A Study of Colossians 1:12–14
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins… (Colossians 1:12–14)
As Paul continues writing to the Colossian assembly about his prayer for them, he lets them know again that he is thankful to God, the Father. In verse 3 he speaks to the saints regarding his thanksgiving, and leads in to what he is thankful for about them. Here, when he seems to be continuing his thought about what he prays for concerning them, he goes off on an “inspired tangent”, which really brings us to the object of this epistle: HIS DEAR SON!
The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. So let me ask you this: Do you feel that you are worthy to be a partaker with the “holy ones”? If you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, then you absolutely are. You probably do not feel like you are, but we walk by faith, not by feelings, so we believe what God has said in His Word. How do we know that we are worthy? Because the Father did it, and it is done.
But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. FOR WE ARE HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
So as we look to see what it means to be “made meet”, let us look at other ways this term is used in scripture. The Greek term is ἱκανόω (hikanoō), and for you grammarians, it is a verb. As a verb, it is used one other time, in 2 Corinthians 3:6, and is translated “made us able”. There is also a noun form, ἱκανότης (hikanótēs), which is translated “sufficiency” in 2 Corinthians 3:5. The root is an adjective, ἱκανός (hikanos), which is variously translated “meet”, “worthy”, “much”, “many”, “large”, “great”, “enough”, and “sufficient”.
Why bother with this grammar? It helps me to understand what is meant by a term, so I hope that it helps you to understand as well. In and of ourselves, we are not much, great, enough, sufficient, meet, or worthy. God, however, has made those that He has saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ all of these things, and it is our job to accept what He has done by faith and to believe it. We are to take our place as worthy to be partakers of this inheritance because He said it. So just as you probably do not feel righteous, but know that you are by faith, so you are worthy to partake with the saints (“holy ones”) in light. So rather than fighting for your unworthiness, let it bring you to the place of gratitude: Giving thanks to the Father!
Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15)
So how are we meet? We are worthy, because we are in Christ (Galatians 3:27). He has accepted us (Ephesians 1:6) because He has accepted Christ and He has graced us in the Beloved One—the Son of His Love!
Since we are in Christ, as far as God is concerned, we already have that place raised up together and sitting in the heavenlies in Christ (Ephesians 2:6). We are predestinated to receive that inheritance because we are in Christ (Ephesians 1:11). Now, how worthy are we? We are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. The light of God, Who caused the light to shine out of darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6), does not show anything that is unworthy, because we are in Christ.
Being made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, we are no longer under the power, or authority, of darkness. He delivered us from that awful and dreadful tyrannical rule, and has translated us into the KINGDOM OF HIS DEAR SON! Notice how the Lord commissioned Paul to preach the message that would bring about this very thing among the Gentiles:
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me. (Acts 26:18)
Think of the grace that is behind giving this grace apart from any covenant whatsoever! Think of it—Gentiles—no longer “strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19). We are part of the kingdom of the Son of His Love because He delivered us and brought us there—to make us citizens! Not slaves, not a subjugated people, but citizens! We deserved none of it, because the witness of scripture is that we were enemies (Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:21), but He did everything to make it happen. Our redemption—the means by which He delivered us—is THROUGH HIS BLOOD.
What a great cost, but what a great victory! Were we worthy of this great cost? Absolutely not, But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us (Ephesians 2:4) paid this cost, and now by His grace He has made us worthy.
Now this redemption must include forgiveness of sins. Sins, the evil that we do, have done, and will commit, (yes, Adam’s nature has not yet been removed from us, but we wait for the redemption of our bodies [Romans 8:23]), must be separated from us. This forgiveness of our sins is only found THROUGH HIS BLOOD. The sinful nature—the evil that we are—must be separated from us, and this forgiveness is only found THROUGH HIS BLOOD.
“Sins” in scripture appear to fall into three categories: There are sins, which are sinful and just plain evil and no good attitudes and actions; iniquities, which are lawless actions and actions contrary to law; and there are trespasses, which are deeds going beyond that which is allowable. In Ephesians 1:7, we are told we are forgiven of trespasses (there is a different word translated “sins” in this verse). In Colossians 1:14, we are forgiven of “sins”. The magnitude of both is this: both have the requirement of forgiveness to be the blood of Christ. No sin is beyond the reach of this infinite price, but remember too that no sin is beyond the need of this infinite price. His blood was required, and sufficient, to pay this great price for this great redemption. This forgiveness of sins THROUGH HIS BLOOD is only provided according to the riches of His grace.
If you are reading this and do not know Jesus Christ our Lord and do not know by faith the forgiveness of sins through His blood, the gospel that Paul preached to be believed to receive this wonderful redemption is wonderfully simple:
…Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures… (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31)