Ephesians; 1:4 – Elected to be blameless. The church presented blameless – Col 1:22
Wednesday March 6, 2019
Ephesians; 1:4 – Elected to be blameless. The church presented blameless – Col 1:22
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.
We have been seeing an awful lot that as elected believers we have no other choice but to live life in holiness and blamelessness; in Christlikeness.
It is something misunderstood, and without precedent in any other aspect of our world, that we have a choice to do it, but we have to do it. In the world it is one or the other. I have a choice of what to eat, but I have no choice that I must eat or I will die. The elect must live the life of Christ, but they can choose not to. They suffer greatly, but still it is their choice.
The problem is faith and the vision that faith gives. Who among the body of Christ, all of them elect, know in their heart that they must be Christlike. They know that they must be Christlike just as much as they know they have to eat.
Imagine a man who says he’s a mountain climber, but every time he gets the base of a mountain, he doubts he can climb it without falling to his death, and so he never climbs a mountain.
“Elected that we should be holy and blameless.” It is amazing what you can do when you have to.
I’ve adapted this next part from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity from his chapter on sexual morality. He was writing about chastity, whereas I am writing about holiness in all things, of which chastity is one.
“Some Christians don’t attempt Christian holiness and blamelessness as it is revealed in the pages of the NT because they think (before trying) that it is impossible. But when a thing has to be attempted, one must never think about possibility or impossibility. Not only in examinations (taking mandatory tests in school) but in war, in mountain climbing, in learning to skate, or swim, or ride a bicycle, even in fastening a stiff collar with cold fingers, people quite often do what seemed impossible before they did it. It is wonderful what you can do when you have to.”
No Christian is ever going to know about Christ’s life of holiness and blamelessness unless he understands that he must live it, and that no matter how many times he falls down, he gets back up, confesses and repents what he must, and gets at it again. Just like learning to ride a bike, there will be times of great discouragement, times when you think you have it and you don’t, times when you are sure you want to give up; but you can’t. You know you can’t. You know that you cannot be a real kid in a neighborhood full of kids riding bikes and not learn to ride one. You know that you cannot be elect and not live in a manner of the elect. You will not stop, God who is in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure, promises you that it will be a reality.
Col 1:22 contains the word amomos.
The initial part of this passage contains the realities of Jesus Christ. Sometimes, Christians get more excited for doctrines that pertain to their personal lives. Teachings on suffering, perseverance, faith, etc. from the Bible that pertain to their present circumstance is worthy of attention. Yet here, we have nothing to do with you and everything to do with the Lord Jesus Christ. Several times in the NT we are told that we must know Him. In Eph 4 we are told that we are to come to the full knowledge of Him. Yet, some Christians may find it easier to somewhat tune out the theology of Christ, or Christology. I warn you not to do it, but to in fact listen and learn intently, for all things are in Him, and through Him, and for Him.
Col 1:13 For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
Col 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The imagery of vv. 13-14 is that of enslaved people being set free through payment (redemption) and being transferred en masse to the kingdom of the Son. Every believer is now and forever more a member of His kingdom. It is much like the Exodus being led out of Egypt.
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.
The attack from Gnosticism, which continued through all church history, is that Jesus was a created being. Paul is refuting that here. He is the creator of all things and so is before all things. As the image of God, He is eternal. He is God the Word, Joh 1:1, and He is the Word become flesh, Joh 1:14.
Paul calls Him first-born, as does John and the writer of Hebrews, in refuting Gnosticism that placed Jesus in the order of divine eminences or aeons. Paul uses prototokos, not to say that He was the first created, but that He is first above or sovereign over creation, as he continues to reveal in this sentence. Both eikon and prototokos were words used by Gnostics in their theological system, and Paul is cleverly reusing them here to prove the deity of Christ. The Gnostics also frequently used pleroma (“fullness”) which Paul will also apply to Christ.
“For by Him ‘the’ all things were created,” The definite article points to everything created.
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.
It doesn’t say He created “the rest of the things” after He was created. He created all things. These plain words cannot be interpreted any other way.
The opening chapter of Hebrews is definitive:
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.
If God had remained silent, we all would be in the dark about Him, but He has revealed Himself, in the OT in many ways and manners, but in these last days, through His Son.
