By Michael E. Brooks
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13 KJV).
There has been a lot of translation going on at Khulna Bible College these past several days. One of the teachers is finishing up a book which he agreed to translate for a publisher in the U.S.
A keyboarder from Khulna has been hired to type the translation of the book from hand written notes already prepared, and the KBC teacher is proofreading as he goes.
I have been writing lessons for a seminar for preachers and church leaders which is coming up soon, and another of the teachers is translating those.
Translating from one language to another is a difficult and inexact process. Languages don’t match up exactly — no two languages use exactly the same vocabulary or rules of grammar. Additionally, linguistic “mannerisms” are extremely varied, and all languages use familiar idioms which do not translate literally into other tongues.
One has only to see the many varied readings of “reliable, standard” English translations of the Bible to understand the complexity of the process.
As complicated as linguistic translation is, it pales beside another kind of translation which is described in the New Testament. According to the text quoted above, those who have believed in Jesus and have obeyed the Gospel (Romans 6:16) have been “translated” from one realm of power to another. Since those two realms are directly and drastically opposed to one another, this translation can be nothing short of miraculous.
As disparate as two languages may be, they still have many things in common. For example, some of the rules of grammar will correspond. Every language uses a sentence structure. Each language has various word types (nouns, verbs, adjectives) in common.
Every language has words for known tangible objects and for common ideas (intangibles). Thus translation between two languages can begin with some common ground.
But the power of darkness is completely different from and opposed to the Kingdom of the Son. Darkness extols evil and the material world. The Kingdom stresses righteousness and the spirit. Darkness invites towards death and destruction.
The Kingdom promises eternal life. Darkness encourages man to live selfishly, in physical pleasure, pride, and greed. The Kingdom urges him to love others as himself, and to submit completely to the will of God.
The move from the power of darkness to the Kingdom of the Son is totally beyond the ability of any human. Man cannot even comprehend the process which is necessary for him to be transformed completely from a sinful rebel against God to a child of his. Yet God has made the impossible possible.
Through Christ, sinners are translated. As the New King James Version renders it, God “conveyed us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love.” Man had no vehicle capable of making that journey. There was no route by which he could travel on his own. God provided both, in Christ.
By moving fallen man from the realm of death to that of life God “has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light” (Colossians 1:12). Corrupt sinful people are made “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17).
What he requires from them is that they “walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10).
If we are translated into the Kingdom of Light, surely we should walk (live) in that light (see 1 John 1:5-7). Why would we accept such a marvelous transformation and then insist on bringing darkness with us? Let us take full advantage of the change which God has granted. Let us live in his Kingdom, renouncing the power of darkness.
By Michael E. Brooks