[13] He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,

Colossians 1:13

When Paul was on trial before King Agrippa he did not put up a sound defence but gave an account of what had happened to him on the road to Damascus.

[14] And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ [15] And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. [16] But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, [17] delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you [18] to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Acts 26:14-18

The purpose of Paul’s salvation was that he was sent to the Gentiles to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light. When Paul wrote to the Colossians about their salvation he spoke in almost identical terms: delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to the kingdom of his beloved son.

The Bible clearly indicates that there are two, and only two, spiritual realms, and all mankind belong in either one or the other. There are not multiple religious options each of equal value. Those who do not as yet know Jesus Christ are in the realm of darkness and are subject to the authority and power of Satan. The apostle John said it in unmistakable terms when he declared that “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). By the “whole world” John means everyone and everything that is not in Christ by faith.

Having said that few, if any, who are under the authority of Satan and walking in spiritual darkness feel as if they are. If anything they are entirely persuaded that they live in light and freedom and power. In fact, they are utterly blind, in bondage to the enemy, and powerless to free themselves by their own efforts.

The word Paul uses in verse 13 translated “domain” is the standard Greek word for “authority,” which indicates an active power or energy that Satan exerts over those who are his. His dominion is characterised by darkness that invades the intellectual, moral, and spiritual. No matter how high one’s IQ, no matter how much money one has, apart from Christ you are under the authority of Satan and subject to the power of darkness. No matter how musically gifted you may be, no matter how athletically good you are, however recognised or influential you may be, apart from Christ you lie in the power of the evil one. That’s what the Bible says.

If ever your are looking for a reason to share the gospel with a friend, relative, neighbour or work colleague, this is it. Don’t be misled by what the world describes as success. Everyone from those that top the rich list, to the unknown homeless guys at the back of a shop in your town is in the power of the evil one and the domain of darkness.

There is only one hope for them and us. It is the forgiveness of sins that is found only in Jesus Christ. Simple and true.

This is what Paul says to the church in Colossae God has “delivered” you from Satan’s tyranny and has placed you under the loving and kind authority of his Son. To be “transferred” suggests the notion of being uprooted from one kingdom and transplanted into another.

This is described by Paul as the kingdom, or rule, or reign of God’s own “beloved Son”. This is a stunning description of Jesus if only because he is the one who became the object of the Father’s eternal wrath.

But how can this be? If the Father truly loved the Son, surely he would not have exposed him to such horrific suffering. How can the Son be the “beloved” of the Father and yet also the object of his wrath and judgment? Such is the mystery of penal substitutionary atonement.

It is possible because the Son and the Father are united in their love for his people and that together they entered into a covenant to redeem them from their sins. Amazing!

This could only be accomplished by the Son willingly and freely offering himself as a substitute, who would wholly absorb in himself the wrath of the Father that should rightfully been placed upon us. Amazing again.

But thanks be to God, and to Jesus, through whom at a great and unimaginable cost to himself and his beloved Son, we were freed from the grip of Satan and embraced with an eternal and irrevocable love. More amazement!