“world” is aionas, which means ages. It certainly refers to the entire material universe, but it also refers to time. He made the beginning of time and space and matter, and all out of nothing. Time and ages are the means by which God reveals His plan and program.
Heb 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory [Shechinah glory] and the exact representation [Greek: charakter – the very character of God’s substance] of His nature, and upholds [maintains] all things by the word [spoken word] of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Charakter (Heb 1:3) was used of the engraving tool from which the coin die was made. Like eikon (Col 1:15) was the image made from the die. Beautiful imagery.
“Upholds” is a word meaning to maintain, but as we know, He will not maintain the present world forever. The verb is in the present tense meaning that He is always maintaining and carrying the universe onward, but He is carrying it to a specific goal. All creation has a specific purpose in the program of God and the Lord Jesus is carrying it towards that purpose. We can look at a world gone wrong, but everything is right on track. The opposition and hatred of God and His truth cannot stop this train. No matter what happens in our own lives, we can be, by faith, and in our souls, right on board with the purposes of God.
In vv. 2-3, seven statements about Christ:
Heir of all things.
He made the ages.
He is the Shechinah glory.
Very image of God’s substance.
Maintains all things by the word of His power.
He made purification of sins.
He sat down at the right hand of God.
Heb 1:4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
Now the author will provide seven citations from the Old Testament in order to prove that He is superior to angels by revealing that the Man Jesus is deity.
Angels were mediators in the OT. The Son of God takes on humanity and is the Mediator of the NT and forever more. So Jesus is shown to be superior to angels.
Moses led Israel. He was lifted above them as their leader, guide, and Moses spoke to God on their behalf, and God spoke to Moses the message for the people. Moses was an intermediary, but he was a sinner just like the rest. When the Son of God appeared, it was not as a man, but as the Angel of the Lord. He wasn’t an angel, nor did He become an angel, but manifested Himself as one, which is called a theophany or angelophany. He would not appear as a man until He became a Man in true nature. Thus, in the NT was have the union of God and Man in one person, the Lord Jesus Christ.
No individual angel was called a son. Angels were called the sons of God collectively. Even in Israel, no individual was called a son of God. The nation was called son as a collective, but not an individual. Yet, the Son of God becomes the Son of Man by taking humanity upon Himself.
Heb 1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say,
"Thou art My Son, Today I have begotten Thee"? [Psa 2:7]
"I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me"? [2Sa 7:14]
The Son of God is eternally begotten, but in Psa 2:7, He is begotten to kingly dignity at His resurrection.
The emphasis is not in entrance into a life, but entrance into an office or position.
that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm,' Thou art My Son; today I have begotten Thee.'
who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord
But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.
I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to Me, 'Thou art My Son,
Today I have begotten Thee.
Such a title was never given to an angel, but it is the resurrected Christ.
Heb 1:6 And when He again brings the first-born into the world [possibly meaning the second coming], He says,
" And let all the angels of God worship Him." [Psa 97:7]
Psa 97 is addressed to Yavah.
Heb 1:7 And of the angels He says,
"Who makes His angels winds, And His ministers a flame of fire." [Psa 104:4 LXX]
Heb 1:8 But of the Son He says,
"Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.
Heb 1:9 "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee With the oil of gladness above Thy companions." [Psa 45:7-8]
Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit, the source of joy to God’s servants, as was the Son of Man; God the Son in His humanity.
His companions are the saved.
In vv. 10-12, the writer quotes his sixth passage, Psa 102:25-27, which, as in all the other passages, refer to Yavah.
Heb 1:10 And,
"Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the works of Thy hands;
Heb 1:11 They will perish, but Thou remainest; And they all will become old as a garment,
Heb 1:12 And as a mantle Thou wilt roll them up; As a garment they will also be changed. But Thou art the same, And Thy years will not come to an end."
And to our seventh quote, we come to Psa 110:1.
Heb 1:13 But to which of the angels has He ever said,
"Sit at My right hand, Until I make Thine enemies A footstool for Thy feet"?
Christ being seated reveals His work is finished. In contrast, the angels are still busy doing their work.
Heb 1:14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?