I have been camping in Colossians, working through it inductively for quite a while now, and there is so much to pull from this rich book. Being reminded of all the riches we have in Christ, is a sweet reminder to give thanks to the Lord in and through all things.Being reminded of all the riches we have in Christ, is a sweet reminder to give thanks to the Lord in and through all things.Click To Tweet
So many times I spend time in prayer asking God for things, and they can even be good things, meeting spiritual needs in my life and the lives of others. But as I search my heart and ponder God's goodness and provision, are my prayer requests out of balance with my need to offer and give God thanksgiving for what He has already done? Do I offer thanksgiving for the benefits I have because I am in Christ?
It ought to be as habitual to us to thank as to ask.
~ C. H. Spurgeon
Thanksgiving should be a part of our lives as believers, but I fail too many times at this one. I hope after we walk through just a small piece of text together and see a few of the wonderful benefits that we have if we are in Christ, that we will find ourselves giving thanksgiving to Lord throughout our days. (Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of all the benefits we have in Christ but some great ones to acknowledge from this text.)Thanksgiving should be a part of our lives as believersClick To Tweet
5 Benefits We Have in Christ:
Let's take a look at Colossians 1:12-14:
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
There are many ways to tear these verses apart, but I've broken them down to find five benefits I see for those of us that have been granted the gift of salvation.
1. We Share in His Inheritance:
Colossians 1:12 – giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
These verses are part of Paul's prayer for the Colossian church starting in Colossians 1:9 where he tells them “we have not ceased to pray for you.” The term used for giving thanks in verse 12 is eucharisteo. It means to be grateful, to give thanks. It's in the present tense here so it implies that thanksgiving should be the continual lifestyle of the believer.
“When a Christian finds himself in a difficult situation, he should immediately give thanks to the Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Spirit, to keep his heart from complaining and fretting. The devil moves in when a Christian starts to complain, but thanksgiving in the Spirit defeats the devil and glorifies the Lord.”
~ Warren Wiersbe
We've experienced the grace of God, and we are now enabled by grace to give thanks for all that the Lord allows in our lives. If we truly ponder all we have to be thankful for from the Lord we would probably be much more grateful people.We've experienced the grace of God, and we are now enabled by grace to give thanks for all that the Lord allows in our lives.Click To Tweet
Verse 12 continues to let us know we are “qualified” to enter into God's eternal presence and this truth alone should give our hearts a continued attitude of gratitude.
William MacDonald sums us what it means to be qualified:
“When God saves someone, He instantly bestows on that person fitness for heaven. That fitness is Christ. Nothing can improve on that. Not even a long life of obedience and service here on earth makes a person more fit for heaven than he was the day he was saved. Our title to glory is found in His blood.”
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21
At salvation, Christ takes our sin, and He makes us right with God. At the moment of our conversion, we are given His righteousness. His righteousness for our sin. This is a benefit of God's great undeserved kindness to us and is one that we are to be eternally grateful.
2. Delivered from the Domain of Darkness and Adopted as His Children:
Colossians 1:13 – He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
The term for delivered here means literally to snatch from an enemy. The Amplified Version says, “The Father has delivered and drawn us to Himself.” God delivered us from sin and death when Jesus died in our place and took the punishment for our sin. We couldn't save ourselves only God could. This should cause us to give thanks!
Jesus has authority in us over the darkness. I don't have authority over the darkness apart from Jesus working and living in me. Jesus has the authority over it, and as we walk in the light, we will see power over the darkness as He works in and through us.
What is our new position? Peter states it so perfectly:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ~ 1 Peter 2:9
We are delivered from freedom from our enemies as verse 13 states, but the freedom is to now live a holy lifestyle.
The word for “holy” in 1 Peter 2:9 is the Greek word “Hagios” which means set apart, sanctified. So a holy one here is referring to someone who is set apart for a special purpose.
We are saints, and we are always going to be in the world but we must find ourselves to be different from the world. The world's standards are no longer are standards. We have a new home, and we are part of a new family. We are “in the world” but not “of the world” (Romans 12:2).
I love the boat analogy from Steve Lawson:
“We are in the world, but not of the world. We are to have our boat in the water, but no water in the boat.”
As saints, we have been transferred from darkness to light, slavery to freedom, from guilt to forgiveness.
We were rebels and part of a rebellious kingdom, and now we have been chosen and adopted by the King of Kings. We serve a perfect King who loves and cares for us. As God's chosen children we should bear a family likeness.
3. We are Part of His Eternal Kingdom:
Colossians 1:13b – and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
When I think of being part of His eternal Kingdom the term location, location, location comes to my mind. Jesus didn't just save us and leave us to wander aimlessly on the earth. He transported us into His Heavenly Kingdom. There is no better location to be!
