Colossians 1:12 (ESV): 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
This simple, beautiful clause states several assumptive truths that are expanded in other scriptures. First, while we should not try to separate or compartmentalize the three Persons of the Godhead (for God is one), scripture makes clear that the Father gave His Son to redeem humanity. John 3:16 (ESV): 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. Compare this truth with 1 John 4:9–10 (ESV):
9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
Simply, the assumption reflection in Colossians 1:12 is that God took the initiative to redeem humanity from sin. We gain no brownie points for somehow realizing our desperate condition apart from God. For God, in his prevenient (going before) grace, sought us out, hemmed us in, convicted us of sin, and rescued us like the Good Shepherd reached down the side of the cliff to rescue the wandering sheep, stuck on a narrow ledge, only a step away from certain death.
Another assumption in this verse is that God’s redeeming grace completely restores us as the children of God. The Father has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
As 1 Peter 2:9–10 (ESV) so beautifully states:
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
The follower of Jesus gains an inheritance in heaven. We are not half-Christians. We do not merely hope for our salvation. There are no second-class Christians. If you have been redeemed from sin, regenerated, you possess an inheritance that is stored away for you by God.
But the third assumption in this verse is the one that most captivates my attention at this time. The Father has qualified you. In the world of sales, qualification is very important. The product or service a salesman offers may not be a match or be available for every potential client. I am reminded of the story of a salesman who spent a lengthy amount of time selling a product to a prospective buyer, only to be told by the buyer as they filled out the forms that he had been calling this potential client by the wrong name for the entire sales call!
What is worse is when due to various factors, a buyer may be ineligible for a product or service. They may want to buy the item. They may have the means to buy it. But they are not qualified.
Salvation, obviously, cannot be purchased. We cannot do enough good works to be qualified for salvation. Yet at the same time, if God had not qualified us, salvation would never have become a possibility. If God did not love us so much to sacrifice His Son, if the Son had been unwilling to go along with the Father’s plan, we would be without hope.
But the wonderful truth of scripture is that the Father has qualified us. Therefore, you may partake of God’s salvation freely. You may claim your stake in heaven. This is the reality provided for all those who repent of their sin and accept Jesus Christ to be their Lord and Savior.
It bears repeating again that you do not need to nor can you qualify yourself for salvation. Grace is the free gift of God through faith in Christ Jesus. At the same time, we also remember that God has called everyone to repentance. As Peter wrote: 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance 2 Peter 3:9 (ESV). God qualifies us for salvation through no effort or initiative of our own, but in order to receive this grace, we must accept it by faith.
We truly are privileged to have been qualified to become the children of God, redeemed from sin, born again spiritually, adopted into God’s family, sanctified for God’s purpose and glory.
As the great line from the Spiderman movie goes, “With great privileges come great responsibilities.” So we should live with gratitude to God: 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you Colossians 1:12 (ESV). This gratitude should be displayed in multiple ways, not limited to but including the following:
• we should live every moment as “worship” to God – Romans 12:1 (ESV): 12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
• we should seek to become more like Christ in our character, our mindset, our speech, and our actions – 1 Peter 1:14–15 (ESV): 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.
• we should share the good news of salvation to everyone we can – 2 Corinthians 5:18–20 (ESV): 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
That God would qualify us, who truly had no reason nor hope to be qualified, is amazing grace. Let us live in that grace with gratitude!
Heavenly Father, thank you for making me acceptable by the blood of Jesus Christ shed on the Cross. I thank you for your amazing grace. Help me to live in every way as an expression of my gratitude to you – in worship, in holiness, as an ambassador of Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.