The Rescue

“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 1:13

One of the great surprises of seminary was the little piece of information that The Scripture was written without use of punctuation, paragraphs, chapter headings, or verse structure. The manuscripts were written in what appear to be a writer’s dream, one great run-on sentence. In light of this, perhaps he most bitter pill to swallow at seminary was the dubious honor of being introduced to the author Kate Turabian. Her little book was the standard for excellence for any paper turned in to the professor. Every time I saw the red ink on my paper, I wanted to turn in one of Paul’s manuscripts and see what Kate would have done with it. Can I get a witness?

Unbroken in sequence or sentence structure is Paul’s prayerful spirit of gratitude for “the inheritance of the saints of Light.” He is filled with love for Jesus, and thanksgiving to God for rescue and redemption, through the forgiveness of his sin.  Paul’s words are divided by verse structure and chapter headings, but his attitude of gratitude is like an express freight train under a full head of steam. It is barreling down the track, and fully loaded with thanks.

“…giving thanks to the Father…for He has rescued us…” v. 12-13

Paul never got over being forgiven. A good memory is a great cure for pride. Prayer reminded Paul that without the “forgiveness of sin” there is no rescue, transfer, or redemption.

Prayerless people tend to believe one of two lies. They either believe they don’t need to be forgiven or they become convinced that they deserve to be forgiven. Prayerful people live in a state of gratitude for being forgiven. The border of the state of forgiveness begins at the sign of humility. Entering The Kingdom of The Son requires a walk past The Cross and The Tomb, before coming to The Promise. Skipping these guideposts cause prideful people miss The Rescue. Forgetting these essential turning points, even forgiven people lose the joy of The Redemption.  

David a man after God’s own heart, allowed his pride to inflate his personal preferences and to overshadow sound wisdom. When confronted with his sin, he responded in humility, and prayed…

“Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners will be converted to You.” Psalms 51:11-13

The Rescue: This describes deliverance, freedom, escape, and is rooted in a word that describes flowing. The Rescue requires a deliverer. Jesus pours out God’s love into empty people to receive escape from sin, a relationship with The Savior, and a transfer to safety.

The Transfer: Antihistamine is more familiar than metahistamine, but they both refer to an action applied to a stand. Antihistamine moves against an infection that is causing a blockage in the nasal passage that interferes or stands in the way of breathing. Replacing “Anti” with “Meta” describes a change of location of the stand. With forgiveness there is no place to stand any longer in rebellion against God. Forgiveness transfers a Christian to place of peace with God.

The Redemption: This refers to a release gained by the payment of a ransom. Deliverance requires Jesus to be The Deliverer. Liberation calls for Him to be The Liberator. The Blood of Jesus was the payment, or the ransom for sin. It was made by the sinless Son to satisfy the holy character of The Father.  Holiness cannot embrace sinfulness.

The Forgiveness:  Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of redemption. Pardon for sin does not minimize it or rationalize it. It forgives sin. There is a release from bondage or imprisonment from the penalty of sin, because God allows the sacrifice of His Son to take the place of those who sinned against Him. He lets go of the sin, as if they had never been committed. Commission of sin is replaced by remission of sin. God no longer holds the offense against the offender. He lets go of the sin, and embraces the forgiven. No forgiveness. No fellowship.

The Sin:  Missing the mark, or falling short of the target, at the slightest level disqualifies a person from entering The Kingdom of Jesus.  In archery competition, one sin, and an archer is disqualified. Sin is serious business to God, and when He let’s go of it to forgive, He expects His children to let go of it to live. Holding on to what God has forgiven is evidence of pride and rebellion, not humility and forgiveness.

There is no greater need in the church today than a willingness to take sin seriously at every level. The church must not miss God’s best by moving the target closer to their poor aim. The target is the character of God, and it is through Jesus that forgiveness for falling short of God’s holiness is received. To accept less than God’s best is to cheapen the price paid by His Son. Precious blood provides no cheap grace.

Paul never got over being forgiven. His gratitude knew no bounds. Prayerful people are grateful people who let go of what God forgives. Prideful people never let go of sin, and transfer it from the past into their present and call it peace with God.

Prayerful people let go of sin, and take joy in knowing God no longer holds it against them. Prideful people pretend sin never happened or if it did, it wasn’t their fault. Prayerful people aren’t interested in coming down on the right side of history. They agree with God on what He says is wrong. Prayerless people attempt to appear generous, and change the price tags on the cost of sin, but they only cheapen the price Jesus paid to forgive it. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.  Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” I Corinthians 6:9-11