Colossians 1:13-14 Reveals All God Has Done for Us

Colossians 1:13-14 Reveals All God Has Done for Us

The epistles that make up the bulk of the New Testament are a good source for those who are seeking to understand God better. It is full of life advice, church standards, and good doctrine. Many of these letters were written to clarify questions asked by infant churches or to address behaviors or concerns. Christianity was new, and many needed guidance.

The book of Colossians was written to the church in Colossae, a gentile church. Paul wrote it to encourage them in their faith, as well as to help them understand the pre-eminence of Christ in all things – a theme of the text. He begins this focus in the first section by clarifying who Jesus is, what He did, and man’s need for God’s love and forgiveness.

“He has delivered us from the domain 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).

These two verses contain important doctrine about sin, salvation, and God’s love, which He demonstrated through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

What Does This Verse Mean?

The verse outlines several key concepts in the Christian faith. First, Paul states that God the Father made a way for people to be freed from the bondage of their sin and its natural consequences - hell. People are in the domain of darkness in two ways. When someone is alive, they are a slave to sin. They do what is wrong, and do not have a way to overcome temptation. Because people sin, they fall under the eternal domain of darkness, and will be punished eternally for their evil.

Because God loved the people He created, He gave them the law. But the law could not redeem people from their sins, only show them their evil. To forever separate individuals from their sinful hearts, God the Son submitted to the Father’s will. He came and lived life as a mortal man, but being both fully God and fully man, He was able to resist sin and temptation. After living a sinless life, He died on the cross, and His blood became the sacrifice which satisfied the cost of the sin of all people. After being in the tomb for three days, Jesus arose bodily from the grave, and ascended to Heaven.

This period of time, known as the church age, gives people the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, repent of their sins, and accept that Jesus paid their debt on the cross. This relationship, created by the cross and rooted in faith, is the way that God transfers people out of darkness, and into the Kingdom of God. People who accept Jesus as their Savior have the Holy Spirit, can resist temptation and sin, and will live with Jesus eternally. Anyone can be redeemed from sin, the world, and the influence of their own evil hearts and out of eternal damnation, accomplished through Jesus Christ, through Him all sins can be forgiven.

What Is the Context of This Verse?

The Apostle Paul became a missionary to the Gentile world, travelling all around the Mediterranean Sea, and writing to countless other churches about the hope of salvation in Jesus Christ. Being early in the letter, Paul includes customary greetings to his brothers and sisters in the faith, as well as uplifting Epaphras, who was doing good work with Paul. He then goes on to mention that he is in prayer for the church in Colossae, and it is here that He addresses what God has done for mankind. He felt it was important for them to understand the nature of their relationship with Jesus Christ.

He wrote, “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:9-12).

Paul prayed fervently for his brothers and sisters so they would be wise and discerning, and rightfully understand correct doctrine. As a predominantly Gentile church, they lacked the understanding of the Scriptures – what Christians call the Old Testament – and were all coming from pagan backgrounds; they were at risk of getting confused, misunderstanding doctrine, or not letting go of false teachings. There was also a risk of synchronism, where people incorporated Jesus into their pagan religion. Paul’s prayers and efforts in this letter were to clarify who Jesus is and ensure their doctrine was on solid footing.

What Does This Verse Tell Us about What God Has Done for Us?

This verse focuses on the primary message of Christianity, which is summarized throughout the New Testament. God has the right to judge sin, and does not relinquish it. Instead, He created a path for true salvation. In order for a sinner to stand before the holiness of God and not immediately be condemned, the price for their sins would need to be paid, and they would need to be truly righteous.

Because “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:11-12), no mortal man in his or her own power could accomplish this righteousness. Instead, God gave of Himself, sending Jesus Christ the Son of the Triune God.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God” (John 3:16-18).

Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible for someone to receive the righteousness of Christ, thus having a relationship with God, and live in Heaven for eternity.

Why Did God Rescue Us, and from What?

For those who reject the extension of grace made by Jesus’ death, and who refuse to place their hope in His resurrection, they must face the consequences of their sins. To enter into the kingdom of the Son, where Jesus is king, someone must be righteous and have a relationship with the king. If they did not repent of their sins, and accept the free forgiveness and grace offered through the blood of Christ, they cannot enter God’s kingdom and must remain in the domain of darkness in which they have spent their whole lives.

“But nothing unclean will ever enter [the New Heaven and the New Earth], nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life” (Revelation 21:27). Instead, they will be condemned by their own words and actions, “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). Hell is the price for sin and rebellion against God, but He has made a way for humanity to be rescued out it.

How Does This Verse Encourage Us in Our Daily Walk?

Every single person who ever walked on this earth, apart from Jesus Christ, sinned against God, lived in darkness, and has earned God’s wrath. For those who have repented and asked for Jesus to be their Lord and Savior, they can live without fear of condemnation. Instead of being lost in darkness, they are forgiven, redeemed, and adopted into the family of God.

This is reason to rejoice every day! Death is no longer something to fear, but merely a passage from this life and into the eternal presence of God. It should also motivate believers to obey the Great Commission, and to share the news of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and prophesied return, so they too can turn to Him, and leave the domain of darkness for the eternal joys of Jesus, as citizens of an everlasting kingdom.


Moo, Douglas. The Letters to Colossians and Philemon. Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2008.

Walvoord, John F. and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Old Testament and New Testament. United States of America: Victor Books, 1987.

Wilmington, H.L. Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible. Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1981.

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Bethany Verrett is a freelance writer who uses her passion for God, reading, and writing to glorify God. She and her husband have lived all over the country serving their Lord and Savior in ministry. She has a blog on