The purpose of prayer is to express our thanksgiving to God the Father. Our prayers are directed toward the first person of the Trinity, in the name of the Son, and with the aid of the Holy Spirit. It is to the Father we are “giving thanks.” The Greek word is eucharisteo, comes from the word meaning to give freely, and denotes gratitude, gratefulness, giving of thanks for what God has graciously given his people. Notice this word is in present tense, indicating that we are to be constantly giving thanks. We are to live with the attitude of thanksgiving. One of the great characteristics of what a believer is to be is constantly thankful for the work of God. We are to be people who offer up our praise, worship and adoration to the Father for what He has done. At this point we must to look at the word “joyously” at the end of verse 11. While Lightfoot argues the word belongs to verse 11, it is a more natural fit with verse 12—“joyously or with joy giving thanks…” O’Brien tells us, “it preserves the balance of the three clauses in verses 11-12, and is favored by Phil. 1:4.” Paul joyously directs thanks unto the Father. “Amen, blessing, and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, [be] unto our God for ever and ever. Amen” (Rev.7:12).
The prayer is directed to God the Father. In doing so, Paul affirms the reason for thanksgiving is the work of God the Father. He gives this a three-fold work of the Father:
a. He qualifies us (1:12).
He “who has qualified us” is God the Father. The Greek word is hikanoo meaning to make sufficient, fit, empowered, or able to qualify, authorized. It does not mean to make deserving. The word is in the aorist tense, which means God qualified us in a point of time, i.e. salvation. The qualification is a completed action. He made us fit by His grace, for by nature we are unfit (Rom. 3:23). He does it all. Wuest appropriately points out; “The standing of the believer in Christ is here in view, not his Christian character.” It is the work of the Father based on the redemptive work of God the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is why we are received into His family.
God qualifies us “to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” The word share is from the word merida, means a part, share or portion. The KJV uses the translation of partaker, which is stronger and better than the word share. We partake of a portion or share in the inheritance. The Greek is klerou, meaning an allotted portion; a portion assigned, inheritance. The same form of the word is used in Acts 26:18. This particular word is used in reference to believers only. They have an assigned portion, an inheritance among those who have been justified by faith. This is of special interest and significance to the Gentiles under the dispensation of the mystery—Eph. 1:11. Paul here says “of the saints.” Some take this phrase as holy ones meaning angels, thus we have a share with the angels. However, this is not the likely meaning here. There are two reasons for this. First, Acts 26:18, which is the only place this specific word for inheritance is used, clearly identifies the inheritance be to those who Christ has sanctified (set apart). Second, it is doubtful that Paul ever uses the word saint for anything but human saints. In Colossians, this inheritance is in the sphere of light (lit. of the light). It is a contrast to verse 13, the “domain of darkness.” Light denotes the environment of the inheritance. It is an inheritance in God. God is light (1 John 1:5). Christ is light (John 1:9). We are joint-heirs are with Christ and heirs of God (Rom. 8:17; Gal. 4:7). It is clear that our inheritance came not by the Law (Gal. 3:18); rather we have obtained it in Christ (Eph. 1:11). The Holy Spirit has been given to us as a down payment of our inheritance (Eph. 1:14). Our inheritance is eternal (Heb. 9:15), imperishable, undefiled, and reserved for us (1 Peter 1:4).
b. He transfers us (1:13).
Here is the how God qualified us for our inheritance. The Father does two things, one is negative, the other is positive. First the negative: “He rescued us from the domain of darkness” (1:13a). The word rescued is the Greek verb errusatio in the aorist tense, indicating this was done in the point of time, thus, translated in the past tense. The word depicts the idea of drawing out from, to rescue. This requires a power more powerful than the power which one is rescued from. It is a complete rescue by God. Gromacki notes that this verb form is used only of God in the New Testament (Matt. 6:13; 27:43, Luke 1:74; 11:4; Rom. 7:24; 15:31; 2 Cor. 1:10; 1 Thess. 1:10; 2 Thess. 3:2; 2 Tim 3:11; 4:17-18, 2 Pet. 2:7,9). It is always the deliverance by God. He is the one that delivers, and thus it is His exclusive work. Campbell notes, “We must keep in mind that this deliverance was initiated, preveniently effected in time, and ultimately completed by God.”
The expression “from the domain of darkness” acknowledges that it is a power that those who are rescue are under. The word domain (exousia) denotes the right to act, meaning authority and the power to exercise that authority. It describes the state of the unregenerate. Dunn says “The implication, therefore, is not so much that the darkness has been already stripped of all its power and banished. Rather, the darkness can be legitimately and authoritatively resisted, as having had its license revoked (Rom. 11:11-14; Eph. 5:8-11; 1 Thess. 5:4-8; 1 Pet. 2:9).” Darkness describes the character of this power and authority, and is the prevailing ethical element. It had its hour at the crucifixion (Luke 22:53), but it was not an hour of victory, but defeat. It is because of this hour that we can be rescued from its darkness of ignorance, sin, and degrading power. The Greek word “from” is ek, meaning out from or out of this domain of darkness.
