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

Class Outline:

Friday March 22, 2019


The first stanza:


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 transitional link:  


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;


The second stanza:


COL 1:18b 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.


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


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.


COL 1:19 - Paul knocks out Gnostic pleroma: that fulness = all God’s creations.


He alone is the life, and that life was the light of men, JOH 1:4.


Though not given the name pleroma, many forms of belief still carry the idea that all things are parts of god, that each soul is a piece of god. There are many variations. For instance, the thought that all religions are the same. In all of the religions spawned by Gnostic thought, you end up with no absolute truths, that morality is relative, meaning is interpretive, and that behavior has no bounds. There is only one fulness, one pleroma, and that is Jesus Christ. In Him are all things.


Since the time of the beginning of His ministry and up to the present day, so many lies are perpetrated about Jesus Christ.


God paints man’s future without Him as bleak. God says that all the fulness is in one person, the Lord Jesus Christ, which obviously means that without Him, without salvation in Him, everything outside of Him is empty or vain.


Christianity, unlike other religions doesn’t make you feel good about the potential of your flesh or any of your human abilities, but does quite the opposite. Christianity says that you are totally depraved and cannot do one good thing. Christianity puts us all in the same pit of depravity and says anything we do that we conclude is good is nothing but a filthy rag.


ROM 3:10 "There is none righteous, not even one;


ROM 3:11 There is none who understands,

There is none who seeks for God;


ROM 3:12 All have turned aside, together they have become useless;

There is none who does good,

There is not even one."


ROM 3:13 "Their throat is an open grave,

With their tongues they keep deceiving,"

"The poison of asps is under their lips";


ROM 3:14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness";


ROM 3:15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood,


ROM 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their paths,


ROM 3:17 And the path of peace have they not known."


ROM 3:18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."  


Man’s problem is within him. It is not any external circumstance. It is his sin. Tell him this and he will hate you.


In every generation, the world has had an inkling that there is something wrong with it, that its condition is not altogether satisfying, and that something needs to be done. They set to work to deliver themselves, to fix it, by setting to work at the outmost branches instead of the root. They provide against loss, guard against disease and war, while they ought to be asking God to deliver them from the evil within them. They don’t understand that God has to take a hatchet to the root, the sin within. And He did this at the cross of Christ. We need a new vine, which if the branches were grafted to the vine that is Christ, then new, healthy branches would spring forth.


If God suddenly fixed all the outmost problems of the world and made it pristine, ordered, and blessed, and left man in it as he is, man would spoil that world just as he has spoiled this one. We yielded to temptation and we became connected with evil of every kind. It is through the heart of man that evil did steal its way into this world. Until it is expelled from the heart, it will find its way into all we are connected with. Unless it is expelled from our souls, we will turn the happiest and most faultless inheritance into sorrow and confusion.


God teaches us the His person is our great reward. Sin is the barrier that Christ tore down. We must learn that God is more than all His gifts.


And often, the classroom that this is learned in is time - time spent in delayed expectation. We desire something added to our lives or removed and we know that God has promised it, but it takes a much longer period than we wanted or anticipated. We want the gift now, God is teaching us that He is more than the gift. Paul’s thorn in the flesh and Abraham’s expectation of son are both prime examples. God made both of them wait and both of them found reward from God where they did not expect it. They got more of God.


GEN 15:1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying,


"Do not fear, Abram,

I am a shield to you;

Your reward shall be very great."


GEN 15:2 And Abram said, "O Lord God, what wilt Thou give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?"


GEN 15:3 And Abram said, "Since Thou hast given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir."


2CO 12:7 And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me —  to keep me from exalting myself!


2CO 12:8 Concerning this I entreated the Lord three times that it might depart from me.


2CO 12:9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.


“may dwell in me” - Greek: “may spread like a tent over me.”


ROM 13:14

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.


2CO 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses [thorns, whatever they may be], with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.


When you tell a man or a group that the problem with them is not their leaders or their policies but their individual sin, they grab their torches and pitchforks and storm at you. The problem with mankind is simple, God says, none of you are righteous. “In Adam all die.”


ROM 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned


Simple. Yet, the solution was not so simple. Simple for us to attain since God did all the work, but not simple to accomplish. You tell me how simple it is for God to take on a human nature and die in the judgement for the sins of the world.


ROM 5:15 But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.


Jesus, the Son of God and Son of David, had the only perfect flesh, which He sacrificed for us. “This is My body, which is given for you.”


Arrogant man cannot accept this, and so Gnosticism appeals to them. It appeals to their pride, intellectually and physically.


Paul states clearly the incredible and transcendent truth about Jesus Christ. He is the exact image of the invisible God and sovereign of all, vs. 15. He is the creator of all things, before all things, and the sustainer of all things, vv. 16-17. He is the head of the body, the first-born from the dead, the preeminent one, and unlike some angelic mediator who could not reconcile man, being neither human nor divine, but Jesus, God and creator, is also a man who fully reconciled all things to Himself.


And so, the second stanza in the Christ hymn:


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


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


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 divine would have to suffer for mankind.


Reconcile - apokatalasso (katalasso = reconcile with apo = from): with apo there is a sense of being reconciled “back” to harmony with God.


God is unity. We are called to unity. The blood of Christ makes the reconciliation of rebellious man back into unity and harmony of God possible.


Likewise, the curse placed on the material universe because of sin, will one day be removed through that same precious blood.


God’s justice was satisfied at the cross. Man is redeemed and set free into a relationship with God through faith. Redemption is the manward side of the cross and propitiation is the Godward side. Between them is reconciliation.


So now, the narrative turns to us. From vs. 13 it has been all about the Lord’s deity, humanity, and greatness of sacrifice, and now these truths concerning the Lord turn to you and me.


COL 1:21 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds,


Paul had never been to Colossae. He had never met any one of them. But yet, he knew it to be true that they were not only alienated (separated from God) but that they were hostile in mind and engaged in evil deeds. None of us could say that Christ saved us because we were a little closer to heaven then the rest.


COL 1:22 yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him [Greek: in His sight] holy and blameless [amomos] and beyond reproach —