Thursday, January 19, 2017

Colossians 1:13

In this verse, we find two more of the items of thanksgiving that Paul includes in his continuous prayer for the Colossian believers. The first is that of being rescued from Satan.

The inference is that the Colossians were held captive at one time. God delivered them (and in turn us) being under the tyrannical control of Satan’s domain. The word translated from the Greek as darkness (skotos) carries the image of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell. Paul in Ephesians 2:1 says that we were dead in trespasses and sins, going the way of the world. Here he tells us that God came in and delivered us from the consequences of our natural life. It is a symbol of ignorance, falsehood, and sin.[1]

The word authority (Greek exousia) in this instance means the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed), in this instance that of Satan and his domain – the kingdom of darkness. Paul builds upon this image of the kingdom of darkness in his letter to the Ephesians in chapter 6 verse 12. He refers to Satan as being the prince of the power of the air in Ephesians 2:2.

So, giving thanks that they are liberated from the control and inheritance of misery from this domain, he continues on to the third statement of thanksgiving, that the Colossian believers were not only delivered from that kingdom, but transferred into Christ’s kingdom. The Greek word methistemi means to change of remove.[2] Because of the sacrifice that Christ made on their behalf, the believers in Colossae had been transported, transplanted, translated, and transferred from the control of Satan to the control of Jesus Christ. 

The Son is the object of God’s love (agape) is Jesus Christ. Paul is making a contrast to the Gnostics views of the systems they elevated for one to reach. He is thanking God that we have been delivered not only out of the bondage of slavery to sin and Satan, but have been moved into the glorious kingdom of the Messiah. When a person receives Christ, they are converted into a colonist and citizen of a new kingdom. We cannot build this kingdom, it is only possible when one opens their heart and receives Christ as their Savior. At that point, we are transferred into this kingdom relationship.[3]

[1] Falwell, Jerry, ed. Liberty Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. Page 2456. 
[2] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 640. 
[3] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. Page 337.

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