When we read the New Testament we are reminded that a remarkable transformation has happened. When we become a Christian we are transferred from one kingdom to another. Notice how the Apostle Paul puts it in Colossians 1:13.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,” (Colossians 1:13)
Notice the two words, delivered and transferred.
The first word has to do with a rescue from a dangerous captivity. Believers are rescued from the tyrannical oppression of sin and Satan. Formerly opposed to God and his kingdom rule, we have been rescued, or delivered from it.
Secondly, we have been transferred. This is a change of status. The emphasis is upon the change that comes. The word is used for the sun being changed to darkness (Acts 2:20) or laughter being changed to crying (James 4:9). The transfer is a dramatic change of status from the dominion of darkness to the loving rule of Christ Jesus.
This is a massive shift. We cannot enjoy a greater contrast than being delivered from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of light.
But we should also note that not only is there a change of status but there is a change of nature. When God transfers our allegiances he also begins the work of transforming our hearts and lives to be in conformity to the new kingdom, the new age, the new humanity, that he has created. In other words, God works a change in us to make us more like Jesus.
This is why there are so many commands and directives in the New Testament; God wants us to live according to our new nature and citizenship. We are living out God’s kingdom rule even as we await the full experience of his kingdom.
If you had to boil down the essence of what this change looks like what would it be? It is love. Without love, we are, says the Apostle, nothing and have nothing (1 Cor. 13). This love is a love for God and for others. Instead of living for and loving self, we look outward and seek to love God and others.
We see this same thing in the first verse of Hebrews 13.
“Let brotherly love continue.” (Hebrews 13:1)
Have you have looked at your Christian life in this way? Do you think more about the change of status that gospel brings? Or the change of life? We actually need both.
If the essence of the Christian life is love, then you surely can see the essence of missing the point in the Christian life: loving self instead of God and others. If you boil this down, Christian living is essentially believing and applying the gospel in such a way that we become less enthralled with ourselves and more inclined to love God and others. As Christians we demonstrate the love that we’ve received by looking outward and showing love to others.
The gospel calls us out of something and unto something. With both, God’s love is powerfully displayed.