Monday, January 23, 2017

Colossians 1:17



The next two distinguishing identifying marks of Jesus’ superiority to any other person who has ever lived that Paul makes are in this short verse. Paul’s fifth statement tells us that all fullness dwells in the incarnate Son[1]. Christ existed prior to Creation. He is the great “I Am” (John 8:58) As has been said, “The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New Testament.”[2]

That brings up the sixth identifying mark, Christ is the personal sustainer and preserver of all Creation. The Greek word used here is sunistemi and can mean to permanently frame, to be compact.[3] He holds everything together, he maintains creation. Dr. J. Vernon McGee says “He is the super glue of the universe.”[4] We have a cosmos and not a chaos because He maintains all harmony and order. Without Christ, all things would disintegrate. We see this echoed in Hebrews 1:3 (HCSB), “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact expression of His nature, sustaining all things by His powerful word.”

Prayer: Gracious and Holy Lord, may I praise and worship You today. Jesus, You are the sustainer and preserver of all Creation. Without You we would not exist, and without You we could not continue to exist. Thank You for holding it all together. I worship You for Who You are. Amen.

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[1] See Colossians 2:9. 
[2] Falwell, Jerry, ed. Liberty Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. Page 2457. 
[3] Perschbacher, Wesley J., ed. The New Analytical Greek Lexicon. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 1990. Page 395, and W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 124. 
[4] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. V vols. Page 340.




Sunday, January 22, 2017

Colossians 1:16


The next identifying statement of Paul about Jesus is that all things were created by Him. This alone should clear up the confusion over whether He is created or the Creator. If all things are created by Him, then He couldn’t have been created. This is followed with the statement that all things were created for Him.

We see three prepositions that tell us the entire story. “By him” gives us the divine source of Creation – Jesus Christ. When one considers the Genesis account of Creation, it states that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen. 1:1, ASV). “Through him” gives us the divine agent of Creation. John 1:3 tells us that there was nothing created without Him. And, finally “for him” speaks of the purpose: for His use and Glory.

In this verse, there is a difference in the Greek syntax of the word translated “created.” The Greek word kitzo in its root form means to reduce from a state of disorder, to call into being, to create or call into individual existence.[1] What is important in this place is that the tense of that is translated in the first created is aorist which generally is translated in the past tense – in this case it is referring to the act of creation. The second use of the word created is in the perfect tense, which describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated. This is referencing the enduring result of the creative act.[2] We have a Christ-centric universe, thus we have a complete denial of the Gnostic philosophy infiltrating the Colossian Church.   


We have an example of Synonymia in this passage. This is the repetition of words similar in sense, but different in sound and origin. The use of this technique is for the purpose of enhancing the force and fire of the passage.[3]

Prayer: God of all Creation, You are wonderful, You are marvelous, You are beyond any description we can place upon You. For this reason, I bow humbly and praise Your Holy Name today. Amen. 


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[1] Perschbacher, Wesley J., ed. The New Analytical Greek Lexicon. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc, 1990. Page 250. 
[2] Bruce, F. F. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Eerdman's Publishing Co, 1984. Pages 64, footnote 118.
[3] Bullinger, E. W. Figures of Speech used in the Bible. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1968. Page 324, 337.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Colossian 1:15


Following his greeting and prayer, Paul moves into a discussion on the pre-eminence of Christ in the areas of Creation, Redemption, and the Church. Since Paul is writing under the influence of the Holy Spirit and is developing this concept of the centrality of Christ in the Church, it is a viable set of ideas that he delves into. Paul is working to emphasize to the Colossians the headship of Jesus over the Church. So, he goes back to the very beginning of all things – Creation.

Paul in this letter is dealing with the heresies of the Gnostic beliefs slipping into the Colossian Church. They did not believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, and thus Paul is going to develop a logical set of arguments against this false belief. In the following verse, Paul provides us with nine distinguishing identifying marks of Jesus’ superiority to any other person who has ever lived.

Paul starts by telling us that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. The word he uses here, eikon, and means image or likeness. This is more than just a representation, it is a manifestation or revelation.[1] This is a different word than what he used in letter tot eh Philippians where he spoke of Jesus “existing in the form of God” (2:6 ASV). The word in the Philippian letter was morphe, and this carries the meaning of having the special or characteristic features, thus the nature and character of God in this passage.[2]

Jesus was born flesh (John 1:14) and thus could show us the invisible (Greek aoratos – “not visible”) God. He was God and thus could robe Himself in flesh and give us the manifestation or revelation of the One who is invisible (Heb. 11:27). Only because Jesus is God, could He then reveal the invisible God. Jesus was the fullness of the logos that John spoke about in the beginning of the Gospel bearing his name.

