Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:…
I. WHO? The Father. And no one else ought to, or could, deliver man, but God.
1. None other ought, because (as observes) "by this act he would forcibly take away from the Creator His own servant." For so great is this benefit of deliverance, that it binds us more than the benefit of creation.
2. But neither could any other deliver. For he must necessarily be stronger than the devil who could wrest his prey from him (Matthew 12:29). But who could overcome and bind this prince of darkness except the mighty God alone? It was He, therefore, who plucked us from him.
II. WHOM, or what sort of persons God delivered? And this consideration may be twofold.
1. Of those who were to be delivered. Previous to our deliverance we were not only diseased and weak, but opposed to our own deliverance (Romans 5.).
(1) Observe the immeasurable love of God, who would deliver such persons: for no one cares to redeem a thing of no value.
(2) The infinite power of God who delivered man in spite of the devil.
2. As to those who have been delivered; after that they are faithful and holy, who before were rebels and unholy. "Us" refers to verses 4-6. Hence it is manifest —
(1) The dreams of carnal men of deliverance are vain. The Israelites, while serving Pharaoh and lusting after the fleshpots, were not in the enjoyment of liberty; so Christians while obeying the devil and delighting in sin are not delivered.
(2) Hence, also, we infer for the consolation of the godly that they alone are free; the ungodly, although they glitter in the eyes of men, are slaves.
III. FROM WHAT? The power of darkness.
1. From the power of the devil who is the prince of darkness. We all are born under his kingdom, so that he worketh in us according to his own will. But this prince of darkness is bruised under the feet of the faithful (Romans 16:20), to whom, by the Spirit of God, new strength is administered to trample upon this unclean spirit.
2. From the power of sin, which hath blinded the understanding, corrupted the will, and placed us in a condition of darkness both as to knowledge and to spiritual and saving practice (Ephesians 5:8; John 1:5; John 3:19). Now from this darkness God has rescued us. He pours in the light of faith and imparts the Spirit of holiness; which blessings being bestowed, this power and dominion of sin is dissolved (Romans 6:14).
3. From the power of hell, i.e., from the miseries and calamities which arise from the guilt of reigning sin. From the power of this they are delivered by the Divine mercy (Romans 8:1). Observe —
(1) For instruction. The whole world is involved in darkness under the devil, neither is there a spark of saving light before deliver ance; for we are in "the power of darkness."(2) For caution. The redeemed ought to have no fellowship with the works of darkness; for they are rescued from the power of the devil and of sin, and, therefore, by serving these they show them selves to be deserters (Romans 13:12).
(3) For consolation. Although the godly are often troubled yet they are delivered from a misery compared with which all external evils are trifling.
IV. To WHAT?
1. The nature of the translation.
(1) The word is borrowed from those who plant colonies and compel persons to migrate to inhabit some new region. So God has translated us from the kingdom of darkness, which is the native soil of us all.
(2) How hath He translated us? We may under stand that from the context. God translates us when He illuminates our hearts by pouring into them faith, when He changes our will by imparting grace; for, being enlightened and sanctified, a man is by that very act translated from the power of darkness into the kingdom of His Son; because He cannot possibly be at the same time a citizen of two cities which observe contrary laws. Here observe, To be delivered it is not enough that we be called to this kingdom, and admonished to desert that other.
(3) Therefore He is to be regarded with the highest honour, for so colonies are accustomed to regard their founder.
2. What is intended by this word kingdom? The Kingdom of God, Christ, heaven.
(1) Is put for the state of .glory (Matthew 6:33; 1 Corinthians 6:9). This the saints have by right, and hope, but not m possession.
(2) For the promulgation and knowledge of the gospel (Matthew 13:11; Matthew 21:43). But this the saints have only in common with other professors.
(3) For a state of grace, remission of sins, renovation, and Divine favour on account of Christ, the Mediator; and for the whole multitude of those who are in this state (Luke 18:21; Romans 14:17). I deem this to be the proper sense of this expression.
3. Why the apostle calls it the kingdom of the Son, and not of heaven, or of light. Because —
(1) God admits no one to it except through His Son as Mediator. He is the channel of grace. Through Him its streams flow to us, and we are planted in the kingdom (Ephesians 1:3, 8).
(2) Christ, the Mediator, received it from the Father to govern it to the end of time (Luke 22:29).
(3) Paul wished to open the way and make an easy transition for discoursing on the person of the Son. For he immediately enters upon that doctrine, which he could not so aptly have proceeded to unless he had expressly named the Son.
(4) Christ is rightly called the Son of the Father's love, because He hath the Father's whole and entire love communicated to Him, even as He had His essence. This is a great consolation to the godly man, when he calls to mind that he is not merely a subject, but a member of Christ so beloved of God. For hence he derives the hope of obtaining from God whatever is necessary to salvation.
I. MAN IS NOW IN SOUL MISERY.
1. Naturally. We are children of wrath by nature.
2. Judiciarily. We are under condemnation.
3. Universally. Soul death hath passed over all men.
II. MAN NEEDS DELIVERANCE.
1. We are sensible enough of bodily misery, but insensible to soul misery; yet the former is but to make us sensible of the latter. 'Tis God pulling the rope without to make the bell speak within.
2. Without our sense of the need of deliverance, that deliverance will never come.
3. What temporal and eternal horrors are there for the unsaved.
III. MAN MAY BE DELIVERED. Christ "snatched" souls out of darkness and danger.
1. He moves strongly to save. Snatching speaks an act of force; Christ overturns all that stands in His way when He puts forth to deliver a soul.
2. He moves swiftly to save. Snatching notes swift motion. There is but a step between hell and that soul that is under the power of darkness; what, therefore, is done must be done speedily or the soul is lost.
3. Christ moves thoroughly to save. Snatching, speaks a full assuming of that which was wholly another's. That which I snatch from my enemy in war is wholly mine own, and Christ, having plucked us out of the hands of Satan, claims us as his own.
4. Christ moves preventingly. Snatching speaks an act unthought of, force surprising, the surprised dreaming nothing. Christ catcheth sinners in a dead sleep. Soldiers are sometimes so caught; the devil's soldiers are all so.
5. Christ moves ravishingly. This is love smiling, and the soul is taken.
IV. THE DELIVERED.
1. Love the Redeemer.
2. Obey Him.
(N. Lockyer, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
WEB: who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love;