A Hard-to-Grasp Verse

Posted on October 12, 2021

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By David Ettinger

Two Kingdoms
There are many difficult Bible verses to grasp, particularly intellectually.

The verse I reference, however, is not difficult intellectually, but experientially. In other words, the verse is easily understandable, but “feeling” it – and living in the light of it – presents more of a challenge.

The verse is Colossians 1:13: “For He [God] rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.”

On the surface, this is fairly comprehensible. Basically, the domain – or kingdom – of darkness is the realm of this world and presided over by Satan. As sinners, we were slaves to Satan, but when we gave our lives to Jesus Christ, we were delivered from Satan’s hold upon us and delivered into the kingdom of Christ – a kingdom filled with goodness, righteousness, holiness, and His glorious light.

As citizens of Christ’s kingdom, we are no longer under condemnation (Romans 8:1), and therefore no longer subject to God’s wrath (John 3:36). The shackles of sin are gone, and we can live our lives in the expectation of eternal life with Christ. Intellectually, we can grasp this.

Feeling It
But then there’s the part which involves our feelings and experiences. Of course feelings and experiences don’t confirm biblical truth (though at times they can help).

I’m not making an argument for feelings and experiences, but rather, for grasping the wondrous biblical truth that we are no longer subject to the eternal consequences of Satan’s spiritually dark domain. Our condemnation has been rescinded.

However, physically, we still live in this dark realm and experience the cold reality of it. Satan’s kingdom is filled with sin and all it brings: pain; anguish; violence; disease; lying; stealing; immorality; murder; and death. Though these things cannot affect us eternally, they certainly impact us physically now, and in this way we still languish in the kingdom of darkness.

Conversely, we have been transferred to Christ’s kingdom of light. What are the benefits of this transfer? Verse 14 tells us that in Christ “we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” Indeed we do, and we will reap the eternal blessings of the kingdom of light in our next lives.

For now, however, it’s hard to experience that light. Yes, we are redeemed and our sins are forgiven. And yes, we rejoice in these truths and celebrate them. Yet, we still live in this world filled with darkness, and therefore we struggle to grasp just how great it is living in Christ’s kingdom of light.

The Holy Spirit
Though we can’t experience our blessed reality, we intellectually accept it, cling to it, and live in the hope of it. We also must accept that many of our blessings are for now partial realities in how we experience them. In other words, the blessings are complete, but in this life we can never “feel” them as we will in our eternal lives.

This is where the Holy Spirit living within us comes in. We read in Ephesians 1:13-14: “In Him [God], you … were sealed … with the Holy Spirit of the promise, who is a first installment of our inheritance, in regard to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.”

We learn here that all of God’s promises will be fulfilled experientially and we will delight in the glory of them – but not yet. They will all be fulfilled in eternity, when we are physically taken out of this dark world. God’s Holy Spirit living within us is our pledge – or down payment – that future glory awaits; that we will experience the fulness of Christ’s kingdom of light.

For now, though, this reality is hard to grasp. Therefore, we take comfort in the fact that though we can’t experience Christ’s kingdom of light to its fullest, we can acknowledge the truth that we are – present tense – indeed citizens of the light, and that one day we will live in the glory of it.

So for now, we grasp it intellectually; but one day we will grasp it experientially in the deepest recesses of our beings.

Take heart, believer; that day is coming!