Friday September 21, 2018
Worthy of praise is God. He is the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God, and Whom we are in and He in us. He has elected, predestined, and adopted us before the foundation of the world to the praise of the glory of His grace. He has redeemed us, forgiven us, and He made known to us the mystery of His will for all time. We live in the dispensation of fulness.
What God desires for His children is not things but a life that is the life of the God/Man.
EPH 1:10 In Him
EPH 1:11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
EPH 1:12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.
EPH 1:13 In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation — having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,
EPH 1:14 who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
C.S. Lewis wrote: “It is no good asking for simple religion. After all, real things are not simple. They look simple, but they are not. The table I am sitting at looks simple: but ask a scientist to tell you what it is really made of - all about the atoms and how the light waves rebound from them and hit my eye and what they do to the optic nerve and what it does to my brain - and, of course, you find that what we call “seeing a table” lands you in mysteries and complications which you can hardly get to the end of… If we ask for something more than simplicity, it is silly then to complain that the something more is not simple.”
Devotion to Christ is simplicity itself, but the Person of Christ is anything but simple.
The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are Father and Son from all eternity, COL 1:15-20.
We have seen the Fatherhood of God over all mankind as Creator and Provider. We have seen His Fatherhood over Israel as a loving Father and provider of freedom, Law, revelation, land, nationhood, unconditional covenants to be a blessing to the whole earth, prosperity or curse, and a certain destiny.
We next turn to the Fatherhood of God the Father to God the Son and then we will move to His Fatherhood over the believer in the church.
The clearest Christology on the eternity of the Father Son relationship is in COL 1:15-20. It was written in order to refute false doctrines levied against the church as Colossae by intellectuals called Gnostics, after the Greek word for knowledge. They claimed to have a secret knowledge, which they called musterion (mystery), about God, creation, and salvation.
Gnostic heresy in Colossae forced Paul to write the clearest doctrine of the Person of Christ.
Christ is presented as God and the Creator of all things. Gnostics stated that all created things were evil.
Paul presents the created things as both heaven and earth. Paul also presents the Christ as a reconciler through the blood of His cross.
The creation had gone wrong. It hadn’t been created wrong as the Gnostics thought. The world had fallen from perfection and sinlessness, and Christ, the Son of God, reconciled the fallen to Himself.
The nature of mediation between God and creation has been perverted. Only in Christianity is this reconciliation not leaning on the works or knowledge of man.
As we have noted, the Trinity is a popular doctrine for heresy. When Paul writes to the Colossians, it is because their group had been assaulted by heresy of a Gnostic persuasion in which the dual nature of the Person of Christ is attacked.
When there is no need for the Son to act as Redeemer, the doctrines of the deity of Christ and the Trinity become superfluous. When the deity of Christ and the Trinity are rejected, the need to attain salvation through law-keeping and merited work becomes necessary.
To the Gnostic, the gospel of the apostles was too simple. Something so lofty, like attaining eternal life, should not be understood by simpletons, which the gospel of Christ easily was, and so the Gnostic marketed a far more complex gospel for the elite intellectual, containing answers to the mystery of being, secret knowledge of the whole order of reality, and claiming to know and explain things which ordinary, simple Christian faith did not answer. To them there was a religious elite who understood secrets and mysteries that Christianity was ignorant of.
Paul would write that not too many wise or noble according to the world were called.
Bishop J. B. Lightfoot says of the Epistle to the Colossians, "The doctrine of the Person of Christ is here stated with greater precision and fulness than in any other of St. Paul's epistles."
The reason for this is that the Colossian heresy in its attack upon the Person of the Lord Jesus, made it imperative that the great Apostle meet it with such precision and fulness in doctrine regarding His Person as would successfully cope with the false teachings of this system. In order to understand the full implications of the truth in Colossians, the student must first acquaint himself with this heresy.
Looking at the letter we can see that the attack on the truth came in two ways. There was an element of Judiazing and an element of Gnosticism.
Gnosticism concerned itself with creation and the obvious presence of evil in the world. This naturally posed the question of how a holy God who has all power and wisdom could create a world that contained evil.
