Ephesians; 1:3 – the Trinity; the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, part 6 (Col 1:15-20).

Class Outline:

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Following the blessedness of God and His blessings freely given to us in grace, Paul writes of thanksgiving to God. Not long ago we spoke of giving thanks to God first thing in the morning. I’d like you to ask yourself if you do that, and if not, why. You represent yourself before God, you alone determine your worship of Him. I only ask because I shepherd this flock.


Paul then writes of the saving grace of God. He summarizes our past, what we have been delivered from and how the grace of God saved us.


EPH 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,


EPH 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.


EPH 2:3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.


EPH 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,


EPH 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),


EPH 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,


EPH 2:7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.


EPH 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;


The subject of verse 8 is “you all” yet charis (dative of cause) is listed first in the sentence in order to emphasize it - “on the basis of grace are you all saved...”


EPH 2:9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.


EPH 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.


COL 1:15 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.


COL 1:16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —  all things have been created by Him and for Him.


COL 1:17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.


COL 1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.


Christ is: the image of the invisible God, first-born of all creation, Creator, before all things, Head of the church, the Originator, first-born from the dead, preeminent …


He is the fullness: totality of divine powers and attributes.


COL 1:19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him,


“Father” is not in the original but it is implied. It could be translated “because in Him God was well-pleased that all the fulness should dwell.”


The fulness is the totality of divine powers and attributes.


Pleroma (fulness) was a word that the Gnostics used often. They used it as a term for the sum-total of divine power and attribute, but believed it was distributed, diluted, transformed, and darkened by the various eminences from God, of which they believed Jesus to be. They would have ranked Jesus amongst the images that possessed some watered down and imperfect pleroma. In their scheme one had to climb through the various spheres of the eminences to get closer to the fulness. Paul uses this word and ascribes it solely to Jesus Christ. He can mean nothing else than that Jesus is God.


The verb indicates a permanent dwelling. All the fulness of deity permanently indwelled Him.


His is the Reconciler:


COL 1:20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.


"The false teachers aimed at effecting a partial reconciliation between God and man through the interposition of angelic mediators. The apostle speaks of an absolute and complete reconciliation of universal nature to God, effected through the mediation of the Incarnate Word. Their mediators were ineffective, because they were neither human nor divine. It was necessary that in Him all the plenitude of the Godhead should dwell. It was necessary also that He should be born into the world and should suffer for man." [Lightfoot]


Think of all the religions that have borrowed from the idea of “partial reconciliation” and built religions upon it. How many of them contain a partial reconciliation with God in which man has to accomplish the rest of it? Gnosticism and the religions it spawned are a hodgepodge of human thought. In every case the deity of Christ is rejected and that all of salvation is not in Him alone.


It is important to note the difference between the early Christian conception of eternal life and the widespread Hellenistic assumption of the immortality of the soul. Although the Bible speaks, like classical paganism, of man as having a soul as well as a body, it does not see him as consisting essentially of a soul imprisoned in a fleshly body, as Platonism and much Hellenistic spirituality did. It sees him as a unity of soul and body. Remember that the body that the resurrected Christ occupied was the one that was placed in the tomb.


The great creeds of Christianity speak of the resurrection “of the body” (Apostle’s Creed) or “of the dead” (Nicene Creed), not of the immortality of the soul. Because Christianity saw the human being as a soul-body unity, when it tried to understand the meaning of God becoming a man in Christ, it ultimately had to acknowledge that Christ possesses a human soul as well as mere human flesh.


Those from the Hellenistic world who did not recognize man as essentially a soul-body unity, but rather as a spirit temporarily embodied in flesh, found this interpretation of Jesus unattractive, and frequently diminished His full humanity, sometimes denying it all together.


The Reconciler made peace between holy God and sinful man.


COL 1:20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.


To make peace means to bind together. The monumental sacrifice of Christ bound together Holy God and sinful man.


The Son of God/Son of Man made peace through the blood of His Cross. That is, through His substitutionary death He satisfied completely all the claims which the law of God had against us.


We as lost sinners violated that law. The justice of God demanded that the penalty, death, be paid. But God in His love desired to save those who would come to Him in faith to appropriate salvation. So, He in the Person of His Son, Jesus of Nazareth, stepped down from His judgment throne to take upon Himself at Calvary your sin and mine, your penalty and mine. God's law being satisfied, He is now free to righteously bestow mercy.


 [An excerpt from The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde]

With midnight always in one's heart, 

And twilight in one's cell, 

We turn the crank, or tear the rope, 

Each in his separate Hell, 

And the silence is more awful far 

Than the sound of a brazen bell. 


And never a human voice comes near 

To speak a gentle word: 

And the eye that watches through the door 

Is pitiless and hard: 

And by all forgot, we rot and rot, 

With soul and body marred. 


And thus we rust Life's iron chain 

Degraded and alone: 

And some men curse, and some men weep, 

And some men make no moan: 

But God's eternal Laws are kind 

And break the heart of stone. 


And every human heart that breaks, 

In prison-cell or yard, 

Is as that broken box that gave 

Its treasure to the Lord, 

And filled the unclean leper's house 

With the scent of costliest nard. 


Ah! happy they whose hearts can break 

And peace of pardon win! 

How else may man make straight his plan 

And cleanse his soul from Sin? 

How else but through a broken heart 

May Lord Christ enter in? 


And he of the swollen purple throat, 

And the stark and staring eyes, 

Waits for the holy hands that took 

The Thief to Paradise; 

And a broken and a contrite heart 

The Lord will not despise. 


The man in red who reads the Law 

Gave him three weeks of life, 

Three little weeks in which to heal 

His soul of his soul's strife, 

And cleanse from every blot of blood 

The hand that held the knife. 


And with tears of blood he cleansed the hand, 

The hand that held the steel: 

For only blood can wipe out blood, 

And only tears can heal: 

And the crimson stain that was of Cain 

Became Christ's snow-white seal. 


“The Lord said to my Lord” is the eternity of the Father and the Son; a mystery of mysteries.


MAT 22:41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question,


MAT 22:42 saying, "What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He?" They said to Him, "The son of David."


MAT 22:43 He said to them, "Then how does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying,


MAT 22:44 'The Lord [Yavah] said to my Lord [Adonai],

"Sit at My right hand,

Until I put Thine enemies beneath Thy feet"'?


MAT 22:45 "If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his son?" 


MAT 22:46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.


“The Lord said to my Lord” is the eternity of the Father and the Son; a mystery of mysteries.