DAY SIX Colossians 1:13-14
In 2016, Ellie Wakeman published the delightful children’s book, Bella Gets Rescued.* Bella is an abandoned kitten, living on the street and seeking survival. After narrow escapes from rain storms and lawn mowers, she finds herself seeking safety in a tree. But she couldn’t get down the next day. Her constant meowing finally got the attention of a human who took Bella to a veterinary clinic.
From there, the frightened little kitten was adopted into a caring home where she would share life with two humans, another kitten and a puppy. Weeks of adapting to her new life finally pulled her out of her terrified shell. Bella even learned to purr.
Bella Gets Rescued ends with a letter from Bella herself. In it, Bella says, “My owners tell me that people are a lot like I used to be… Lost and not know it! But guess what! Just like me, you are never alone. There is Someone who will find you. He is always with you and always taking care of you… Just as my family never gave up on me and kept patiently loving me, God does the same for you!… The same words my family once said to me, God is saying to you. ‘No worries, Precious One, I got this!’”
Bella is a fictional cat released from the heart, mind and passions of Ellie Wakeman. But we all know that Bella is right. We are frightened by the world around us. We are overwhelmed by what life throws at us. And we know that God is just as willing to welcome us as this young couple was willing to welcome Bella. We might be frightened and uncertain for a season, but His love will eventually win us over.
Read: Colossians 1:13-14
Study: Reflecting on the Text
1. To whom does the he of verse 13 refer? In other words, who is doing the delivering?
2. The vast majority of the texts which include the word domain (v13) translate that word as authority or power. What does that suggest for your understanding of this text?
3. Transfer indicates a change of location. From where to where have believers been moved?
4. Redemption is defined by what following phrase?
Apply: Responding in Life
1. The verbs (has delivered, transferred, and have redemption) indicate something that is completed and ongoing. What emotion does that elicit in you?
2. How do/can you exhibit in your life that you are no longer under the domain of darkness?
3. When did you first experience being forgiven by God?
4. How would you define the word ‘redemption’? What is the connection between redemption and forgiveness of sin? What is something specific in your life that God has redeemed for good? (v13)
Pray: Gracious Father, it’s hard to put into words the depth of gratitude for moving me out of darkness and into light. I sometimes don’t even know how to grasp the idea that darkness no longer has power over me. I confess that I’m not used to being in a kingdom with a king over my life. So I pray that I, and those with me in this study, will find ways to let you reign more naturally in us. Jesus, thank you for dying so I can live. Thank you for making redemption, the forgiveness of my sins, possible. Holy Spirit, enable me to walk faithfully and joyfully in my new found state. Empower us, as a community, to model forgiveness before others. Amen.
Elevating Jesus: Luke 23:32-43
All four gospels mention the two thieves that are crucified with Jesus. Three of the four record the mocking done by those two criminals. Only Luke records the powerful story of forgiveness that occurred that day. Apparently, after watching Jesus on the cross, one of those criminals turned to Jesus with a changed heart. He recognized the legitimacy of their death sentence and realized Jesus didn’t deserve to be there.
When the repentant one requested, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” Jesus did. In one of only seven recorded remarks made from the cross, Jesus graciously affirmed, “Today, you will be with me in paradise.” No one doubts that as a declaration of forgiveness. No one doubts that a criminal moved out from under the power of darkness and into the beauty of light. No one doubts that that man received redemption in that moment. It is the overwhelming story of grace. God, freely and kindly, through the substitution of His Son, gives broken humanity life and forgiveness.
• Link Colossians 1:13-14 with Ephesians 1:3-14. List some of the similarities.
• Read Acts 2:38, 5:31, 10:43, 13:38, and 26:18. Who is the source of our forgiveness?
• Read Hebrews 9:11-14. What was the cost to Jesus to procure our redemption?
*Bella Gets Rescued is available at amazon.com and christianbook.com.