Thursday, July 24, 2008

Colossians 1:13-14

Day 3

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.

In the verse preceding this passage, Paul identified his fellow believers as “saints in Light.” Now he tells us why. We were not always people who walked in light. Before God saved us, we were walking around in darkness. Paul is speaking of a spiritual darkness here-- the kind that comes from complete blindness.

When I was teaching, every year we took the fifth grade to the Crystal Grottoes Caverns, located near the Antietam battlefield. It was a fascinating walk underground, and I never tired of marveling at the amazing rock formations and multi-colored mineral deposits year after year. One of the most talked about parts of the tour was when our guide led us into a large “room” and then turned off the lights. At that point we were 55 feet below the surface. Not one speck of light from the sun above could penetrate down to where we stood. The guide, of course, warned us ahead of time that we must remain perfectly still, and not move while the lights were out, lest someone get hurt. When the light snapped off, we were in total darkness. No matter how hard we strained, we could not see our own hand in front of our face. I was always glad that the guide had warned us ahead of time to remain still, because if a fifth grader made a sudden move toward me, I never would have seen it coming. I was blind to what was around me. The reality was that I was in a room full of children and parents. Yet from what my eyes could perceive, nothing existed outside of me.

That is the kind of darkness we were in, and it is the kind of darkness that so many continue to dwell in today. They can’t see the nose in front of their face. The spiritual realities that exist are something they cannot see, for they are blind. In the absence of light, sight is impossible.

Paul tells us that this utter darkness is what God rescued us from. It was where we dwelt. The darkness was our reality. The best part is, once He plucked us from darkness, He placed us into the kingdom of His beloved Son, the kingdom of light.

Light exposes every flaw. I used to prefer to entertain after sundown, because then the dirt in the corners of my home was not so noticeable to my guests. Everything looks better by the soft light of a few well-placed candles! But in the brightness of daylight, every speck of dirt is apparent. To be a sinner plucked out of the ignorance of darkness and placed in the brightness of the Light is to have our sin exposed. Not a pretty thought. When Isaiah stood in the light of the glory of God, he threw himself to the ground and cried, “Woe is me! For I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts.” Our sin becomes glaringly obvious when illuminated by the presence of light.

Yet the light that God transferred us to was not a harsh, condemning light. Instead, it was a warm, welcoming glow, because as He transferred us, He gave us redemption and forgiveness for our sins. We need not shield ourselves from the reality that sudden sight will bring. As we slowly open our eyes, squinting against the glory of the light of God, we are astonished to find that instead of the filthy rags we wore, we are robed in garments that are new and clean and white as snow.

From darkness into light. I stopped at just two verses today, because the picture Paul is painting here is so vital to the point he will make later on in his letter. This will become apparent as we read on together in the days to follow.

You are a son or daughter of the King who rules the Kingdom of Light. Live like a prince or princess today. Reflect the glory with which your adopted parent surrounds you. We are no longer in the darkness. We dwell in the light!

How can I demonstrate to others the kingdom I now represent? How can I be an instrument of God’s light to a world still living in darkness?

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