Thursday, November 09, 2006

Are you Qualified? ? ?

Qualified to Share in God’s Inheritance

Ed McMahon, who awards the sweepstakes millions, has never shown up on my doorstep. You met him? Returning the entry form might help, but only so much (though I did win $5 as a kid like that!). At the end of the day, to receive the prize, you must qualify for it.

Shhhh. Pssstttt. Come here. I have a hot tip, some qualifying news you’ll want to hear. It involves immeasurable riches, perks and spiritual blessings. Once you get in on this scoop, you will want to thank God.

A life that pleases God includes thankfulness. An aid to gratitude is remembering what God has done for us. Thus, I submit to you thanks-giving Pilgrims Colossians 1:12-14 and its insider news about getting in on a boatload of an inheritance. Here’s the fine print:

"…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (NIV).

Better than a random drawing for mere millions, God has made it possible to share in what He gives as an inheritance to His children. Now there’s a Will to get in. He went to no small trouble to qualify us for this heavenly haul.

As the passage says, He rescued and relocated us. Not satisfied with that, He purchased us from slavery and released us from our sin-debt. How is that for being qualified? This prize package, secured by God for us, is incredible.

A brief word about this text’s context. Paul prayed that the Colossians would be filled with knowledge of God’s will so they will live in it: walking in ways worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in all respects. Such a life bears fruit in every good work, increases in the knowledge of God, is strengthened with all power by God and joyously gives thanks to the Father.

Elaborating on thankfulness, we are given a gargantuan reason for gratitude: God Himself has qualified us to share in the saints’ inheritance! We get a portion with God’s people, a divvy of the divine dole. What does that entail? How did He pull that off?

First, we learn of a rescue / relocation mission: "He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves." Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer are wimps compared to the mission God sent His Son on. Going deep behind enemy lines to slaves ensnared in the dominion of darkness, Jesus yanked our sinful, spiritually dead rumps to safety (Ephesians 2:1-10).

Not one to leave us in "no man’s land," God "brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves." Ex-POW’s are now citizens of Jesus’ kingdom, enjoying all His provisions and protections. To qualify for the inheritance God has for His kids, you need to be one of His kids.

By leaving heaven, dying for our sins, and kicking in Satan’s teeth, He has made us fit to be family. "This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes."

As they say in some commercials: "but wait, there is more." Rescued and relocated, we were also redeemed. We came into His kingdom with baggage. Slaves to sin, we needed to be purchased and set free - redeemed. Like the old saying: "We owed a debt we could not pay. He paid a debt He did not owe" (see 2 Corinthians 5:21).

For entertainment, rich Romans used to go to the slave market, buy slaves and set them free. Just for the pleasure of blessing another and the fun of watching their genuine joyous surprise. "You bought me and are doing what? I am free? Is this a joke!"

All our outstanding debts to God have been paid by Jesus. All our offenses taken care of: "in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." To forgive is to release from a debt. It is to not seek revenge or require pay-back. It is to forget – choose to not hold against someone - what cannot be forgotten.

In a Chicago museum, there is a round, wooden table – mahogany. It is where Lincoln wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, which led to the freedom of slaves. Outside Jerusalem, there was another piece of wood where slaves were set free - the cross of Christ. Give thanks! Jesus qualified us by releasing us from our sin debt. He forgives us freely, fully and fantastically (Psalms 51 & 32; 1 John 1:5-2:2).

Because God rescued me, I'm free in Christ and Satan’s grip has been broken (John 8:28-36; Galatians 5). Since the Father settled us to His Son’s realm of rule, we are safe in Him (1 Peter 1; Ephesians 1). As has been said, "When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future."

Being bought out of slavery, redeemed, we are His now and can enjoy fellowship with Christ (1 John 3:1-3, 8; 1 Peter 1:18-21). Released from our sins through forgiveness, we are no longer condemned (Romans 5:1-12). By His grace and His doing, we are qualified to share in the saints’ inheritance.

Use this as a prompt this Thanksgiving. Also, don’t keep this good news to yourself. Others in bondage need freedom too (2 Corinthians 5; Romans 10:10-17). Finally, beware of "plantation living," staying under your old master’s reign. You have been emancipated. Live out your freedom as slaves to Christ (Romans 6:1-8:39).

Give thanks! In Christ we are qualified to share in the saints’ inheritance! Why? How? Because He has rescued and relocated us, redeemed and released us (i.e. forgiven us). Rejoice!

1 comment:

John Frye said...

Great thoughts to provoke in-depth thanks this season. Thanks for the good reminders of our "so great salvation."