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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).

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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. (http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/06/09/bowe-bergdahl-tells-officials-he-was-tortured-and-held-in-shark-cage-after-he-tried-to-flee-his-taliban-captors/)

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.).


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