Now comes the change to the positive—“and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (1:13). The word transferred is the Greek word is methistemi, meaning to change, remove, or to relocate. The background is the wholesale transportation of peoples from one nation to another by a victorious army. A prime example was the 10 tribes of
deported and relocated by the Assyrians. The aorist tense of the verb refers to
an action taken in the point of time, i.e. the moment of salvation. We are delivered “out of” one domain, “into”
another domain or kingdom. Those delivered are not emigrants, nor simple
exiles, but are transferred as citizens of a new kingdom (Phil. 3:20). We are
citizens now of the heavenly kingdom of His beloved Son. Israel
c. He liberates us (1:14).
Some end this section at verse 13, but most end it with verse 14. The major reason for continuing until the end of verse 14 is that verse 13 does not yet complete the thought. Verse 14 is a continuation of the thought of verse 13.
It is in the sphere of “the Son of His love” (literally), that God the Father redeems and forgives us. This is done in union with Christ. “In whom,” is a statement of sphere (1:14). It is where God the Father redeems and forgives. The proposal of redemption began in the heart of God; the action of redemption was carried out by God in Christ. It is the sphere or the union with Christ in which we receive benefit. “We have” is the Greek word echomen, is in the present tense and has a durative force, which indicates a continual procession. It is ours now, and continually.
What we have is “redemption”. There are three verbs Greek words translated redemption. First, agarazo, it means to purchase in the marketplace. Second, is exagarazo, the same word as before, but with the prefix ex, which indicates a separation from or out of the market place. Third, is the Greek word lytroo, means to set free by payment. Here we have the noun form of the last Greek word, apolutrosis, denoting a release by ransom. It speaks of not simply buying a slave, but buying back a slave so that he is free; no longer a slave, nor can he be, for he has been set free. He has complete freedom from slavery. It connotes liberation. As Barclay simple puts it, “redemption is liberation at a cost.” This noun is also found in Romans 3:24, “Being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.” We are brought, redeemed, by His grace through the blood of Jesus Christ (Eph. 1:7). It is not his birth, his life, nor his example that provides redemption for us. It is His sacrifice on the Cross, which redeems us. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Heb. 9:22). He had to spill his own blood for our redemption (Heb. 9:12-14).
Being redeemed is an act of grace. Grace is unmerited favor, we cannot earn it in any way, shape, or form. Redemption is received, not achieved. It is a gift—a gift received it by faith (Eph. 2:8-10). A definition of redemption is “the forgiveness of sins” (1:14). This phrase is in apposition with redemption, thus further describing the redemption. This is “the essential effect of Christ’s ransoming for all believers.” The word forgiveness is aphesis and has a rich background in ancient world. In the Old Testament, it has to do with a release of debt (Ex. 21:2-11; Lev. 25:39-46; Deut. 15:1-18). It was liberation. It cancelled a debt or obligation, thus releasing or liberating one out from under the burden of that debt. In the Greek world, it had the same idea. It was used in remission of taxes, a cancellation of a debt. The debt is a cheriographon, meaning a note of hand or an I.O.U. held over one’s head. The word canceled is exaleiphein, meaning to sponge clean or to wipe away. The word is a compound word meaning “to send away from.” It is in the locative case indicating that forgiveness is in the sphere of Jesus Christ, “with the implication that He alone is able to erase our sins.” Gromacki states, “the essence of forgiveness is the sending away of sins from a person who committed those sins.” This is what God has done for us in Christ. Christ took our sin, and gave us His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). What a transaction! The great unavoidable fact is that we are under the debt of sin. It is universal and inescapable, except in and by the person and work of Christ. God alone can forgive sin. Christ liberates us from the liability from of our sins and their guilt.
 Lightfoot, COLOSSIANS, 140.
 O’Brien, COLOSSIANS, 25.
 Johnson, S. Lewis, “Studies in the Epistles of Colossians: Spiritual Knowledge and a Worthy Walk,” BIB-SAC, October 1961, 344.
 Wuest, COLOSSIANS, 179.
 Campbell, COLOSSIANS, 37.
 Gromacki, STAND PERFECT, 54.
 Campbell, COLOSSIANS, 38.
 Dunn, COLOSSIANS, 78.
 Lightfoot, COLOSSIANS, 139. Also see William Barclay, THE ALL-SUFFICIENT CHRIST, 72.
 Gromacki, STAND PERFECT, 57.
 Barclay, ALL-SUFFICENT CHRIST, 75.
 Lenski, COLOSSIANS, 44.
 Barclay, ALL-SUFFIECENT CHRIST, 77.
 Campbell, COLOSSIANS, 41.
 Gromacki, STAND PERFECT, 60.