TEXT: Colossians 1:11-21
P aul the apostle gave thanks to God in the preceding verses of this chapter for the fruits of righteousness the gospel bore in the lives of the Colossian brethren. Though he had no previous contact with them, he was endeared to them by the report of their gracious lifestyle which drew him and his fellow companions into unceasing intercession for them to be filled with wisdom and spiritual understanding. He undertook to enlighten them that the transforming power of the gospel was predicated on Christ’s
sacrifice and redemption through Him. The Greek word used for ‘redeemed’ is “lytrôsis” which literarily means “a ransoming, deliverance” or “a rescue.” This fits appropriately into what Jesus did by giving His life on the Cross as ransom for humanity. He shed His blood so that every sinner might be redeemed. In biblical terms, redemption means to “purchase” or “ransom”. Historically, redemption was used in reference to the purchase of a slave’s freedom. A slave was “redeemed” when a price was paid for his freedom. The use of the word in the New Testament includes this same idea. Every unconverted person is a slave to sin, and it is only through cleansing in the blood of Jesus Christ that such a person can be redeemed (Hebrews 9:11- 15).
THE BASIS AND MEANS OF OUR REDEMPTION (Colossians 1:11-14; John 8:34; Romans 6:17; 7:14; 8:21)
Paul the apostle, having a clear understanding of the power of sin and its eternal consequence, was full of gratitude to God for the salvation of the Colossian brethren. He disclosed reasons for being thankful to God the Father which are, namely, that he had qualified them to be mutual beneficiaries of the inheritance of the saints. Aside delivering believers from the power of darkness, he was grateful that God had translated them into the kingdom of His Dear Son. For these reasons, all believers ought to always rejoice and praise God. It must be underscored that all these benefits can be enjoyed only through redemption in Christ.
It needs be emphasized that God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness… translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins”. The basis of our redemption is here revealed as enslavement to sin and Satan. The Bible states that every human being is born with the nature of sin and grows to be a captive and servant to sin (John 8:34; Romans 7:14; 8:21). It is clear also that every person needs redemption. “For all have sinned and
come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Anyone who is not redeemed will be damned and suffer eternally. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). It is, therefore, only through redemption that the believer can secure freedom from sin and its accompanying present and eternal punishments. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:24).
Christ’s blood is the efficacious means of redemption. It occupies a central place in the redemption of man, and its significance is invaluable. “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22). The ‘shedding of blood’, which is simply a phrase that refers to death, is critical to the redemption of man. All humans would be candidates of hell had Christ not died and shed His blood as the Lamb of God for the remission of our sins. But the good news is that Jesus has already made the provision for the penitent sinner to be redeemed with His blood and thus saved from the wrath of God. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9). Saved from wrath through repentance, forgiveness and cleansing by the blood of the Lamb, believers enter into fellowship with God and have hope of living with Him forever. It is obvious no one can obtain the inheritance which God has prepared for His children without cleansing in Christ’s blood. The Scripture affirms that the blood is His life. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). This clarifies the whole concept of redemption; that Jesus “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4).
THE PRE-EMINENCE OF OUR REDEEMER (Colossians 1:15-19; Hebrews 1:1-5; 2:8-10; Genesis 3:15)
Our Redeemer is the Lord Jesus Christ. He has unassailable credentials that qualified Him to redeem lost humanity. He is described as the One, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature… And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Colossians
1:15,17,18). Paul the apostle presents Christ as unique in many ways in the text: one, He is the express image of the invisible God; two, He is the Son of God (Hebrews 1:2); three, Jesus was in existence before all things on earth and in heaven were made; four, He is the Creator of all things that are visible and invisible, and upholds all things that He has created by the word of His power; five, He is the Head of the body, the Church; six, He is the firstborn from the dead who resurrected; seven, He is pre-eminent because all the fullness of God reside in Him bodily; eight, He is the Mediator who made peace between God and man.
Jesus, as our perfect Sacrifice, fulfilled the conditions of God’s justice in dealing with the sin problem (Hebrews 10:4-9; John 1:35,36). It is unarguably clear from the foregoing that no one else qualifies to be our Redeemer and Saviour. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
THE BENEFITS OF REDEMPTION THROUGH CHRIST (Colossians 1:20; Revelation 5:9,10; Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:17; Galatians 3:13; 4:5; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:14-18; 1 Corinthians 6:19,20; Psalm 130:7,8; Luke 2:38; Acts 20:28)
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:20).
Redemption through Christ affords sinners the privilege of reconciliation with God. Everyone should make haste to be reconciled with God to obtain forgiveness, righteousness, freedom from bondage to sin and peace with God. To be redeemed, then, is to be justified and made holy; to be set free from the power of darkness, curses and yoke of the devil and live to glorify the Lord. Believers enjoy divine protection and preservation by the blood of Christ. His atoning blood “speaketh better things” or blessings the believer can obtain from God (Hebrews 12:24). What with the victory we have and enjoy over satanic forces through the blood of the Lamb. “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11). Moreover, the greatest of all benefits of redemption through Christ’s blood is that it grants the redeemed access to God’s presence to commune with Him. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). If Christ, “by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us” (Hebrews 9:12), it is by the same blood every believer will gain entrance into the heavenly city. But we must abide in the benefits of redemption through Christ, pray and watch till the end to get to heaven.