The Church Christian Living

Jesus By the Book

Earon James

Who Jesus is and what he has done is not just an issue, it is the issue. This issue carries eternal weight, as the eternal state of our souls depends upon the conclusion that we come to concerning Jesus. With so much hanging in the balance, do we find that we have been left to our own devices to understand Jesus? Thankfully we have not, since our almighty God in his sovereign wisdom and power has given us the Scriptures. Through the lens of the Scriptures, we can see clearly the person and work of Christ, as evidenced through this passage found in Colossians:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Colossians 1:15-22).

Jesus is God

The Spirit-inspired words of the apostle Paul in the book of Colossians give us a view of Jesus that clearly reveals his deity and power. Jesus is said to be the visible image of the invisible God. This means that Jesus was not just a good teacher. He was the divine representation of God in the flesh. This is what is known as the incarnation of God. God the Son became a very real man and lived a very real life here on earth. He is both 100 percent God and 100 percent man at the same time. The technical term that theologians use to describe this is “hypostatic union” or, as Shai Linne so eloquently said, “two-hundred percents”. This is a complete break from the sanitized view of Christ that renders him simply human.

Jesus is Creator

The text goes on to reveal that Jesus is the Creator of everything seen and unseen. Let that sink in for a moment. There are existing structures that are physical and there are others that are spiritual, but both these visible and invisible things have their origin in the creative power of God the Son, Jesus the Creator. Not only was everything created through him; it was also created for him.  There have been many discoveries pertaining to the vastness of our universe. Our galaxy alone is estimated to have at least 100 billion stars and may have up to 400 billion. These figures are astronomical. All of this and more is being actively sustained by Jesus, down to the smallest molecule. This is a far cry from Jesus as just a social revolutionary, as many claim him to have been.

Jesus is the Head of the Church

The Church is not an organization, denomination, or building.  The Church is the community of those called by God and appointed to salvation through God’s sovereign grace. The Bible describes the Church in various ways, but here in Colossians it is described as the body and Christ as the head of the body. Just as a physical body is lifeless apart from the head, so is the Church lifeless apart from union with Christ. The Church is under the full weight of Jesus’ authority. We are his redeemed possession, purchased by his sinless blood. No one said it better than Jesus himself when he told his disciples that he is the vine and apart from him they could do nothing (John 15:1-5).

Jesus is the Firstborn from the Dead

The term “firstborn” has often been misinterpreted and taken out of context to deny the deity of Jesus. Concerning this term, the Holman Concise Bible Commentary states that “[t]he term ‘firstborn’ stresses uniqueness and sovereignty rather than priority in time. Jesus is the ‘firstborn’ because He is the agent of creation and the heir of creation.” The heresy of Arianism originated in the early fourth century and denied the eternal and divine nature of Jesus. This erroneous doctrine is still adhered to today by groups such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses. The Scriptures affirm that Jesus is God with stark clarity and frequency.

Through his resurrection, Jesus is the progenitor of a new race. This means that all of those who have been saved will share in his glorious resurrection. John said that we don’t know exactly what we shall become, but we do know that when we see him we shall be like him (1 John 3:2). We have a glorious future that awaits us, whereby we will put off corruption and mortality and take on incorruption and immortality (1 Corinthians 15:5-58). This is made possible only through the resurrection of Christ. He was alive; he died; but now he is alive forevermore (Revelation 1:17-18).

Jesus is the Reconciler

Finally, we discover from the text that God was pleased to reconcile all things to himself and make peace through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. We were separated from God due to our sin, by nature his enemies, and justly deserved his wrath. In an act of selfless love and mercy, Jesus died as our substitute, taking upon himself the punishment that we deserved. Due to the perfect all-sufficient work of Christ, he presents his elect as holy and without blame before God. The Christian abides in a righteousness not achieved through the hard work of human effort, but instead through the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ alone. We are no longer his enemies, since we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:1). We don’t get to define God; he defines us. The Scriptures leave us no room for individual interpretation or middle ground concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Is your view of Christ in line with the Christ revealed in the Scriptures?

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