I was struck today by how much the book of Colossians says about the Kingdom. It seems to be Paul’s dominate theme in the letter. All throughout the text he uses Kingdom language to encourage and challenge his readers.
“For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son … All things were created by Him and for Him, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities … so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything … He disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them having triumphed over them … If you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God … let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts … fellow workers of the kingdom of God.”
This is why Paul could appeal to them to “keep seeking those things that are above (kingdom life) not things on the earth (ways not yet subjected to the reign of God).” He admonishes those who are wrapped up in legalism, using terminology that relates to “decrees” and “commandments” that might come from a kind of higher authority and to which a person could subject themselves (i.e. dominion language). But in this case he says the rules they are adopting are no different than those which might be laid down in any human system. As such, they have no power to transform the person. Instead people need to die to those principles and learn how to subject themselves to the ways of the Kingdom. A way that leads to a renewed heart (Col.3:10-17), being changed from the inside out.
No wonder Paul prayed that they would “be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding … bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might … joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Col.1:9-12).
The more we grasp the wonder and glory of where we are — in the Kingdom of God — the more we will be able to live in the truth of who we are — the children of the King!