Summary: Paul sums up the doctrine of salvation in three great truths: 1) Inheritance (Colossians 1:12), 2) Deliverance (Colossians 1:13a), and 3) Transference (Colossians 1:13b-14).

Of all the recent stories of people held captive, the one of U.S. Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, has been the most controversial. He told military doctors that his Taliban captors tortured him and kept him locked in a metal cage in total darkness for weeks at a time after he tried to escape. Bergdahl, now 28, was captured in June 2009 after he apparently deserted his infantry unit. He was held for nearly five years by Taliban militants. Some of Bergdahl’s fellow soldiers maintain that Americans died during efforts to find and save him. Also, there is great concern that the high-level Taliban officials who were exchanged for his release, will resume activities with the Taliban and threaten members of the U.S. military in Afghanistan. In all of this, Bergdahl expressed gratitude for his release from captivity. (

In Colossians, the Apostle Paul gives them three good reasons for gratitude. Tied to a release from captivity, these reasons for gratitude (vv. 12–14, 15–20, 21–23) depend closely upon each other. Genuine Christian theology is the exploration of God’s character and actions, not in a spirit of mere speculation and curiosity, but out of gratitude and love, and with the intention of, and desire for, obedience. Paul’s prayer for the church reaches its climax in thanksgiving, and this thanksgiving is to be based on knowledge (Wright, N. T. (1986). Colossians and Philemon: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 12, p. 64). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.).

There are a lot of things in our life that we should be grateful for. If we are most thankful for something that can be lost, like employment, heath or wealth, then we put our trust in things that are fleeting. If our ultimate hope and faith is in God Himself, then we trust one who is faithful and true. In understanding what is in store for us, the harm that He prevents for us, and what He has done in order to achieve it, then our confidence can be secure

What should make Christians most thankful is the work of Christ in securing their freedom. In Colossians 1:12–14. Paul sums up the doctrine of salvation in three great truths: 1) Inheritance (Colossians 1:12), 2) Deliverance (Colossians 1:13a), and 3) Transference (Colossians 1:13b-14). They are both a description of salvation and a cause for thanksgiving.

Inheritance (Colossians 1:12)

Colossians 1:12 [12]giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (ESV)

Due to strength imparted by God, believers are able, even in the midst of tribulation, to give thanks with joy and to rejoice with thanksgiving (cf. Matt. 5:10–12; Luke 6:22, 23; Acts 5:41; 2 Cor. 4:7–17; Phil. 1:12–21). It is to the Father that this thanks is given, for it is he who through “the Son of his love” (verse 13) freely gives us all things (Rom. 8:32). Paul stresses the necessity of thanksgiving again and again (2 Cor. 1:11; Eph. 5:20; Phil. 4:6; Col. 3:17; 1 Thess. 5:18) (Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Colossians and Philemon (Vol. 6, pp. 59–60). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.).

•Failing to give thanks characterizes the wicked. One indictment of unbelievers is that “even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks” (Rom. 1:21). Evil people are marked by ungratefulness (Luke 6:35; 2 Tim. 3:2).

Father emphasizes the personal, relational aspect of our union with God. Before our salvation, God was our Judge. We stood condemned before Him for violating His holy, just laws. But when, through the grace of God, we placed our faith in Christ, God ceased being our sentencing Judge and became our gracious Father.

Not only has God adopted us as His sons, but He has also qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Qualified is from hikanoō, a word used only here and in 2 Corinthians 3:6 in the New Testament. It means “to make sufficient, to empower, to authorize, to make fit.” This involves making competent, with a sense of empowering or authorizing. From its use in this passage we may conclude that in themselves believers have no fitness for sharing in the heritage of God’s people. They can experience this only as God qualifies them for such a privilege. The tense of the word is aorist, pointing to the time of the Colossians’ conversion. The suggestion is that the qualifying is not a process but an instantaneous act. We are not qualified through our own efforts. God has qualified us through the finished work of Christ (Vaughan, C. (1981). Colossians. In F. E. Gaebelein (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians through Philemon (Vol. 11, p. 179). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.).

•How tasks are before youthat you fear you are not qualified to attempt? Is there someone suffering, someone with questions or even just the presentation of the gospel that you are putting off because you believe someone else is better able to handle it? God has put this before you for you to act. He will give you the knowledge, strength and power from His Spirit in order to accomplish His objectives. We just have to have faith that He will use us and act in faithfulness.

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