Jesus By the Book

ImageWho Jesus is and what he has done is not just an issue, it is the issue. This issue carries eternal weight. The eternal state of our souls is dependent upon the conclusion that we come to concerning Jesus. With so much hanging in the balance, have we been left to our own devices to figure things out? The answer is no, we have not. Almighty God in His Sovereign wisdom and power has given us the Scriptures. We can see clearly the person and work of Christ only through the lens of the Scriptures. There is one specific text that I would like to draw our attention to.

“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 ESV)

Jesus is God
The Spirit-inspired words of the apostle Paul in the book of Colossians gives us a view of Jesus that clearly reveal 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 is 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 100% God and 100% man all 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 breaks away with 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 structures that exist that are physical and there are others that are spiritual but both the visible and invisible have their origin in the creative power of God the Son, Jesus the Creator. All things were not just created through him but all things were 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, all the way down to the smallest molecule. This is a far cry from the social revolutionary that many claim him to have been.

Jesus the Head of the Church
The Church is not an organization, denomination, or a building. The Church is the community of those called out by God and appointed to salvation through God’s sovereign grace. The bible describes the Church in various ways but here in the book 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 the Lord himself when he told his disciples that he is the vine and apart from him they could not do anything. (John15:1-5)

Jesus the Firstborn from the Dead
The term firstborn has been misinterpreted and taken out of context to deny the deity of Jesus. Concerning this term the Holman Concise Bible Commentary states that, “The 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.” In the early fourth century there was the heresy of Arianism, which denied the eternal and divine nature of Jesus. This erroneous doctrine is still adhered to today by such groups 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. (1John 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 the Reconciler
Finally, from the text we discover that God was pleased to reconcile all things to himself and make peace through the atoning work of Jesus on the cross. Due to sin we were separated from God, 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 him. The Christian abides in a righteousness not achieved through the hard work of human effort but the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ alone. We are no longer his enemies, 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.

3 thoughts on “Jesus By the Book

  1. So it all comes down to passing the Jesus Quiz; put the correct marks in the box beside a statement about Jesus and we get to go to heaven. Fail the Jesus Quiz and God will hurt you forever!

    I wonder when the theology of grace was replaced with the theology of work–the theology of right answers?

  2. I did not mean for my post to come across with a negative tone and I am sorry that you took it that way. In our current culture there are so many distortions as to who Jesus is and what he accomplished in order to secure our eternal salvation. The purpose of my post was to direct attention to the Scriptures and what they declare concerning the person and work of Christ. I believe that we are saved by grace through faith. If the Jesus of the Bible is not the object of our faith and obedience we are still in our sins and the wrath of God remains on us. Both Jesus and John the Baptist testified to this. (John 3:14-18, 35-36)

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