In the last couple of weeks the local news has covered a wonderful story of a young man I think 13 or 14 years old, who witnessed a small child fall into a lake. It was very cold here at the time but without hesitation he jumped into the frigid water to rescue her. His first attempt in diving down to find the girl were unsuccessful. But his dad, on the bank, yelled to him that he saw bubbles close by and told him where to dive down to find her. This time he found the girl and pulled her to shore where someone there gave her CPR and revived her. The young man was shown and when the reporter called him a hero his face turned red and he seemed embarrassed by the idea. But can you imagine how the mother and dad of that little girl feel about him? Imagine that child growing up and hearing the story of how this young man risked his life to save her when she was a child.
In reality each of us have fallen into the cold, cold waters of sin and are drowning in the lake of confusion where Satan employes every trick to keep us under water, freezing, lonely, afraid and helpless to save ourselves. It is into that cold lake that Jesus dives to save us from Satan’s power, to rescue us from sin’s control and give us a new life in him. In Colossians 1:13-14 Paul wrote: “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.” If you are a Christian you too have been rescued by the Savior of the world.
The problem with us so often is that we are lost and don’t know it. Jesus told us of such a situation in Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord’ did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” This scene is to show us that even in the judgment many will be surprised to learn that they really aren’t right with the Lord. They would likely have been accepted as outstanding members of the church, perhaps even put into places of leadership. Yet they didn’t really know the Lord or understand his work. They were lost and didn’t know it.
I think we can get used to just about anything so that it becomes normal to us and we accept it as reality. Sin has a way of pulling us in, often in very slow and easy steps. When we finally realize we’ve been led into the domain of darkness we know that we need desperately to have someone to rescue us. Trying on our own to get release from Satan’s clutches is a useless battle that we can never win. It is like trying to sweep the darkness out of a room. No matter how hard we sweep we are still in a dark room. When we try to conquer sin on our own power it turns us into an arrogant self worshiper who constantly wants to tell others how he did it and that they just need to do what the did.
Jesus came to the rescue. He jumped into the frigid world of sin and willingly became one us so he could suffer our temptations, understand our grief and sorrow and feel the agony of rejection and disappointment. After living among us on this earth for a little over 33 years, without giving in to Satan’s efforts to lead him into sin a single time, he took our sins on him and allowed the screaming mob to take him to the cross and there crucify the Son of God who was also the Son of man. They buried him in a borrowed tomb that would only hold him as a very temporary guest. That tomb served as a short stay motel for him. Three days later the angel of the Lord rolled the heavy stone away that covered the entrance. His grave clothes were laid aside in order. Jesus was alive again forevermore. As the one who was made like us and suffered our temptations, he was ready to rescue us from Satan’s realm of control. His rescue efforts are made out of a heart of love and grace. We don’t deserve salvation. We deserve to spend our eternity in hell. But His love brought him down to rescue us from Satan’s grasp and give us new life.
Jesus gave us a transfer. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus after the rich man died and was in hell’s torment he saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus beside him being hugged and loved by Abraham. He first asked for a drop of water to cool his tongue but that wasn’t granted. I suspect his real desire was a transfer. But Abraham informed him that once a person is in the eternal realm of the sinner, in hell, there is no escape. “There is a great gulf fixed between us and you so that no one can pass from here to there or from there to here.” Transfer’s are available as long as we are in this life. We can escape with the Lord’s help from Satan’s domain of darkness to enter the kingdom of God’s dear son. But if I try to wait until I’m in hell to get the transfer it will be way too late and my destiny will be sealed.
Notice the comparison between Satan’s domain of darkness with the kingdom of God’s dear son. One is a house of horrors. The other is a place where God and Christ reign as king and lead those who follow them as shepherds in the way of joy and light. Who do you want ruling in your life? Will it be Satan who longs to destroy you? Or will you try to be Satan’s proxy and rule your own life? You can be rescued from the domain of darkness by the Savior of the world and transferred into his kingdom of light.
What is it like to be in the kingdom of God’s dear son? Back in Galatians 5:19-24 Paul laid out the contrast between the two kingdom and what kind of life is in each. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Which kind of world would you rather live in? Which way of life would you choose for your family?
How can I get a transfer into the kingdom of God’s dear son? I certainly can’t earn my way into such a kingdom. I’ve sinned and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). But, since Jesus paid the price of my sin, I don’t have to earn my way in. He took my place on that cross. He extends his grace to us all. “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all people, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age.” (Titus 2:11-13). Jesus sent his apostles on the mission of go and preach the gospel to all creation so that people could believe and be baptized and be saved. (Mark 16:15-16). Matthew recorded his final commission like this: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Therefore, as you go, make disciples of all ethnic groups, baptizing them into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. I will be with you always, even to the end of the age.”(Matthew 28:18-20)
If I want the transfer, I must believe on Jesus to the degree I’m ready to be his disciple. That means I will follow him, listen to him and become more and more like him all the time. Becoming a disciple involves turning from the old way of sin and Satan to live a different kind of life. It won’t be a sinless life. But it will be a life of holiness and goodness even though I will make some mistakes along the way. When I believe in Jesus and have turned from my sinful way of life, I must be baptized into the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is the step that puts me into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27). Then as a disciple I will continue to learn more and more about Jesus and how to live for him, growing all the time like him.
It is at the point when I’m transferred into the kingdom of God’s son that my sins are forgiven and I am redeemed. To be redeemed means that I am bought out of the slavery of sin. Jesus is the redeemer and I am the redeemed one. He is ready at any time to be your redeemer as well. You can change. You can be new all over again. You can be part of the kingdom of God’s dear and beloved son. What a tremendous opportunity!