Sometimes I wonder what God is up to.
I wonder at the mysteries of things I don’t understand, don’t see.
This summer, I am digging into such mysteries in a Bible study on Paul’s letter to the Colossian believers. Packed thick here are the mysteries of God’s work on our behalf—sometimes evident to us, sometimes hidden from us:
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13–14).
Here I learn that God has been quite active in conquering sin for me.
He rescued me from darkness.
He transferred me to His Son’s Kingdom.
He redeemed me.
He forgave me.
All this He does because He is love. It magnifies His unstoppable mercy for people throughout the ages, for:
Without His rescue, we remain captive to the darkness of the enemy.
Without His transfer, we remain enrolled in the enemy’s kingdom, in his service.
Without His redemption, we remain a slave to the enemy, property of his kingdom.
Wow—that’s already much to be thankful about! God is good. But if I stop here, at this third point, covering only captivity and transfer orders and redemption, I can play the victim:
I’ve been captured by the enemy, with no chance of escape.
I’ve been enlisted in the enemy’s service, with no option for a transfer elsewhere.
I’ve become a slave to the enemy, with no way to buy my freedom.
The enemy has been horrendous to us, it is true. It is also true that we have been horrendous to God. For without His forgiveness, I remain a willing captive, servant, and slave to the enemy as his property, in his kingdom, a ready foe of the One true God.
That’s why the fourth point in the list is essential: God’s forgiveness crashes in on my victim mentality, which points wildly at the enemy’s role in capturing me and forcing my stay in his camp and enslaving me to his purposes. As the victim, I find forgiveness to be the one thing in this list that doesn’t seem to go with the others.
Odd as it may sound to me, God knows what is needed even when I am slow to comprehend it. Yes, God rescues, God transfers, and God redeems. He does all that—and so much more!—and He does it for willfully rebellious people . . . then He goes a step further and forgives them for their enmity against Him.
That boggles the mind!
How does all this work together? Here’s how I see it:
With His rescue, I am now captive to the light of the Son.
With His transfer, I am now enrolled in the service of the King.
With His redemption, I am now bought and freed for the Kingdom.
And with His forgiveness through the blood of Christ, I am now cleared of my willful rebelliousness and given a new heart and a new spirit that are bent to God’s glory (Ezek. 36: 26).
Is God active on our behalf? Gratefully, yes.
And that is a mystery worth pondering.