Without question by far, the most researched and noted Person in history is Jesus Christ. Even internet search engines reflect this, with Christ receiving nearly double the amount of monthly searches over the nearest competitor. It is estimated that of the over one hundred million books ever written, forty percent of them were written about the Son of God. Though there are a lot of ideas about the historical Jesus, we can fully depend upon the Scriptures to give us the most reliable information. Who exactly was Jesus Christ and why did He come? When we get to the mystery Paul reveals later in this Epistle, the answers to these questions have paramount implications.
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
We note Paul offering thanks again, specifically for God including us in His richest blessings. It begins by being thankful "unto the Father" for all "his dear Son" has accomplished for us through "redemption" and for making us "partakers of the inheritance" as heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). Everything we receive from the Father of Lights, the Giver of all good and perfect gifts, includes having been "delivered... from the power of darkness". Verse 13 also serves to further define conversion or our being "translated" from darkness to light. When we turn ourselves away from our old life "of darkness" towards the "light", it leads us in the direction of "the kingdom". We owe it all to Christ Who redeemed us "through his blood" for "the forgiveness of sins".
The only way out from under the dominion of darkness is to be "delivered" which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #4506, to rush or draw... rescue. The way to know God has delivered you is by your interest level in His "kingdom". Coupled with that the idea of "redemption" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #629 which is ransom in full. JESUS PAID THE EXACTED PRICE FOR ALL ISRAEL TO RETURN. Remember sin is falling short of God's glory. Do you really believe Christ paid the ultimate price for you to keep missing the mark by living the same old life? Because of our deliverance and redemption we can get headed in the right direction of His kingdom, right on target of His ultimate glory. That's what entering His kingdom and receiving a portion of this "inheritance" in this life is all about.
His saints heed the Gospel call when we begin seeking God's glory in Christ. Being "the saints in light" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #5457 which is to shine or make manifest. There are those of our race who remain under the power of darkness, and those who are shining in righteousness for God, making manifest His glory- which are you? Being "translated" (or what Jesus called conversion) occurs when we humble ourselves, recognizing the darkness of this old world and how powerless in our flesh we really are (Matthew 18:1-4). If you've been converted, this verse clarifies its meaning further from God's perspective. If not, this is an ample opportunity to humble yourself. God "made us meet" which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #2427, to enable... qualify us "to be partakers of the inheritance". What all does this "inheritance" involve? Obviously everything we need and more to enter into "the kingdom of his dear Son" in this life. All of this has been performed for us through Christ:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
In previous studies we've discussed at least a couple of times from the Scriptures how our "God" indeed is "invisible". Paul here states that Jesus Christ "is the image of the invisible God" which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #1504, a likeness... representation. The historical Person we know as Jesus or Yahshua Christ was the perfect Representation of the Invisible God, Who is Spirit (John 4:24). So what exactly does this mean? First what must be considered is that there is a tremendous difference between the other so-called 'races' in comparison to the Adamic (white) race. Without even going into the differences made evident through science and anthropology, it is visually obvious that not everyone could have been created in the image of God. There can then be only one conclusion as to the race of the Man, Christ Jesus.
At the end of Luke chapter 3 in the geneology of Jesus Christ, Adam is described as "the Son of God". Genesis chapter 1 tells us that "God created man in his own image". The word "man" there is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #119, 'adam (aw-dam'); to show blood in the face, i.e. flush or turn rosy. Given this descriptive evidence, God created Adam a white man, for only the white race can be ruddy, blush, or show blood in the face. Therefore the only conclusion is that the historical Person known as Jesus Christ was a white Man- "the image of the invisible God". Given this clear evidence of God only directly creating the white man in Genesis, in I Corinthians chapter 11 when Paul tells us that "man... is the image of God", he certainly is only speaking of the white man.
In our text this "every creature" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #2937, original formation... creation. Other English translations including the New Revised Standard Version and the New American Standard Version render this more accurately as "all creation". By this we know then that Paul wasn't saying Jesus was literally "the firstborn" in the beginning. Jesus was "the last Adam", while Adam was the first man God created and his son Abel was the firstborn Adamite by Eve since Cain was of that wicked one (I Corinthians 15:45; I John 3:12).
Paul is speaking in a deeper, spiritual sense when he says Christ was "the firstborn". As was alluded to earlier, He is the firstborn like an elder brother as the Heir to God's "inheritance", we being joint-heirs with Him. EVERYTHING IN OUR LIVES IS TO BEGIN AND END WITH CHRIST. Christ being the "firstborn" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #4416, prototokos. Spiros Zodhiates states that it's "from protos #4413, first, and tikto #5088, to bear, bring forth... As applied to Christ... because He was forordained to inherit all things... His being the first who rose from the dead, no more to die." God loved us so much that He came Himself to show us how to live by faith in the Spirit and then to die on the cross for our justification. THE GODMAN WAS THEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD AFTER THREE DAYS AND NIGHTS. Therefore Jesus was "the firstborn" from the grave by His resurrection (Revelation 1:5). Though the dead had been raised before, Christ was the first of all creation to be raised to never die again, through His ascension.
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
This is pretty plain. It merely states in a little different way and expounds upon what John chapter 1 says of Jesus Christ, attesting to His Deity, "In the beginning was the Word (Logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made." Everything directly or indirectly came from Him and "all things" will fulfill His purposes in their being brought into existence. CHRIST WAS GOD AND EVERYTHING IS ABOUT HIM AND ALL FOR HIM.
Similar to the idea of Him being the firstborn, His being "before all things" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #4253 which means in front... superior... above. He is our Eternal King being Yahweh God in the flesh. His kingdom purposes take precedence over everything else, "whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers" and He is the One Who holds it all together or "by him all things consist" which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #4921, to set together... stand. Everything is here by Him and everything remains intact because of Him. THIS ALL ATTESTS TO HIS DEITY.
