Colossians 1:13-14 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Bible tells us many times in many places why Jesus was born on this earth, suffered, died, and rose again, and this is one of those places. We don’t often think in terms of dominions, but they are real nonetheless. (As a side note, it’s interesting that those three words run together have been accepted as a single word for hundreds of years, because they do express a single idea.) To use modern imagery, you could say that Jesus was God’s “seal team,” sent on a mission into enemy territory to rescue those held hostage to sin. His weapons and tactics were very different from a military unit, and they required His ultimate sacrifice, but they were totally effective. The problem is, so many of the hostages have “Stockholm syndrome,” identifying with and acting on the side of their captor. The first step in rescue is for the captives to recognize they have been captured! That’s what evangelism is all about. Most people have some idea that things aren’t right, but apart from the eye-opening work of the Holy Spirit they can’t put their finger on it, much less act to correct it. The job of those who have already accepted their “rescue” is to let others know that it is available, sharing how God intervened in their life so that others too may have the hope of salvation.
I was in the anomalous situation of being raised in a thoroughly Christian home, so I had little understanding of the “dominion of darkness,” particularly in regard to my being imprisoned by it. I loved Jesus, and at age seven I requested and received baptism, in what I think was a genuine commitment. However, after that I wandered off into enemy territory, not understanding the necessity of keeping the lines of communication open to my Commander, the Lord Jesus Christ. As a result I ignored orders, even when I heard and even recognized them, and did damage to myself and others. Now, at 10 times my age when I was baptized, I am still not immune to the tricks and deceptions of the enemy, but I know fully whose side I am on, in which kingdom I am a citizen. I am charged with inviting others to cross over, to come out of the darkness into the light of life, but I can’t force anyone to follow through. Thankfully some do, and I am to train them in the ways of God’s kingdom, since they know essentially nothing about it. In that, I am to be a good and clear example, showing others how to follow Christ by doing so myself. When I slip up, my repentance needs to be instantaneous, knowing that the Holy Spirit in me is far greater than my flesh or the devil. (1 John 4:4) That will keep me available for however my Lord wants to use me.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You that Ann got off safely yesterday, and should be arriving in the US shortly. I pray that her arrival would be smooth and her recovery from jet lag swift. I pray that there would be no barriers to her reentry into her full life there, with family, church, and work. May we all be operating as Your agents doing Your will all the time, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!