Monday, September 8, 2014

DIVINE DELIVERANCE (Colossians Chapter 1)

Colossians 1:13, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son.”

In August 2010 a large cave-in in a mine in Chile entombed 33 miners 2300 feet underground.  The world anxiously waited for 17 days as exploratory bore holes were drilled to learn whether or not any of the miners were still alive.  Once they knew they were, extensive rescue efforts began.  Meanwhile the miners tried to escape.  But the mandated escape ladders had not been installed.  The duty shift supervisor gathered the men into a secure room and organized them and their meager resources to ensure their long term survival.  The room was only 540 square feet in size and had but two benches.  Food supplies were limited and each man lost an average of 18 lbs. by the time they were discovered.  Because of the high heat and humidity the men were always covered with sweat.  They would venture into the tunnels to find ventilation.  Sanitation was a problem.  Health problems ensued over time—two men suffered from silicosis, one developed pneumonia, others suffered from eye and teeth problems.  Plans were undertaken to rescue the men.  Nearly every Chilean government agency, NASA, and more than a dozen international corporations were involved.  A large hole was drilled (large enough to winch down a rescue capsule).  A rescue worker was sent down in the capsule to the workers.  Soon afterwards the first miner made his way to the surface.  After 69 days underground, before a TV audience estimated at more than 1 billion viewers, the 33 miners were brought safely to the surface.  After winching the last trapped miner to the surface, the rescue workers, all still underground, help us a sign for the TV cameras.  The sign read “Mission Accomplished Chile.”  On the surface people cried, hugged, and cheered.  It was a remarkable rescue, but the believer in Christ has experienced, in salvation, a deliverance of far greater importance and proportion.

The term translated “domain,” speaks of “the power of one whose commands must be submitted to.”  The unbeliever is a person bound in sin to “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2; Cf. 1 John 5:19; 2 Corinthians 4:4).  Satan’s domain is one of “darkness” in which he terrorizes his captives (Cf. Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:11, 6:12).  He is glad for the miserable and harsh enslavement of the lost, anticipating their damnation in “the outer darkness” (Matthew 8:12).  He hides the sole means of escape, and directs lost souls in a broad way leading to a disastrous end (Cf. Matthew 6:13).  There is, from the “domain of darkness,” no human means of escape.

The term translated “delivered” means “to rescue from.”  Jesus, “the Deliverer” (Cf. Romans 11:26), represents the sole means of rescue for sin-captives.  He has done all that is necessary to accomplish their deliverance.  “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:14-15).  Through his death on the cross Jesus has worked to accomplish the greatest of all rescue operations. Those rescuers of the Chilean miners were caring enough, wise enough, and resourceful enough to get the job done.  Likewise God purposed to intervene according to His love, power, and wisdom (Cf. John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:24). God not only intervened—that would be reason enough to praise and thank Him—but He did so at great cost to Himself, and though we, as sin rebels, were in no way deserving of His rescuing work (Cf. Romans 5:8).

The believer is one who has been delivered from a domain to be transferred to a kingdom.  The Chilean miners were transferred from a dark and foreboding place to the light of the sun and the warm embrace of family members and friends.  The believer has been brought into a “kingdom,” “a sphere of God’s rule,” that is characterized by love (Cf. Colossians 1:13).  The “domain” was according to the nature and character of the devil.  He is the father of lies, the adversary, the destroyer—and that is the character of his domain.  Christ is all loving, all wise, and all powerful—He reigns according to His benevolent nature.  His subjects are glad to love and serve Him (Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:15).

If you have not trusted in Jesus Christ you need to be rescued.  Your sin demands punishment.  Left unresolved, the darkness that is your present experience, will be nothing compared to the eternal darkness that awaits when you pass from this life (Cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:9).  You are like the miners, in the depths of an inescapable tomb, from which Christ alone can save you (Cf. Acts 16:31; Romans 10:9).  The Chilean miners were thankful and rejoicing when they were finally brought to the surface.  The believer in Christ has sufficient reason in his rescue from sin to forevermore abound in thanksgiving to God (Cf. Colossians 1:12, 2:7).

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