Note that Colossians 1:13 says, “God has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son” (NRSV). It does not say, “God will rescue us from the power of darkness and transfer us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.” And it certainly does not say, “We hope that God will rescue us from the power of darkness and transfer us into the kingdom of his beloved Son.” The transfer has already taken place. Through Christ we have been relocated. Baptism signifies that. Anyone who knows what it is like to be transferred to another town or country will know that it takes some getting used to. It is a dislocation. One has to find new schools, doctor, dentist, shops, where to get the car serviced, and things like that. But there is no use hankering for the old place; the sooner they adjust to living in the new location the happier they will be. We already are citizens of the kingdom, part of God’s realm. The Spirit of God is within us. The Spirit of Christ has taken up residence there and is nudging us to follow in his way. We feel the arms of the Father embracing us as in the story he embraced the prodigal son, so we are inspired by that same spirit of love. We are led to worship God in spirit and in truth. Yet we still pray, “May your kingdom come” – come both to us individually and to us collectively as humanity. There is always further to living in this new location. This is why in the same passage we have a prayer that we “May be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding”, leading lives worthy of the Lord, as we bear fruit in every good work and as we grow in our relationship with God (Colossians 1:9). We have been transferred from the prison of our own selfish desire; then let’s live in the life of God’s kingdom.
- What has been your experience of being transferred either to a new place or to a new position?
- Transfers always take some adjusting to, how much more would it be when the transfer is from prison to freedom?
- Do you see yourself living in Christ’s kingdom? What does that mean to you?
- What would it mean if people took seriously the idea that baptism signifies the transfer from being captive to the power of darkness to being transferred into Christ’s kingdom?