Ephesians; 1:4 – Elected to be blameless. The church presented blameless – Col 1:22.

Class Outline:

Wednesday March 20, 2019


The mystery of Christology is great, and so many people destroy it by making Christ out to be someone that He is not. God the Son, the Son of Man; He who is before all things, He who was born of a virgin; He who created all things, He who subjected Himself to death; He who is the firstborn of all creation, He who is the firstborn from the dead; He who is all present, He who emptied Himself; He who sits at the right hand of God, He who indwells every member of His body - are all aspects wrapped up in one person - the Lord Jesus Christ.  In the end of human history when all enemies have been defeated by Him, the last of which is death, He subjects the entire kingdom to the Father, and then subjects Himself to the Father so that God may be all in all. This is the one you are in union with and this is the one that you have been elected to be like.


COL 1:15 And He is the image [eikon - exact image as a stamp from a press] of the invisible God, the first-born [prototokos - priority and sovereignty] of all creation.


COL 1:16 For by Him [the: definite article] 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.


The first strophe, vv. 15-16, in hand we move to the transitional link.


The first strophe (vv. 15-16) is recapitulated in vs. 17-18a (transitional link) in a two-fold reaffirmation of Christ’s preexistence and His creation.


COL 1:17 And He [Himself: pronoun used for emphasis] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.


COL 1:18a He [Himself] is also head of the body, the church;


Arius, the first famous man who denied the deity of Christ around 300 A.D., wrote, “there was once when He was not,” but the scripture doesn’t support this.


JOH 1:1 reads that before all creation the divine word existed. No matter how far back you can go in your imagination, there was never a time, or before time, when the Word wasn’t.


Yet, the transitional link adds something. It is not entirely a recapitulation:


“In Him all things hold together.”


The same thought is in Heb 1 - He upholds all things.


HEB 1:1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,


HEB 1:2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.


HEB 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power.


COL 1:17 And He [Himself: pronoun used for emphasis] is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.


COL 1:18a He [Himself] is also head of the body, the church;


Jesus is the sustainer of the universe and the unifying principle of its life.


Also, another addition in the transitional link is that Christ is also the head of the body, the church. Paul wrote this earlier in his ministry in 1Co 12 and then again in Rom 12 a year or two later.


The body are fellow members of one another, all united to the head. Every member, by one Spirit, were baptized into that body. As fellow-members of the body of Christ, we have mutual duties and common interests which must not be neglected. Each one of us have a spiritual gift, ministry, and effect that was sovereignly chosen for us by God, and when all three are combined, we find that each of us has a completely unique role in the body of Christ, however, we are always members of one another.


When a group of believers (two or more) function in the way that God designed the body, then great things are accomplished.


As far as the organic relationship is concerned, Christ and His body are viewed as always being together as a living entity. Christ supplies the life, the control, and the direction. He is the eyes and ears. His people are His limbs and organs, under His control, obeying His direction, performing His work. The body is animated by the Lord with resurrection life.


Paul knew as a Pharisee the rabbinical concept which pictured all humanity as members of Adam. Yet Paul through the Holy Spirit reveals the truth about membership in the human race. There is a membership that goes far beyond common humanity. There is a membership in a family, a body, a nation of priests, in which the members share something meaningful and eternal.  


Paul gives full expression to something the world never knew, even though the world possessed some vague outlines or shadows of it in the past. Brotherhood, comraderies, family ties, teammates, brothers in arms, cultures, etc. all seek for such a bond, but always come short of what they feel might be possible - a unity based on a common origin, goodness, meaning, and destiny that are all eternal. It is only found in the body of Christ. No one could have come up with Paul’s depiction in this poem unless it was revealed to them by God.


1TH 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.


1TH 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord.


1TH 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.


EPH 4:15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,


EPH 4:16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.


In fact, when we look carefully at the words spoken by the Lord to Paul, we find the seed of this truth. Jesus said to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?” Saul was persecuting Christians, yet Jesus reveals that Christians are Him.


Paul uses other pictures. He represents the church as the bride of Christ and as the building of which Jesus is the foundation or the cornerstone. These are metaphors, but the Head and the body are not metaphorical, but a reality. The terms “body of Christ” and “Head of the body” are to be taken literally and realistically.


EPH 1:22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church,


EPH 1:23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.


Christ is the origin of the church’s life and the church’s Lord. She is His body and they will be united like this forever.


Yet, since the Head and body are a real depiction, we must still be careful to not go beyond the well-defined purposes that Paul gives to the doctrine. It is dangerous to conclude things that are not depicted in the scripture. We might feel that we can because the relationship between the head and the body is real, and so we dig up more assertions about the organic relation of the head and the body from our experience and knowledge of humanity. We must not do this.


Some have thought the body to be an extension of the incarnation, which opens up the door for the thought that the church has a part in the atonement. This is not true and verging on blasphemy. The church is full of sinners. The body is animated and vitalized by Christ’s resurrection life, we are energized by His power, and we are instruments of His work on earth. One need not go any farther.


Everything and everyone owe their existence to Him and are dependent upon Him.


The pronoun used by Paul, “He Himself is” emphasizes His person. He is a He, a person, who is divine and is before all things and holds together all things.


He is the One who maintains order and keeps chaos at bay. All natural law is held by Him. All cycles that make life possible, all heavenly bodies, all physical laws that make life on this planet possible are all held together by Him.


Knowing that truth makes all the more laughable those who believe they are saving the planet by purchasing electric cars and recycling their trash. I’m all for clean air and clean rivers, but nobody is saving the planet.


Next the personal pronoun is used again for emphasis on the person of Christ as the head of the body, and then it is used again in reference to His preeminence (first place in everything).


He Himself is before all things (Creator of the world) and He Himself is the head of the church (Creator of the church) that He Himself might be preeminent in everything.


COL 1:18 He [Himself] is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning [Greek arche: originating power, author, or ruler], the first-born from the dead [the originator of a new spiritual life]; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.


The Creator of the world is the head of the church. The church was elected in Him. The emphasis in this passage is the incredible dual nature of our Lord. He is Creator, Head, Sustainer, as well as the One who died like the worst criminal.


Some of the entreaties to us in the epistles are founded upon our salvation. They emphasize what we have been delivered from and what we have been delivered to, and so we are entreated to walk in that manner. Other entreaties are founded upon the person of the Lord, as it is here. They emphasize who delivered us and our union with Him, and so we are entreated to walk in that manner.


He is the Son of God and the Son of Man. He is the origin, the seat, the authority, the sustaining power, the meaning, and the new life of all things.


The world exists due to Him and He has allowed certain sinful and evil challenges to His authority to exist within it. He is also the reason for the church, the light in the world that shines forth His gospel and His truth.


The invisible war that has raged since the fall of certain angels and was brought upon mankind at the fall of man, continues to reveal the failure of every system of evil, every system that has stood independently from God, and the success of every person and group who have bowed in humility to God and His law. When one looks at only snapshots of history, it may look like the independent systems are winning and God’s people losing, but God says, “Wait and see.”  


If He has first place in everything it should also be true that He has first place in our hearts, bodies, and lives.


He brings meaning to our lives. Every day He adds meaning from His own person, existence, and work because we are in union with Him. Every day we are motivated to follow Him because of who He is and what He has done. Every day we pray that we may not be deceived into anything else and that His kingdom be the only one established in our hearts.


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


COL 1:19: “Father” is not in the original. It reads, “For in Him He was well pleased that all the fullness should dwell.”