“We used our immortality so badly as to incur the penalty of death; Christ used His mortality so well as to restore us to life.”
—St. Augustine, On Christian Doctrine
I have always been a romantic. From basically forever I have loved tales of valor, daring, and adventure; knights in shining armor, damsels in distress, heroic deeds and fire-breathing villains. And that’s why I sat up and took notice a few weeks ago when I read these verses in Colossians:
“…giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:12–14)
How can it be that I was the object of a King’s quest; a daring rescue from the Land of Darkness and all this time I didn’t know about it? Or at least I never saw it in that light before. And not only was I rescued from unspeakable evil, I was embraced into a new Kingdom—one of forgiveness, freedom and light. This is the stuff fairy tales are made of, except it’s real!
Intrigued, I looked up these verses in the Expositor’s Bible Commentary, to see what they had to add. This Kingdom, this inheritance, this transfer of citizenship is not in some distant time and place. It is right here and now. The Greek word “metestesen” (translated as transfer) “…was used in secular literature in reference to removing persons from one country and settling them as colonists and citizens in another country. It might be rendered ‘reestablished’.” But unlike the pilgrims settling the New World, the EBC went on out point out that this Kingdom of Light, “…is not an area that may be designated on a map; it is the soverign rule of the Lord Christ over human hearts.”
And so we have—in uncomfortable co-existence—two kingdoms side-by-side, mixing and mingling, bitterly at odds. While we go about our day-to-day lives a battle rages all around us. We are, in truth, in the most epic tale of good versus evil ever told. And it isn’t make-believe. And we often miss it. How dangerous to be wandering around on the front lines and be oblivious to the fact that there is a battle going on!
I’ve been pondering this truth now for a few weeks and it’s hard to get my mind around it. Although I still live here physically, I am not a citizen of this world system. Its ways should be foreign to me, and mine to it. I am a settler taming wild frontiers and claiming new ground. I am a warrior princess in a kingdom at war with a bitter enemy bent on destroying it.
If I really believed this, if I really lived it out on a day-to-day basis, how different would my life look? I certainly should be living in a way that sets me apart from those who have not yet come into the Kingdom of Light. I should look radically different to them. My ways should puzzle them. My priorities, goals, and motivations ought to stand out in stark contrast.
Unfortunately, most of the time I blend right in. And what’s worse, I’m comfortable that way.
What do you think? What does being a foreigner in this world, a citizen of a new Kingdom, mean to you? How do you keep this fact in the forefront of your mind as you go about every-day life?
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