Mount, He instructed His listeners as to how they ought to pray. In doing so, Jesus showed them the way in which they ought to direct their prayers to the Father. This is not to say that one should never talk to Jesus or to ask something of the Holy Spirit. However, it is to say that the Father should be the primary recipient of the prayers of the Christian. In Colossians 1:12-14, we see that prayers to the Father should consist of giving thanks.
When someone speaks to the Father in prayer, he must also recognize that the Father is good to His children. Elsewhere, Jesus speaks of the tendency of even evil fathers to give good gifts to their children. Jesus goes on to highlight the fact that our Father in heaven will surely give good gifts to those who ask the Father for them.
After someone is justified, he is adopted into the family of God. Adoption comes from the Father, through Christ, and by the Spirit. Paul tells us in Romans 8:15 that the Christian has received the Spirit of adoption, and by the Holy Spirit, the Christian cries out, “Abba Father.” The inner witness of the Holy Spirit is the Christian’s best evidence that God is real and the Bible is true. The Christian is intimately acquainted with God by the work of the Holy Spirit within the Christian’s heart.
“which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light”
While there is much to give thanks for, we see that Paul had something particular in mind when he brought his readers’ attention to giving thanks to the Father. Paul tells us that the Father has made us “meet” to partake in an inheritance. To say that the Father has made us “meet” is to say that the Father has qualified the Christian or made him fit for the inheritance that is to come.
Prior to Christ, a person is not fit to inherit anything from God. What is true of the unbeliever is that he is estranged from God, a rebel, and on the side of darkness rather than on the side of light. The Bible tells us that the unbeliever is dead in his sins and trespasses and is a child of wrath.
It cannot be said that the Christian is a child of wrath. Instead, a Christian is a child of God and a co-heir with Christ.
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness”
The way in which God has made the Christian fit to partake in the inheritance comes by way of deliverance. Prior to Christ, the unbeliever is held in bondage under the power of darkness. The power of darkness is nothing short of sin and Satan. There are two realms in which a person may find himself. In this verse, we see the first of those two realms. Paul calls the first realm the realm of darkness. It could also be thought of as the realm of sin and/or Satan.
In Luke 4:6, when Satan sought to tempt Jesus with the kingdoms of the world, Satan told Jesus that he would give to Jesus, “All this power,” and that he (Satan) had authority to give it to Jesus or to whomsoever Satan would choose.
In Acts 26:18, we can read the words of Jesus that were said to the apostle Paul. Jesus tells Paul that Paul is being sent to open the eyes of the Gentiles so that the Gentiles would turn from the darkness to the light and from Satan’s power to God. Here, we see what Paul had in mind when he wrote Colossians 1:12-14. Paul would have literally been looking back to the words that he had heard during his conversion.
Finally, Paul tells us in the book of 2 Corinthians that Satan blinds the minds of the unbelievers so that they cannot see and know God. What causes the change? Deliverance causes the change by way of the light of the Gospel.
“and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son”
When God shines the light of the Gospel into the heart of man, He, in essence, delivers them from their bondage. When the eyes of man are opened for the first time, he can truly begin to see God and know God. At salvation, there are many blessings that are poured out into the life of the Christian. One of the startling realties of the Christian is that he has been taken out of the power of darkness and has been translated into the kingdom of Christ.
The word “translated” carries the meaning of changing or removing. To be translated into the kingdom of Christ also carries with it the idea of changing one’s place or condition. God the Father moves the Christian from the power of darkness and into the kingdom of Christ, through Christ and by way of the Spirit of God.
“In whom we have redemption through his blood”
Here, we see a crucial element of the deliverance that takes place. Paul tells us that the Christian has been delivered. However, Paul tells us here that what took place was a divine act which is properly called redemption.
When the Bible speaks of redemption, it speaks of a divine purchase from slavery. Paul has already told us that the unbeliever was under the power of darkness. The reality of the situation is that the unbeliever is nothing short of a slave. This means that the unbeliever is incapable of choosing righteousness; he cannot do it. His slave master, Satan, will not allow such activity from his slave.
This means that the unbeliever must be rescued, delivered, and redeemed. The redemption theme runs throughout the Bible. One place in which the redemption theme is on display can be seen surrounding the Israelites’ slavery in Egypt. The Israelites were slaves and under the authority of Pharaoh. They were subjected to forced labor and under the thumb of their task master.
However, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, God delivered them. Do you remember what God’s final act of deliverance was to redeem His people? It is twofold. First, it was the slaughtering of the lamb and the blood that saved the Israelites during Passover. Second, it was the death of the firstborn that brought about their redemption.
Paul tells us that the Christian has redemption through the blood of Christ. Many years prior to Paul’s words, God pointed forward to the coming of His Son during the Passover. In Christ, the Christian has been redeemed from bondage and translated into the kingdom of Christ. Paul tells us of the price Christ paid for the believer’s redemption: His precious blood.
“even the forgiveness of sins”
The Christian is not simply redeemed; he is also forgiven. The Christian is forgiven for living a life in which everything that he did was characterized by sin. The Christian is also forgiven for the sin that he has committed as a Christian. Forgiveness characterizes the life of the Christian.
Forgiveness is at the heart of the Gospel and is by far one of the most popular Christian themes. The Christian no longer stands before God as guilty. In this truth, the Christian must rejoice. This Thanksgiving, take time to thank God for the forgiveness and inheritance He has given you.
Father, I thank You for the forgiveness that You have given me in Christ. I thank You for making me fit to be a partaker of the inheritance that is to come. You have been good to me, and I pray that You would help me to grow in my faithfulness to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen