“Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love”
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
In order to excite your gratitude to God the Father, I propose to speak a little upon this passage. The text above has two blessings in it. The first has regard to the future. The second blessing, which must go with the first, for indeed it is the cause of the first, has relation to the past. Let us meditate a little upon each of these blessings, and then, in the third place, I will endeavor to show the relation which exists between the two.
I. The first blessing introduced to our notice is this-“God the Father has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”
It is a PRESENT BLESSING.
When we reflect upon our state by nature, and how fit we are to be fire-brands in the flames of hell—yet to think that we are this night, at this very moment if Jehovah willed it, fit to sweep the golden harps with joyful fingers, that this head is fit this very night to wear the everlasting crown, that these loins are fit to be girded with that fair white robe throughout eternity, I say, this makes us think gratefully of God the Father; this makes us clap our hands with joy, and say, “thanks be unto God the Father, who hath made us qualified to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
Remember the penitent thief on the cross? It was but a few minutes before that he had been cursing Christ. I doubt not that he had joined with the other, for it is said, “They that were crucified with him reviled him.” Not one, but both; they did it. And then a gleam of supernatural glory lit up the face of Christ, and the thief saw and believed. And Jesus said unto him, “Verily I say unto thee, this day,” though the sun is setting, “this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” No long preparation required, no sweltering in purifying fires. And so shall it be with us. We may have been in Christ Jesus to our own knowledge but three weeks, or we may have been in him for ten years, or threescore years and ten. The date of our conversion makes no difference in how qualified we are for heaven, in a certain sense.
II. The second mercy is A MERCY THAT LOOKS BACK. We sometimes prefer the mercies that look forward, because they unfold such a bright prospect.
It is a PAST BLESSING.
“Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood.”
But here is a mercy that looks backward on the gloomy past, and the dangers from which we have escaped. Verse 13:
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son.”
What a description of what kind of creature we used to be. We were under “the power of darkness.” Since I have been musing on this text, I have turned these words over and over in my mind—”the power of darkness!” We all know that there is a moral darkness which exercises its awful spell over the mind of the sinner. Where God is unacknowledged the mind is void of judgment. Where God is worshiped the heart of man becomes a ruin. The chambers of that ruined heart are haunted by ghostly fears and degraded superstitions.
But where are we now? Into what place is the believer brought, when he is brought out of the power of darkness?
He is brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Into what other kingdom would the Christian desire to be brought? I feel that I never shall be free till my self-control is all gone; that I shall never have my will truly free till it is bound in the golden fetters of his sweet love. We are brought into a kingdom—he is Lord and Sovereign, and he has made us “kings and priests unto our God,” and we shall reign with him.
So, you see, this mercy which God the Father has given to us, this second of these present mercies, is, that he has “delivered us out of the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son.” This is the Father’s work. Shall we not love God the Father from this day forth? Will we not give him thanks, and sing our hymns to him, and exalt and triumph in his great name?
What’s the connection between the two verses?
When I get a passage of Scripture to meditate upon, I like to see its drift. Then, I like to examine its various parts and see if I can understand each separate clause. Finally, I want to go back again, and see what one clause has to do with another. I looked and looked again at this text, and wondered what connection there could be between the two verses. “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” Well, that is right enough; we can see how this is the work of God the Father, to make us meet to go to heaven. But has the next verse, the 13th, anything to do with our being qualified?-“Who has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.”
Well, I looked it over and I said I will read it in this way. I see the 12th verse tells me that the inheritance of heaven is the inheritance of light. Is heaven light? Then I can see my qualifying for it as described in the 13th verse: He hath delivered me from the power of darkness. Is not that the same thing? If I am delivered from the power of darkness, is not that being made meet to dwell in light? If I am now brought out of darkness into light, and am walking in the light, is not that the very qualification which is spoken of in the verse before? Then I read again. It says they are saints. Well, the saints are a people that obey the Son.
You see, heaven is a place of light; when we are brought out of darkness, that, of course, is the qualification for light. It is a place for sons; when we are brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, we are of course made sons, so that there is the qualification for it. It is an inheritance; and when we are brought into the inherited kingdom of God’s dear Son, we enjoy the inheritance now, and consequently are fitted to enjoy it for ever.
Having thus shown the connection between these verses, let us from this time forward never omit God the Father in our praises!
(Adapted from a sermon by Charles Spurgeon. You can view this sermon and more at Blue Letter Bible.)