The second identifying mark he writes about, is that Jesus is the firstborn (Greek prototokos) of all creation. That reveals His relationship to the Father in the Godhead. “Firstborn” indicates His priority before all Creation.

Nowhere does the Scriptures teach that Jesus Christ had His beginning at Bethlehem. Micah 5:2 prophesies His being born at Bethlehem, but it clarifies it with the statement that His “goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. (ASV)” Isaiah 9:6 (ASV) tells us “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given", a child is born, but a son is given – in other words, He came out of eternity and took on humanity.

The point here is His pre-existence from all eternity, second, His supremacy of position over Creation, and finally, His being recognized as Messiah.[3]

Prayer: I give thanks that a child was born in Bethlehem, the eternal, everlasting Son of God, given for my redemption. Father, Your great love shines forth because of what lengths You went to secure my salvation. You are worthy of all praise and worship. May I never forget, nor take for granted this so-great salvation. Amen.

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[1] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 318. 
[2] George Wigram, New Englishman’s Greek-English Concordance & Lexicon (Lafayette, Indiana: Sovereign Grace Publishers, 1982). Page 580. And, W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 251. 
[3] Psalm 89:27 states – “I also will make him my first-born, The highest of the kings of the earth.” This is understood as referring to the Messiah.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Colossians 1:14



We now read of the final two points of thanksgiving in Paul’s prayer for the Colossians. Paul says that the believer has an apolutrosi, or redemption through Jesus Christ. The word means a liberation procured by the payment of a ransom, and thus implies again that the believer was under bondage or slavery to someone. The King James Version also included the words (through His blood), however, this is not included in any of the best manuscripts. It is believed to have added because this mirrors Ephesians 1:7.[1] The point is made in this letter in 1:20. The Scriptures and Paul make it clear that our redemption comes from the grace of God, by the shed blood of our Savior Jesus. We should give thanks for this marvelous provision for any and all who will freely receive.

The logical results of redemption is the forgiveness of our sins. Forgiveness (Greek aphesis) denotes release from bondage or imprisonment, it is the pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), the remission of the penalty one would have.[2] This is the consequences of salvation. The typical Pauline way of writing about this is generally the use of justification. However, we also find this terminology mirrored in Ephesians 1:7. Possibly this points to a primitive form of a confession of faith used at the time that Paul was writing.[3]

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[1] See also Romans 3:24 – 25, where the believers are said to be freely justified by the grace of God. 
[2] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 251. 
[3] Bruce, F. F. The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians. Grand Rapids: Eerdman's Publishing Co, 1984. Pages 54.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Colossians 1:13


In this verse, we find two more of the items of thanksgiving that Paul includes in his continuous prayer for the Colossian believers. The first is that of being rescued from Satan.

The inference is that the Colossians were held captive at one time. God delivered them (and in turn us) being under the tyrannical control of Satan’s domain. The word translated from the Greek as darkness (skotos) carries the image of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell. Paul in Ephesians 2:1 says that we were dead in trespasses and sins, going the way of the world. Here he tells us that God came in and delivered us from the consequences of our natural life. It is a symbol of ignorance, falsehood, and sin.[1]

The word authority (Greek exousia) in this instance means the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed), in this instance that of Satan and his domain – the kingdom of darkness. Paul builds upon this image of the kingdom of darkness in his letter to the Ephesians in chapter 6 verse 12. He refers to Satan as being the prince of the power of the air in Ephesians 2:2.

So, giving thanks that they are liberated from the control and inheritance of misery from this domain, he continues on to the third statement of thanksgiving, that the Colossian believers were not only delivered from that kingdom, but transferred into Christ’s kingdom. The Greek word methistemi means to change of remove.[2] Because of the sacrifice that Christ made on their behalf, the believers in Colossae had been transported, transplanted, translated, and transferred from the control of Satan to the control of Jesus Christ. 

The Son is the object of God’s love (agape) is Jesus Christ. Paul is making a contrast to the Gnostics views of the systems they elevated for one to reach. He is thanking God that we have been delivered not only out of the bondage of slavery to sin and Satan, but have been moved into the glorious kingdom of the Messiah. When a person receives Christ, they are converted into a colonist and citizen of a new kingdom. We cannot build this kingdom, it is only possible when one opens their heart and receives Christ as their Savior. At that point, we are transferred into this kingdom relationship.[3]

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[1] Falwell, Jerry, ed. Liberty Bible Commentary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. Page 2456. 
[2] W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger and William White, Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1996). Page 640. 
[3] McGee, J. Vernon. Thru the Bible. Vol. V. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983. Page 337.


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