The excerpt below is from Warren Wiersbe's commentary I highly recommend on Colossians called, Be Complete (Colossians): Become the Whole Person God Intends You to Be
The phrase “his beloved Son” can be translated “the Son of His love.” At the baptism and transfiguration of Jesus Christ, the Father declared that Jesus was His “beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17; 17:5). This fact reminds us of the price the Father paid when He gave his Son for us. It also reminds us that His kingdom is a kingdom of love as well as a kingdom of light. The experience of Israel in the Old Testament is an illustration of this spiritual experience; for God delivered them from the bondage of Egypt and took them into the Promised Land of their inheritance. God brings us out that He might bring us in.“
~ Warren Wiersbe
There is the future Kingdom of God we have to look forward to when all will be restored, and there will be a new heaven and a new earth. But the Kingdom of God is more than the future. We entered this kingdom by the new birth (John 3:5).
Romans 14:7 -For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
When we became believers, Jesus became our King, here and now. He rules our hearts and lives, and He will come one day again to rule this earth. We are His subjects; He is our King. We have been placed out of the darkness of Satan’s kingdom to the light of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
I pray we rightly represent His kingdom to those who are still in darkness. We were once in darkness, may we be mindful of that as we are ambassadors of Jesus to a lost world.
4. We Have Been Redeemed:
Colossians 1:14a: in whom we have redemption,
We have been redeemed. It means “to let one go free upon payment of a ransom price. ” Jesus's death met the demands of God's holy law.
The Greek’s used the term redemption when money was paid to buy back and set prisoners of war free or to free slaves from their masters.
As believers, we have been bought back. We were held captive by Satan and enslaved to our sin nature. Earthly slaves can have their freedom bought, but no money can buy us freedom from our sin. The blood of Jesus Christ is the only payment that can redeem us. By His Death, Jesus paid the price to ransom or redeem us.
Hebrews 9:12 – he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.
Hebrews 9:22 – Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
The reminder that we have been bought with a price is a motivator for personal holiness (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The price to redeem us came at a high cost. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have been set free from sin. Our ransom has been paid on Calvary, and we are no longer slaves to sin but are now slaves to righteousness.
I am redeemed, but not with silver,
I am bought, but not with gold;
Bought with a price, the blood of Jesus,
Precious price of love untold.
~ Nor Silver Nor Gold by James Gray
Jesus shed His most precious blood for us that we might live through Him (1 John 4:9), for Him (2 Corinthians 5:15), and with Him (1Thessalonians 5:10). It is an eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15), with an eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12).
5. He Has Forgiven All Our Sin:
Colossians 1:14b: the forgiveness of sins.
The Greek Word here for forgiveness is aphesis and means to forgive or pardon of sins as if they have never been committed.
Forgiveness, particularly when coupled with redemption as it is here, includes more than canceling the guilt of sins. Thinking of forgiveness only in a narrow judicial sense (of removing penalty) blocks an appreciation for its more comprehensive meaning. Forgiveness includes breaking the hold and power of sin (Col 2:13–15). In John 8:11, Jesus’ words to the woman, “Go your way, and from now on do not sin again,” imply that she could do just that because she was forgiven. A line in a Charles Wesley hymn captures this fuller meaning of forgiveness, “He breaks the power of canceled sin.”
“Never build your preaching of forgiveness on the fact that God is our Father and He will forgive because He loves us. . . . It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. The only ground on which God can forgive me is through the Cross of my Lord.”
~ Oswald Chambers
We did not earn forgiveness; it is a total act of God's grace. Such a reminder that we have been forgiven much and we can now forgive much (Colossians 3:13).
Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
When will we become people with thankful hearts? Hearts that praise God in and through all circumstances? When we become those people who understand what we have been forgiven of and the cost of that forgiveness. It is then that we will become thankful to the Lord for all He has done for us in and through Jesus.
The Results – Thankful Hearts:
Our text in Colossians 1:12-14 is a praise to the Lord from Paul for all God has done. What a beautiful text to pray through. What am I most to be thankful for? Jesus Christ! “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15). We are made free. New creations in Christ. Adopted as His children. We share in His inheritance, we have a heavenly King and now are citizens of a heavenly kingdom. We have been bought and freed from the bondage of sin.
John MacArthur stated on this text that it could be outlined in three words: inheritance, deliverance, and transference. Inheritance, who has made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. Deliverance, who has delivered us from the power of darkness. Transference, and has transferred us into the kingdom of His dear Son in whom we have redemption, even the forgiveness of sins.
I love working through a text in this way because it helps me to grow in the knowledge of Christ and of His will and the hope is that I would walk worthy of Him. As we grasp these truths and remind ourselves by Preaching the Gospel to Ourselves of what Christ has done for us – we will be those who constantly give thanks to God for our salvation. We are in His kingdom because we are in Him. May we bow our hearts in thanksgiving to the only One who is worthy.
Thanks be to God!