Sunday September 23, 2018
Title: Ephesians; 1:3 - the Trinity; the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, part 3 (COL 1:15-20).
EPH 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
EPH 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love
EPH 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
EPH 1:6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
EPH 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace,
EPH 1:8 which He lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight
EPH 1:9 He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him
EPH 1:10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fulness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things upon the earth. 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.
The eulogia is completed and then Paul moves to the thanksgiving portion of the letter or eucharistia. This word means to freely give well.
Thankfulness used in the New Testament is the Greek word eucharistia. Composed of eu = well; with charizomai = to freely give. The root word charis is grace. It is a blessed life that can freely give to others very well and to be truly thankful to God for that life.
EPH 1:15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you, and your love for all the saints,
EPH 1:16 do not cease giving thanks [verb: eucharisteo] for you, while making mention of you in my prayers;
EPH 1:17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.
EPH 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
EPH 1:19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe [vv. 3-14].
We continue in our study of the Trinity. We are currently investigating God the Father and His Fatherhood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“The eikon might be the result of direct imitation like the head of a sovereign on a coin, or it might be due to natural causes like the parental features in the child, but in any case, it was derived from its prototype.” [Lightfoot]
Derived and imitation are human words that we must use in attempting to understand, but they are not in the human sense. Derived may point to being created, but the Christ is not. He is the Creator of all things and thus eternal and preeminent above all things.
COL 1:15And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation.
He is the first-born of all creation: the rights and privileges of the first-born Son.
Our Lord is also the firstborn of every creature. Our Lord was not the first created thing to be brought into existence. The word declares the absolute pre-existence of the Son. He existed before any created thing was brought into existence. Therefore, He is not created, and being uncreated, He is eternal. Paul in the next verse says, "For by him were all things created." Instead of being the first in order of created things, He is their Creator.
It speaks also of sovereignty over all creation. The first born is the natural ruler, the acknowledged head. He is also ruler by right of the fact that He is the Creator. The words "every creature" are more properly translated "all creation." Jesus of Nazareth, the Galilean peasant, the carpenter, the friend of publicans and sinners, is the image of God, a derived copy by eternal generation of God the Father, the Creator of the universe and its sovereign Lord.
The mystery is that the Christ is God the Son by eternal generation. Birth never took place because it always was. The Son is the exact image as the Father. He is the manifestation of the hidden. Whether preincarnate or incarnate the Christ is the eternal Logos.
“First-born” -prototokos = He has the rights and privileges of the first-born Son. Christ has absolute supremacy, priority, and sovereignty.
This is not stating that the Son of God is a created being.
Since our Lord created all things, our Lord existed before all created things and is eternal. He is uncreated and fully God.
He is also the Ruler. He is the Head of all creation and the church.
Prototokos presents the Son of God as having absolute preexistence.
Verse 16 is the justification for the preceding verse “first-born of all creation.”
The first-born (prototokos) is not included in the “all creation.”
He is the Creator:
COL 1:16 For by Him all things [article included - “the all things” = the whole universe of 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.
“Heaven and earth” mean all localities and “visible and invisible” mean all essences.
“thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities” means elect angels, demons, and all mankind. The Gnostics worshipped angels as eminences from God and this statement annuls any thought of it.
Christ is the only Mediator between God and man.
"All things came to pass within the sphere of His personality and as dependent upon it ... All things, as they had their beginning in Him, tend to Him as their consummation, to depend on and serve Him. ... The false teachers maintained that the universe proceeded from God indirectly, through a succession of emanations. Christ, at best, was only one of these. As such, the universe could not find its consummation in Him." [Vincent]
As the first-born Creator He is the eternal Son of God to the Father.
Some use the term eternal eminence to try and describe a Son with no beginning. Finite words, no matter how many we string together are going to fail us. He is the preeminent Son and the Creator of all things. He is the eternal Logos and the Creator of all things.
JOH 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
JOH 1:2 He was in the beginning with God.
JOH 1:3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
We cannot look at JOH 1:1 in light of the deity of the Father and Son without going on a bit of a Greek tangent to show how the JWs have altered the plain message so as to uphold their Arianism.
JOH 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Kai theosen (imperfect indicative) ho logos. In essence, the word order and the use of the article “ho” is saying, “What God (Father) was, the Word (Jesus Christ) was.”
The definite article ho on logos means logos is the subject. That’s why it reads “the Word was God,” though the Greek word order is different, and not “God was the Word.”
The lack of a definite article keeps us from identifying the person of the Word (Jesus Christ) with the person of God (the Father).
The word order tells us that Jesus Christ has all the divine attributes that the Father has and lack of the definite article tells us that Jesus Christ is not the Father.
John’s wording is beautifully compact. It is, in fact, one of the most elegantly terse theological statements one could ever find. Martin Luther said that that the lack of an article is against Sabellianism (Modalism = the theory that there is no Trinity and that the Father, Son, and Spirit are only 3 modes of one identity. There is no distinctiveness or persons.) and the word order is against Arianism (the Son and the Spirit are not deity).
Kai ho logos en ho theos = and the Word was the God (Modalism - no Trinity, no distinctiveness)
Kai ho logos entheos = “and the Word was a god” (Arianism - JC is not God.)
Kai theosen ho logos = Trinity.
If theos and logos were both preceded by the article then the meaning would have been that the Word was completely identical with God, which is impossible if the Word was also “with God.” The Word shares the nature of being God, that’s why logos is put first.
John intends that the whole of his gospel shall be read in light of this verse. The deeds and words of Jesus are the deeds and words of God; if this is not true, the Gospel of John is blasphemous.
The climax of John’s Gospel is the meeting with Thomas.
This ties the opening of the Gospel with the close. Chapter 21 is an epilogue.
JOH 20:26And after eight days again His disciples were inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst, and said, "Peace be with you."
JOH 20:27 Then He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing."
JOH 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
JOH 20:29 Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed."
JOH 20:30 Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book;
JOH 20:31 but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
JOH 5:17 But He answered them, "My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working."
JOH 5:18 For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.