Paul is contrasting the two kingdoms that exist spiritually. Perhaps he is reminding the Colossians that there is not an area in which the two can be mixed. There is a kingdom marked by darkness and its ruler hates his own subjects; there is a kingdom marked by light and its Ruler loves his subjects. Reference to the Ruler’s subjects leads on to the question as to how he has obtained them and what actions had to be performed before they could enter his kingdom. What had to be done before they could be transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of light? Paul gives two answers.
First, there had to be the act of redemption. Redemption means that the subjects of King Jesus were slaves of sin in the dark kingdom. In a sense, the spiritual cavern in which they lived is a divinely-imposed prison for rebels against the God of heaven. They are there because they had broken his laws and were facing eternal punishment as a consequence. If they were going to be delivered, a ransom price had to be paid. Jesus paid the penalty when he suffered on the cross and therefore redeemed his people. That activity took place decades before the Colossians heard about it. The story of the redeeming action of Jesus was part of the gospel that they believed when they trusted in him for the first time.
Second, when they trusted in him, they experienced the second action that was necessary before entrance into the kingdom of Jesus would take place. They had to be pardoned all their sins, and this forgiveness was given freely and fully when they trusted in Jesus. The Father pardoned them and then transferred them into the kingdom of Jesus.
This transfer is a paternal action. When the Father put the Colossian believers into the kingdom of Jesus, he placed them into his family – they had become his sons. Instead of being imprisoned slaves, they were now liberated sons. Of course, they are still the subjects of Jesus, but they are royal subjects. We serve the king as redeemed, forgiven sons of the Father.
This transfer is a permanent action; it can never be repealed. While there is a road into the kingdom of Jesus, there is not a road out of it. A subject in the kingdom of grace is as secure as one in the kingdom of glory.