WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE SAVED? - 1

GOD HAS QUALIFIED YOU

This collection of thoughts looks at the message of salvation in Paul's letter to the Colossian Christians. Because false teachers in Colosse were shrinking the meaning of salvation through the cross, and giving saving significance to human actions, Paul gives an extensive description of what God did in and through the death of his Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross.

The first aspect of salvation that Paul mentions is this: God 'has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.'

Here is an amazing, incredible thing: that qualification to live with God is a gift from God, something he has done to and for us.

In ourselves we are disqualified. Not one of us is able to qualify ourselves for entry into heaven, for acceptance in the presence of God. But here Paul gives thanks to God the Father because he has qualified us.

Do we have to qualify ourselves? No.

Do we have to keep ourselves qualified? No.

Can anything we do disqualify us? No.

Why then do so many Christians live each day as though it is our performance that day that qualifies or disqualifies us to live with God, to enjoy his favour and blessing?

When we do so, we are completely missing Paul's point in this aspect of the Good News: God has qualified us.

The massive significance of this, and how it is possible, will unfold as we look at other aspects of salvation in Colossians in the weeks ahead.

[Scriptures: Colossians 1:12; Romans 3:19,20; Galatians 2:15,16; 3:10]

GOD HAS RESCUED US

Paul states that God ' ... has rescued us from the dominion of darkness ... '

Here salvation is expressed as God rescuing us. To be rescued presupposes an undesirable, threatening or dominating condition from which we need to be rescued.

The undesirable state from which God rescues us is here described as 'the dominion of darkness'.

'Dominion' refers to authority, power and control; it also means the place where that authority and control is exercised. When God rescues us from the 'dominion' of darkness, he rescues us from both the one in authority and the area of his jurisdiction.

The dominion - the power and control - from which God has rescued us, is the 'dominion of darkness'. What is this darkness - this dominating, controlling, enslaving power from whose authority and from whose kingdom God has rescued us?

It is the darkness of ignorance of God.

It is the darkness of separation from God.

It is the darkness of sin.

It is the darkness of guilt.

It is the darkness of condemnation and judgement.

It is the darkness of death.

It is the darkness of Satan.

It is the darkness of an eternity of separation from God.

So deep and all-embracing is this darkness in which mankind is trapped that most people do not realise they are in it; many do not realise that it actually is darkness and bondage, for they have never known spiritual light and spiritual freedom.

To be locked in darkness is a terrible thing. To be dominated by darkness and not realize that it is darkness and that it is bondage is a far more terrible thing.

From this dominion of darkness God has rescued us.

[Scriptures: Colossians 1:13; Matthew 4:16; 6:23; Luke 1:69; John 1:5; 3:19; 8:12, 31-34; 12:46; Acts 26:17-18; 2 Corinthians 4:4-6; Ephesians 6:12; Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 1:5; Jude 6,13]