Monday, August 08, 2011

Two Kingdoms

 Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins

13 ὃς ἐρρύσατο ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ σκότους καὶ μετέστησεν εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἀγάπης αὐτοῦ, 14  ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν, τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν·

This is one of those passages that I tend to read through fairly quickly, but don't stop to ponder. Something made me slow down a bit this morning and I am glad. The word ἐξουσίας is translated "domain," but it also has the idea of authority. Of course, the word βασιλείαν means kingdom. We are accustomed to seeing reference to the "kingdom of God," which I believe is synonymous with the kingdom of His beloved Son. Verse 14 tells us that in Christ we have redemption, that is to say the forgiveness of sins.

Sadly, I think that we often neglect the truth that this implies. Most faithful gospel presentations in America will talk about how we are subject to the wrath of God because of sin. That is certainly true and it is something we must understand. But what we also need to emphasize is that we belonged to a completely different team. It's not that we were indifferent to God we He saved us, but we were hostile to God.

If you like sports metaphors think Yankees and Red Sox. Or think Cowboys and Redskins. Ohio State and Michigan. There is no middle ground when we talk about these kingdoms. We are either loyal to τῆς ἐξουσίας τοῦ σκότους or to τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ υἱοῦ τῆς ἀγάπης αὐτοῦ. We can't have it both ways.

So how are you living? If someone examined your life and had to guess which kingdom you were in, what would he say? If you're abroad and you see a big guy with a thick Brooklyn accent wearing a NY Giants jersey and another guy with an English accent wearing a Manchester United jersey, you can safely guess who is from England and who is from America. How we live and act belies our ancestry.

But let's not be double-agents either. There are many who go through the motions of the kingdom of God, but their hearts are still in the kingdom of darkness. American fundamentalism breeds folks like this with its cultic manipulation tactics. Let's live as citizens of heaven, but with pure hearts that only come from regeneration, amen?

No comments: