One of the more profound and often overlooked passages of scripture, concerning the ongoing nature of the power of God (for our Christian lives) is found in Colossians 1:13, where it declares, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love“.
HE HAS DELIVERED US FROM AND TOO SOMETHING All men, regardless of race, class, or geography have been born under the dominion of Satan, because of Adam’s choice to rebel against God. Born into this inherited state, our crooked nature longs to live in the darkness of self-deception, while we avoid the truth about God. Jesus called this the “condemnation” that is already in the world, because men love darkness rather than light, our deeds being evil (John 3:19). In light of this reality the word of God affirms that the entire world of men, apart from Christ is under the power of the evil one (I John 5:19). Yet for those who are in Christ, as our passage declares, they have been released from Satan’s reign and domination and have come under the reign of the King of Kings. This is instantaneous and complete in the heavenlies, yet gradual in our practical lives as we learn God’s will and willingly submit to it.
When reading Colossians 1:13 we encounter the word “conveyed”. In English this implies a past finished action. Once more, our being conveyed is true in the heaven from the beginning of our walk with Jesus Christ. The moment we recognize the person and work of Jesus for all they are, and turn away from the kingdom of darkness and toward the kingdom of the Son of His love, we are delivered (saved) and set free from Satan’s rule. This of course happens by the revelation of the word of God and through the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Through this miracle of new birth we literally become new creatures (II Corinthians 5:17), with the seed of Christ divine life. This is a done deal in heaven, yet not fully realized in our life experience here and now. Although we are new creations and the old man is crucified, he still lurks and longs to be fulfilled. If we allow him to sway us, that old despot will attempt to convince us we are still under his power.
Jewish historian Josephus used the word “conveyed” in his work “Antiquities of the Jews “. In chapter IX. 11.1, the historian tells the sad story of the deportation of the Northern Tribes of Israel to Assyria; here is the condensed version. The Assyrians had become tired of the rebellion of the Israelite kings (Israel had become a conquered monarchy that paid tribute). Having had enough, the Assyrians sacked the Northern kingdom, deposed the king and put the Israelite’s under their kingdom rule. Once that had taken place, right in their own geography, the Israelite’s had a new Assyrian despot enslaving them and a new kingdom reigning over them. In spite of this new reality they were about to be transferred into the Assyrian kingdom’s literal boundaries of geography. Although their new reign started at the defeat of their Israelite king, the new reign would not be fully realized until in the new king’s land.
Imagine the pain on that long journey, as they encountered the new laws of a kingdom they did not know. Imagine how amplified and even more oppressive this would be in a new land. The journey would give them a basic training of what was to come. It ought not be difficult for us to see how this is effective in our lives, as we are being conveyed from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son. Yes we are instantaneously under our new and Glorious King of Grace, from the beginning, yet we are continuously and progressively learning and growing in that dominion in our practical daily lives.
This should be no surprise, for N.T. lays this ought clearly. Perhaps most clearly in I Corinthians 1:18 “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God”. I realize that in the KJV bible the word “being” does not appear before the word “saved”, Yet when looking into the Greek word for saved, in its verb the tense, the word means “being saved“. Before anybody loses their shorts, this does not means we need to be saved every day. We are saved by grace through faith, through the once for all gift of Jesus death and resurrection, but it does imply what we have already discovered; Every day, we are being delivered (practically), and changed and transformed by God’s power, as we submit to the Holy Spirit, as He leads according to the Word of God.
Our being conveyed into the kingdom of the Son of His love is a certainty that must become the reality in our practical lives. If you will allow me an illustration, lets consider a people mover (a conveyor belt to move people) in an airport, like the one pictured to the left. I find it very cool to walk slower than the people not on these conveyors, yet still beat them to the end of a concourse (I realize how silly that sounds). If we are on one of these conveyors, we can stop walking altogether (especially if you had too much to eat at an airport restaurant) and still be transferred to the end of the concourse. If a person is not on the people mover and ceases to walk, they are going no where. Perhaps most important to our discussion is the fact that if you are distracted or drop something and decide to get off the people move, you always have to go back to deal with the distraction or pick up what you dropped.
In relation to our passage, our people mover is Jesus Christ, through the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit. This narrow road (conveyor) is located on a steady incline toward that day where our faith becomes sight, in eternity with Christ, where multitudes of men of every nation, tribe and tongue, are enveloped in the host of his holy angels. This is the Kingdom of the Son of His love realized. Yet until that day our narrow road conveyor runs right through the valley of the shadow of death, where scores of people are heading into a Christ-less eternity. Some of these people look like us, even claim to be one of us, but they are clearly not on the people mover.
