By Kale Booher
Colossians 1: 13-14 (ESV)
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.
These two verses have long struck me as powerful. The words themselves produce unique imagery—“domain of darkness,” “kingdom,” “redemption”. In teaching these verses to students over the past few years, I’ve often utilized an illustration that, albeit silly, I’ve found to be effective.
Imagine for a moment a UPS worker delivering a package from point A to point B. Simple enough. Now imagine further that the package can talk, and that as it begins to talk it brags about how good of a job it did getting itself to point A to point B.
Not only in this imaginary scenario is a UPS package talking and bragging, but more ridiculous still is what it’s bragging about—something that it had no part in doing. The worker is the one who picked up the package, loaded it onto the truck, drove it across town, and delivered it to its final destination. Everything from point A to point B was the work of the worker, not the package. If it’s possible to describe a UPS package as “foolish,” this one fits the bill.
Here’s the point of this goofy little illustration—you and I are often the UPS package. God is the one who delivers us from the domain of darkness and transfers us to the kingdom of his beloved son. But wait, what’s our part?! Exactly.
God is the one who calls us, conforms us to the image of Christ, justifies us, and glorifies us (Romans 8:29-30). He gets us from point A to point B. Salvation is his work, start to finish.
And yet, somehow, we take credit for what God has done. It manifests itself in two ways: pride concerning ourselves, and contempt toward those who are not yet believers. It is all too easy to become prideful of our behavior or the change we’ve seen in our lives. We think to ourselves, “We don’t use language like ‘those people’ do; We’re not part of ‘that crowd’ anymore; We don’t do ‘those things’ anymore,” etc. We find satisfaction in being the “good people.” If we’re not careful, we forget that whatever goodness is in us is because of Christ and Christ alone, and that “pride goes before a fall, and a haughty spirit before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18). Even worse, in our pride we begin to look with contempt on those who are a “stain on society,” who have “no morals,” instead of longing for them to come to know Christ.
The gospel is the antidote to both pride in ourselves and contempt toward others whose lifestyles don’t follow biblical values. When we remember that salvation is the work of Christ and Christ alone, that we did not save ourselves, we lose all reason to take credit for God’s work. Gratitude is the right response, because we didn’t move ourselves from point A to point B—we were delivered.
*Don’t forget, we are on a 30-day challenge to pray for one person and one circumstance.