Today we pick up where we left off in our journey through the letter to the church in Colosse. The apostle Paul writes about his prayer for them, that they be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (1:9). The reason for such a prayer is simple; he desires that they continue “being fruitful to every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (1:10). Their growth (i.e., maturity) is crucial, at least in part, because of the influences around them and their need to fight against them. But there is something present in the youngest of believers that can wield the sword of God against such foes. It is a simple yet powerful act of thankfulness. Here though, the object of such gratitude is specific.
“…giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers…”
This idea caused me to pause and think about my walk with Christ. Remember, Paul’s prayer mentioned earlier is that they “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him,” which will involve the pursuit of maturity. But what is behind even that quest? Thankfulness! Not for all that the Father does for us, although that deserves my gratitude. Here, Paul wants them to focus on their appreciation. First, remember He has qualified you. The word qualified simply means to make sufficient, render fit. Listen to how the ETRV translates this verse, “He has made you able to have what he has promised to give all his holy people, who live in the light.” The kindness of God is impossible the measure but so easy to forget. He has qualified us to be partakers, to share or participate. It caused me to think of 2nd Peter 1:4, which also speaks of our ability to be “partakers of the divine nature” through the work of Christ. So, Paul focuses even further, reminding them of what precisely the Father has done through the giving of His Son.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and
conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
Our ability to be thankful links us to two fundamental truths; First, remember your spiritual state before Christ. The fact that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) has resulted in a separation from God (Isaiah 59:1-2) and is worthy of death (Romans 6:23). Those verses, so familiar in my mind, have lost their edge in some ways. The Father has delivered, meaning to rescue, or as Peter wrote, “called you out of darkness” (1st Peter 2:9). One commentator writes, “Salvation is, first of all, rescue from the guilt and bondage of sin, to which man has given occasion by his own choice, but which, once admitted, he cannot himself break.” All mankind find themselves “having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). Part of their ability to fight against the forces around them and us is to remember where we came from. That, within itself, leaves one only in despair. Thus, it is vital to continuously remember that the Father has “conveyed (i.e., to transfer) us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Remember the salvation that I have provided and the cost of it. My Son gave His life spilled His blood to supply the redemption you need, the forgiveness of your sins. Through Christ’s blood, the church was purchased (Acts 20:28). God made possible the impossible, “having made peace through the blood of His cross” (Colossians 1:20). It is “in Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:7). Take time to be thankful for this amazing gift of mercy and grace.
I am convinced that a thankful heart is at the very core of spiritual maturity. A heart that takes the time to reflect and remember what God has done to save us from ourselves. That He has delivered us from such a bleak existence and horrible future and conveyed us into the glorious kingdom of the Son of His love. His Son loved His Father so much that He gave His life for sinful man. It is so easy to forget that there has never been a gift so precious.