Thanksgiving and prayer: Part 3 of 3 (series: Lessons on Colossians)
by John Lowe
11 BEING STRENGTHENED WITH ALL POWER ACCORDING TO HIS GLORIOUS MIGHT SO THAT YOU MAY HAVE GREAT ENDURANCE AND PATIENCE,
This verse describes the spiritual condition in which a believer brings forth fruit. From God comes the power and strength to bring forth fruit. The power to bring forth fruit is imparted strength―not strength worked up or brought about through our ability or wisdom—but strength imparted by God, the very power of God Himself within us. Paul clearly refers to the impartation of divine strength and divine power to believers. The natural man is feeble. Fallen humanity is weak, but rises to power when yielded to God’s grace, grounded in truth and filled with spiritual understanding.
The branch cannot bear fruit apart from the vine (John 15:1-8). We cannot bear fruit apart from the power of God within. A fruit-bearing Christian must be yielded—soul, spirit, and body. Our members must be dedicated to Him, instruments of righteousness. We must present our bodies a living sacrifice. The power to be an effective minister is imparted from God Almighty—we do not pray it up, pray it down, working it up, work it down, nor acquire it in a seminary—it comes from Almighty God, and it comes according to His glorious power.
12 AND GIVING JOYFUL THANKS TO THE FATHER, WHO HAS QUALIFIED YOU (some manuscripts US) TO SHARE IN THE INHERITANCE OF HIS HOLY PEOPLE IN THE KINGDOM OF LIGHT.
The normal life for a truly born again believer is to walk worthy, bear fruit, grow in grace, and be strengthened by the power of God in the inner man, in all things giving thanks—for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.
Here Paul is praying for the Colossians that they might walk worthy of the Christ, even in the immediate spiritual battles through which they were passing as false teaching (error) tried to make inroads into the church. Even amidst these difficulties, Paul prayed that they would be strengthened in patience, and that they would rejoice.
As sons of God, we have an inheritance (allotment), because we have trusted Jesus; in Him we become God's sons, thereby becoming heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus. The inheritance belongs to God’s “holy people” (saints). The saints are not the Jews; they are not the righteous ones in the Old Testament era. The saints are a specific company—those who belong to Christ because they have trusted Him and are saved upon the merit of His shed blood, having believed in His finished work, having trusted in His saving grace. They are the peculiar company referred to in the epistles as "saints."
Heaven is a place of light. We learn from Revelation 21 that there is no need of a sun or stars there—the Lamb is the light of the city. The radiance of Him will furnish the light for the city where the saints will live and move throughout eternity. Only saints will dwell in that city—those who are clothed with purity and perfection, and nothing short of God's holiness, the righteousness of the Lord Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). No such being exists on this earth in this body. Man is incapable of enjoying the inheritance of light in this body. By nature the natural man is darkness. His mind is darkened, his thoughts are impure, his heart is desperately wicked and must be changed before that man can enter the kingdom of light here, and inherit the inheritance of light at the end of life's journey (John 3:3; 1 John 1:7).
But if unregenerate man should enter heaven, heaven would be hell to him. Heaven is a prepared place for prepared people. The natural man must be changed, because the natural man is not subject to the will of God. No man in the flesh has ever obeyed God's command. There must be a change of heart. Let me hasten to say that what God commands, God provides and makes possible to the individual. Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. He who knew no sin was made sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in
Him. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus. . . Christ in you, the hope of glory!"
13 FOR HE HAS RESCUED US FROM THE DOMINION OF DARKNESS AND BROUGHT US INTO THE KINGDOM OF THE SON HE LOVES,
The Colossians had been translated out of the realm of “darkness”; they were at that same moment translated into the kingdom of God's dear Son. They had changed their citizenship and had become citizens of another kingdom, which was a present possession, not a future inheritance. (The kingdom of light in its fullness is a future inheritance, but the transition referred to in verse 13 is a possession here and now!) The split second an unbeliever puts his trust in Jesus, that split second he becomes a member of the kingdom of light. Believers are not immigrants in search of a home; they are not a company of dissatisfied exiles looking for a place to call their own. Believers are settled in the kingdom of God's dear Son. We are now the sons of God; we are now the possessors of eternal life; our citizenship is now in heaven. We sit together in heavenly places now. We are looking forward to that glorious morning when we will receive our glorified bodies, but our spirits are already citizens of the Celestial City, the inheritance of light.
14 IN WHOM WE HAVE REDEMPTION, THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS.
The moment an unbeliever exercises faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the heart is pardoned and forgiven all sin. Sinners become sons instantaneously; salvation is a sudden miracle, not a gradual process. But had not God provided redemption, had he not made possible free and perfect salvation, man would be destined to be damned!
Redemption makes no distinction with regard to sin . . . it knows no "little sins" or "big sins." Redemption shows no discrimination among transgressors . . . All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Jehovah God laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all, and the loving invitation is, "Whosoever will, let him drink of the water of life freely. They that come unto Me, I will in no wise cast out. Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." If you close your eyes in sin and opened them in hell, it will be because, in the words of Jesus, “He will not come to me, that he might have life!" (John 5:40).
We are justified by faith in the finished work of the Lamb of God, and to be justified is to be just as just as Jesus is just. Justification is the act of the Sovereign judge—the great God who gave His Son that redemption might be ours through His blood. Then I ask who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? By what authority can redemption be revoked or canceled? Please study carefully Romans 8:31-39.
Forgiveness!! How sweet the sound of that word! Forgiveness is more closely connected with the redemption we have in the blood of Jesus than any other blessing provided by the salvation we enjoy in Christ. Forgiveness comes to us in a split second. Many other blessings follow after we have been redeemed, but forgiveness is instant. It is the first blessing—the joy of knowing that forgiveness is ours, guilt is gone, and the burden is lifted! Peace is ours because we are pardoned.
I am so thankful that the Lord sees where we are in our spiritual journey and then takes us to a deeper level with Him. Paul's letter to the Colossians applies to you and to me. You can be so very thankful for what the Lord has done in your life. But, there is so much more! You can find the knowledge of God's Will for your life. You can live a life worthy of the Lord. You can please Him in every way. You can do this if you focus on Jesus and are obedient to Him. "It's All About Christ!" May the Lord find us faithful. Let's pray