Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made ns meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. (Coloss. i. 12)
THE Apostle teaches us in these words that we should give thanks to God the Father for three great benefits, which He has granted to us through Jesus Christ. The first benefit was our justification: Partakers of the inheritance. The second benefit is our liberation from the power of the Devil : Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness. The third benefit is translation into the eternal kingdom: And hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son.
- On the first head it is to be noted, that it is a three-fold inheritance, which God distributes to His saints.
(1) Eternal predestination: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the council of His own will; that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. (Eph. i. 11, 12.)
We should give thanks to God for the great benefit of being Known and Desired by Him from all eternity. God knows us and desires that we should be saved. His knowledge and desire is one for all men. It is up to us to choose and accept His Grace so that we might find our place in His Kingdom. All men will face God, see God, know God, and experience the rule and governance of God in the eternal state. The hitch is that some will know and love Him in Heaven and others will do the same in Hell. Hell is inverted Heaven. But in both places men are saved according to God’s Grace. In both places men experience God’s everlasting Judgment and Love.
(2) Justification: Unto him shall be given the chosen gift of faith, and an inheritance in the temple of the Lord. (Wisd. iii. 14)
For those who choose God, the gift of faith will grow within them so that they begin to inherit their eternal reward. We should give thanks to God because His Grace grows faith in our hearts so that we become members of the Body of His Son, Jesus Christ.
(3) Eternal glorification: Now is he numbered among the children of God, and his lot is among the saints. (Wisd. v. 5)
If our faith persists and grows holy habits and virtues in our lives, we shall receive not only a foretaste of glory on earth but also an eternal glory in Heaven. We thank God for the promise of eternal union and communion with Him in Everlasting Glory.
- On the second head it is to be noted, that God in a three-fold manner delivers us from the power of the Devil.
(1) By liberating us from the service of the Devil: That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the Devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. (Heb. ii. 14.) The Devil is the prince of darkness: We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world. (Eph. vi. 12)
We thank God for promising to deliver us from the power and service of Satan. He does not promise us that we shall not wage spiritual warfare against Satan. This is part and parcel of sanctification, whereby we die to sin and come alive to righteousness. But we must ask ourselves today if we have truly been waging a spiritual battle with our past and present sins. Have we been facing the lives we have led with the knowledge that unconfessed and unpardoned guilt is present in us and will continue to corrupt us until we repent and allow His Grace to work sin out of our lives?
(2) By illuminating the darkness of our ignorance by the light of His doctrine : The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light. (Isa. ix. 12) Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light: which in time past were not the people, but are now the people of God : which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 St. Pet. ii. 9, 10)
We thank God that He desires to call us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. We thank God that He desires to make us into His peculiar people who are defined and moved by mercy and forgiveness, by faith, by hope, and by love.
(3) By putting to flight the darkness of our sins by the light of His powers: Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. (Eph. v. 8)
We thank God that He puts to flight the darkness, meaninglessness, incoherence, powerlessness, and death of sin. We thank God that His light longs to make new life in us out of His persistent and determined love.
III. On the third head it is to be noted, that the Lord makes a three-fold translation of the holy ones.
(1) He translates them from the darkness of exile to the light ofthe vision of His glory: Enoch pleased the Lord, and was translated. (Ecclus. xliv. 16) Into paradise, which is the place furnishing the vision of God which is the blessedness of saints and angels. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ Whom thou hast sent.
We thank God that He longs to translate or carry us out of the warfare with Satan and Sin and into the light that will open our eyes to His Eternal Glory. We thank God for the hope of being able to see and know Him in the light that illuminates Paradise. We thank God that with the Saints and Angels we shall be incorporated into the Body of Jesus Christ, which always contemplates and loves the Father. We thank God that in Jesus Christ we shall know even as we are known, that we shall love even as we are loved.
(2) He translates them from death to eternal life: We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. (1 St. John iii. 14)
We begin to pass from death to life here and now as we die to sin and come alive to righteousness. What is key is that we are truly dying to sin. Some people have lived ungodly lives and think that understanding or knowledge will make all of the past better. We must confess our sins against others. We must confess that with others we did not live godly lives, did not love the brethren, and did not open our hearts to God’s rule and governance. We must confess that our past relationships were perverse and profane, immoral and impure, unclean, unholy, and unrighteous. We must ask forgiveness for the habits of life in which we colluded with others not for God’s Grace but for our own selfish and narcissistic ends.
(3) He translates them from this wretched state to the inheritance of the heavenly kingdom: Unto the kingdom of His dear Son,” &c.
Ultimately when we have worked out our salvation in fear and trembling, we shall be rewarded with God’s Heavenly Kingdom. At the Final Judgment we shall be given our Resurrected Bodies. Then we shall take our place either in God’s Presence or not. Let us endeavor this day to journey into deepest repentance and sorrow for the sins of our past lives. Let us look at ourselves and see where we are not healed because we have run away from our former selves. Let us face our former selves and ask the Lord to heal us of sin’s punishment. Amen.