We could go into their explanation in detail, but why? Depending on the school, different sects of Gnosticism came up with slightly different explanations, all of which remove creation from God and put it in the hands of an eminence from God, a demiurge. Emerging from God, He allowed various germinations, which in turn allowed more and the farther they were from God the less of the divine nature were in them. The last of these germinations, the farthest from God, created the world of matter that contained evil. This of course allowed for the idea that man could progress upwards through each germinated sphere and eventually arrive at God if he worked hard enough in the ways of knowledge or gnosis.
In Mormon doctrine, God the Father was once a man like us—a mortal being—and became God by going through a process or progression that culminated in his becoming exalted to Godhood. He has a physical body and cannot in his own person be omnipresent (everywhere present). However, as God, he is omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful). [from website of Institute for Religious Learning]
Knowing this, one can see why Paul credits Jesus with creation so precisely and fully in Colossians.
What emerged from the gnostic thought was two types of behavior; the ascetic who tried to tame the evil within him, and the licentious who accepted his flesh as evil and put all his energy into his immaterial nature.
COL 1:15 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.
“image” - eikon = essentially and absolutely the perfect expression and representation of the Archetype, God the Father (2CO 4:4). [Vine's Expository Dictionary]
A perfect representation cannot be a creation.
2CO 4:1 Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart,
2CO 4:2 but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
How can they have such boldness?
2CO 4:3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,
2CO 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image [eikon] of God.
In Colossians Paul writes “the image of the invisible God.”
2CO 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake.
2CO 4:6 For God, who said, "Light shall shine out of darkness," is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
When it is the Son of God who says that, preeminent and having all authority over creation and the church, then the Christian finds himself to be full of courage.
He is the image of the invisible God:
COL 1:15 And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.
“image” - eikon = in COL 1:15, "the image of the invisible God" gives the additional thought suggested by the word "invisible," that Christ is the visible representation and manifestation of God to created beings; the likeness expressed in this manifestation is involved in the essential relations in the Godhead, and is therefore unique and perfect; [Vine's Expository Dictionary]
Eikon means a likeness which implies an archetype of which it is a copy. The logos (word) is a divine being, JOH 1:1, and became flesh, JOH 1:14.
This why He is a stumbling block to some. He is not a great man, a courageous man, a hero in the sense that all men would accept. He is a raving lunatic if He is what He said He was and what the scripture says He is. A creature who took such a task upon himself to die on a Roman cross and sacrificed himself by order of God, who would then be exalted to the right hand of God would be thought courageous but actually in the end, self-serving. He would be a glory seeker. Plus, God would have made a creature to bear the burden of judgment rather than bearing anything Himself. Such a thing would exalt creation and not God. Plus, how could a creature be a proper mediator? It doesn’t work on any level.
C.S. Lewis: “Among the Jews there suddenly turns up a man who goes about talking as if He was God. He claims to forgive sins. He says He has always existed. He says He is coming to judge the world at the end of time. Now let us get this clear. Among Pantheists, like the Indians, anyone might say that he was a part of God, or one with God: there would be nothing very odd about it. But this man, since He was a Jew, could not mean that kind of God. God in their language, meant the Being outside the world Who had made it and was infinitely different from anything else. And when you have grasped that, you will see that what this man said was, quite simply, the most shocking thing that has ever been uttered by human lips… A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on the level of a man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”
He is a stumbling block to some because He is God and man in one person. He has all the attributes of deity, yet He submitted to the request or plan of God the Father.
He became a man and then, being God, called God the Father “My God.”
Should we all approach God, or rather, have God approach us and be perfectly at ease and comfortable with what we see? Should He be what we expect? Should He be what we have seen in the world and in the lives of men?
The gospel makes people uncomfortable, even those who come to believe it. God makes everyone uneasy, especially those who believe in Him. Someone that big and holy and perfect must raise fear in every man. Yet we find peace in Christ who came to us and revealed Himself.
MIC 5:2 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Too little to be among the clans of Judah,
From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
His goings forth are from long ago,
From the days of eternity."
MIC 5:3 Therefore, He will give them up until the time
When she who is in labor has borne a child.
Then the remainder of His brethren
Will return to the sons of Israel.
MIC 5:4 And He will arise and shepherd His flock
In the strength of the Lord,
In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God.
And they will remain,
Because at that time He will be great
To the ends of the earth.
MIC 5:5 And this One will be our peace.