Colossians & Philemonby Mike Raiter
In Colossians 1:9–11, we saw how Paul prays for the believers in Colossae. He concluded by praying for their endurance. Now he continues by asking for their perseverance to be marked with joyful thanksgiving. Thus Paul’s prayer comes full circle: he begins and ends with thanksgiving. We see Paul displaying what the early Christian theologian St. Augustine termed as one of the great marks of a believer—that is, he or she “is a hallelujah from head to foot”.
The Colossians—and we—should be thankful that we have been made fit to inherit the “kingdom of light” (v. 12), the new age of spiritual life and understanding. God’s great promise to His people, Israel, was that they would inherit the land of Canaan. But that promise was only a foreshadowing of the true and greater reality. Ultimately, God’s promised inheritance was not a piece of land, but the true kingdom in which we enjoy all God’s spiritual blessings in Christ. Incredibly, we Gentiles who for so long were outside God’s kingdom are now co-heirs.
How is all this possible? Well, look at what happened in the Old Testament. In verses 13 to 14, it appears that Paul has in mind the exodus and the subsequent possession of the promised land. God rescued His people from Pharaoh’s dominion of darkness by His mighty hand. This is a picture of the gospel. It is the shadow; the reality is what God has done for us in Jesus. Humanity’s true bondage is to sin. The true Pharaoh who enslaves us is the Prince of Darkness; and the true Moses who leads us to our true inheritance is the Lord Jesus. In short, the exodus from Egypt pointed forward to the true exodus from Satan’s dominion and into life under the lordship of Jesus. This redemption, the forgiveness of our sins, was accomplished through Jesus’ death on the cross.
What a model prayer! This is the kind of prayer God delights in. This is the prayer God always hears, the kind of prayer that lifts our hearts and minds from our momentary, passing afflictions to the great gospel truths that define who we are and celebrate all God has done and will do for us in Jesus.
What do you think it means to have God’s power in us (v. 11)? Read over Paul’s prayer again. How does he see God’s power manifesting itself in believers’ lives?
What would you say if someone asked you, “What is the gospel?” How has Paul’s prayer (vv. 13–14) helped you to clarify what the gospel is?