Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Colossians 1:20

Paul is now going to show us in more detail the preeminence of Christ in two more areas, His objective work of redemption, and His subjective work in the church. The word objective here means that which is the object or goal of one's efforts or actions. The word subjective then means pertaining to or characteristic of an entity.

Paul writes that the goal of Christ being preeminent is found in His redemption. The good pleasure of the Father is that everything be reconciled by Jesus Christ. The Greek word used here, apokatallasso, can be translated to reconcile completely, or to change from one condition to another.[1] Ephesians 1:10[2] speaks to the truth that it is God’s eternal purpose that all things be summed up in Christ.

If, in fact, everything was created by Christ (see 1:16 above), and now everything needs to be reconciled, then something must have happened to estrange the created from the Creator. Paul addresses this in Romans 8:19 – 23. Because of sin, the created has been divided from the Creator. This conflict demands to be replaced by peace. The way that peace can be achieved is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Paul goes on to say that this includes those things on earth and in heaven. Some have tried to take this statement to mean a universal final salvation for everyone and everything.[3] Paul tells the Philippian believers that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:10 – 11 UASV).[4] Paul goes on to develop this in the next two verses.

Prayer: Jesus, may I ever be aware of Your Preeminence over all Creation. You are the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. You are the One who deserves first place in my heart, life, my all. I surrender to You today, use me as You see fit. Amen.

[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 514. 
[2] “unto a dispensation of the fulness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things upon the earth; in him, I say,” F.F.Bruce speaks of this verse being a commentary on Col. 1:16 – in other words everything was created with a view toward Christ. 
[3] For more on this, see the Bible Difficulties at the end of the chapter. 
[4] See the commentary of these two verses in CPH’s Commentary on the Book of Philippians. Cambridge: Christian Publishing House, 2014.

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