For the redeemed, even when we are tired, as long as we stay on the conveyor, we are moving into the kingdom of the Son of His love. Yet it is in moments of stress or where we let our guard down, that we are tempted to get off the narrow road for a stretch. Those are perilous times indeed; for to get off is to stop moving and when you’re not moving on a steady incline, you are sliding back.
Yet, as long as you stay on the conveyor, even if you are not walking, you will be moved forward by God’s power. I say this to remind you I am not proclaiming a works oriented salvation, but to hopefully stave off unnecessary back sliding, which any believer has potential for. Most would agree that to back slide at all it risky and when occurring for a protracted period of time, it is perilous to our relationship to Christ.
Before proceeding further let me preface the following remarks with an admonition. Do not take what is written and assume I am declaring if a person steps off the conveyor once or twice or three times that they will lose their salvation. That would be an unnecessary assumption. Please read the following as a practical encouragement, to keep one from unnecessary back sliding, which wears us out and diminishes our abilities to glorify Christ.
WHAT CAUSES US TO GET OFF THE CONVEYOR TO CHRIST’S KINGDOM? Imagine with me, you are leaving for another city via the airport in two hours. You had been packing all night and running around like a chicken with its head cut off for several days. You are tired, yet ready to get to your destination. You arrive at the airport an hour and a half before take off. Getting through security takes 30 minutes. Needing to go to the bathroom, you stop at a restroom before you will walk down the main concourse. You look at your watch which has only advanced 10 minutes, yet have no idea your watch is moving 2 minutes slow, and slowing down as the battery is just about dead. You then get on the people mover and walk steadily. Coming to the end of the concourse (after what seemed to be a half mile), you go down an escalator having one more long concourse to walk through.
Now on another conveyor you stop walking, being moved only by the motion of the conveyor. You are exhausted and hungry. As you are halfway to the end, you spot a Chick-fil-A, and as you smell the chicken and see the tables you want to rest and eat. Looking at your watch only five minutes have passed. Considering your departure is 45 minutes away you decide to sit only long enough to eat. At the end of the people mover you walk back to the Chick-fil-A, get your food and check your watch. Wow you think, only five minutes. As you eat your sandwich and waffle fries, the carbohydrate rush, lends to closing your eyes. As you are startled awake you realize its only ten minutes past the last time on your watch. Although you assume you ate fast, you check your watch just in case… Oh No, it’s stopped. Your flight took off 15 minutes ago.
When dealing with our walk in Christ it is important to remember that all that we need for power, wisdom, protection or any other provision can be found in Christ alone. Our potential to backslide (inherent because of the old man) becomes more possible when we are in need of rest, or some kind of provision in a hurry, or when our flesh is aroused in some form or fashion (such as the Chick-Fil-A distraction). These times can happen when shaken, or when we have had a long and good season of ministry (or bad), or when distracted, or having fallen into an old pattern of life and thinking unawares. They can happen when we are just plain tired emotionally, physically or spiritually. At those times it we must learn to not step off the conveyor that moves us into the kingdom of the Son of His love. The moment we have stepped off to pursue what we need, outside of Christ’s provision, we have in essence put ourselves at risk for backsliding. Paul describes this in several passages but no more so than the three below.
Romans 13:14 (NKJV) But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
Galatians 5:16-17 (NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Galatians 6:7-8 (NKJV) Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.
Simply put, to make provision for our flesh, is to take ourselves off the conveyor in order to get what we want or need, apart from waiting on God. To make no provision for the flesh is to walk in the Spirit. To walk in the Spirit is to remain on the conveyor our Savior is. As we see in Galatians 5:17, this is a war, one which the more we step off the conveyor, the more we sow to our flesh. Every time we do this we reap more corruption and influence from our old man and his ways. Once more, regardless of where we fall considering our position on eternal security, we can agree on our potential to backslide and how it is increased when we sow to our flesh. So how do we combat the ease with which we can back slide? STAY ON THE CONVEYOR!!!
Psalms 46:10-11 (NKJV) Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.
I would encourage you to read the entirety of Psalm 46 (only eleven verses), for in it you will find multiple perilous and normal anxieties, needs and wants, which may be used by the enemy to tempt us to get off the conveyor. In the midst of these difficulties, the Lord declares, “Be still and know that I am God”. Basically He is instructing us to rest in Him in the middle of our needs and then His provision to us is guaranteed; as is His glorification.
To be still and know God, is to rest while Christ is still moving us toward the fullness of His kingdom, through the danger. In light of this truth, don’t give in to the temptation to relax with the things of the world, or assume God helps those who help themselves (not in the Bible). Wait on Him dear friends. It is true we get to walk with Him, but if we are to tired to move ahead, He is still transferring us by His power into the kingdom of the Son of His love. We simply need to remain on the Conveyor, trusting Him fully.Therefore Rest in Him beloved of God.