“For He delivered us from the authority of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14) The word “delivered” speaks of the action of a mighty conqueror who rescues someone by his great strength. “Authority” refers to a tyrannical form of government, enslaving those under its power. A greater power must intervene. No man can rescue himself from the authority of darkness. Jesus used exactly the same phrase at Gethsemane when the crowd came to seize Him: “While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on me, but this hour and the authority of darkness are yours” (Luke 22:53). Jesus notes that the people opposing Him are exercising the power of darkness. But those who try to use the power of darkness will also fall under its authority.
When man fell into sin, he tried to make use of the serpent’s wisdom to gain his own goals, but soon found that he had fallen under both the serpent’s authority and its judgment. The authority of darkness is the place of Satan’s rule and the counterfeit or opposite of God’s kingdom. It is the place where every single one of us lived before we came to Christ. We entered it through sin, and every one of us has sinned. We can exit it only through total absence of sin and obedience to God, the state in which we were created. But no man can free himself from the hold of sin and so no man can free himself from the kingdom of darkness. We are in an impossible dilemma!
Yet there is a way out, for Christ has delivered us; the verse continues: “He has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” The word “transferred” or “removed” was the word used when conquering kings took with them whole populations of towns and cities and moved them to a new place. They did it for an evil cause, but God does it for our benefit. What we could not do He has done. Notice that we do not have to wait for the future to be part of His kingdom. We are in His kingdom now. To be in His kingdom means to be living under His rule and authority, to be experiencing the reality of His power in our lives. To be transferred into the kingdom means change, and change for the better. What was impossible before is possible now.