18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
This "who is the beginning, firstborn from the dead" is the same as Jesus being "the firstborn of every creature" above in reference to His resurrection. This "preeminence" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #4409 to be first (in rank or influence). JESUS HAS TOP PRIORITY IN EVERY WAY. Paul is coming from every angle to show how Christ was God and is our all in all. He is to be #1 in your life. To know him, to serve Him, to be like Him is the goal of your life. To hang upon His every word as your command, rather than as mere counsel as we have in the past.
Though He came and lived a perfect life as a Man, then died, was buried, rose again, and ascended, Christ still yet wants to dwell among His people in another way. Therefore the Biblical concept of "the church" must be understood and should be appreciated by us as the way He does this. Though the only gathering of like-minded believers you may have a chance to be a part of presently is by way of the internet, taking full advantage of this could lead to greater things. Be built up as much as possible and God will open greater opportunities to share with those around you. Eventually you could reach friends and family, forming a called-out assembly of believers. Keep following Christ as your "head" and watch your opportunities and influence expand around you.
The idea of "the church" itself found in the New Testament, was the kind of organization Christ started during His earthly ministry, and that His Apostles continued to organize. As this says, "he is the head of the body, the church". The purpose of the church is to carry out the purposes of the kingdom of God as our "head" first taught in the Gospels. The word "head" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #2776. Spiros Zodhiates defines "the head, as the top... the superior". Christ is our Head, not some other man or group. FOLLOW OTHERS ONLY AS THEY FOLLOW CHRIST. Anyone you follow who lifts himself up between the brethren and Christ is attempting to cut you off from your Head. Misrepresenting those who seek to help you grow up into your Head is clearly a way this is being attempted.
19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
Whatever pleases "the Father" is accomplished. As fully as was possible, God embodied One within the race He created to display for us the perfect Example of how to live. He fulfilled this completely as His plan was that "in" Yahshua "should all fulness dwell". The Apostle Paul is building all this toward manifesting a great mystery later in this chapter, with Christ's Deity as its foundation and context. This "all fulness" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #4138 which is completion... what is filled. In other words, Yahshua was as much of God that an Adamic man could consist of or contain.
This is the distinction between Him being the Son of God and us being the sons of God, that within Him did "all fullness dwell". John chapter 1 says of Jesus that He was "full of grace", whereas Ephesians chapter 4 says of us, "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." So Jesus had as much of the grace of God in Him as one could possibly possess, where "all fulness" dwelt. Whereas ours is in measure, nevertheless we are still the genetic children of God and can aspire to assuming our position as the sons of God. How do we do it? By following the Example in Whom all fulness dwelt, the One which perfectly "pleased the Father". The closer we walk with Him, the more of His "fulness" others will see in us.
So after Paul established His Deity, he then explains how Jesus accomplished reconciliation on our behalf:
20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:
The purpose in Jesus coming and dying was to present a "holy and unblameable and unreproveable" people to His Father- what Paul summed up in Romans chapter 8 as the manifestation of the sons of God. Once we know Christ finished the work to reconcile us unto our God, we must overcome in our minds that we are still alienated from Him. The more conscious we become of our God and His great love for us, the more our minds turn toward our spiritual potential. WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO? What's in our hearts and minds is revealed by the motivation for our works. The more conscious we become of Him, the more pleasing our lives will become to Him in what we say and do because it is coming from a heart of appreciation, not guilt.
JESUS DIED SO OUR GUILT WOULD BE GONE. God is only interested in peace with His Adamic creation, that's all. How did this happen? Only "through the blood of his cross". Remember, reconciliation is only between two parties who already had a prior relationship. Therefore since God has known and gave His law to Israel alone, Christ only came to reconcile Israel, "whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven" (Amos 3:1-2; Psalm 149:19-20; Galatians 4:4-5).
Therefore once we understand what Christ accomplished on Israel's behalf, we must each then put our attention on getting our minds right about God, individually. Though we were once "alienated and enemies in" our minds "by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled" us, and we respond by returning to Him, establishing and maintaining peace with our brethren and within ourselves. How and why did He do it? "In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight". PEACE AND RECONCILIATION GO HAND IN HAND. Israel has complete peace with her Husband as His Redeemed Bride. A SENSE OF BEING UNWORTHY (WHICH MAY EXIST WITHIN ANY ISRAELITE) IS A FIGMENT OF OUR IMAGINATION. Simply repent and come to Christ.
God now wants us to be "holy" which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #40 sacred... pure... consecrated. This is in reference to our lives now being usable and fit for His service. Holiness is well-illustrated in the Old Testament, by everything to do with the instruments of the Tabernacle or Temple for instance, the priest's clothing, the animals used for the sacrifices... all of it was only to be used for the purposes God intended. WHAT EACH ISRAELITE MUST REALIZE FOR HIMSELF IS THAT WE ARE ONLY HERE FOR HIM. We are not here to appease our consciences by giving God a little bit of our time and effort. We are not to just live how we want, not being concerned about the consequences. Nor can we treat our brother like dirt and then expect it to be overlooked or swept under the rug. We are to be "unblameable" which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #299 unblemished... faultless. No matter what others may say or think of us, under God, this is what we strive for and maintain because we love Him.
Along with these things we are also to be "unreproveable" which is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #410, irreproachable. This speaks of our overall testimony and reputation. We should seek to do everything above board and go out of our way to be honest and fair with others. This doesn't mean we won't have enemies, be persecuted, never be blamed for or accused of things, though we are preaching the truth in love as we are commanded. What it does mean is that if and when these things happen, in God's eyes and in your own conscience, you are blameless and irreproachable. These are all character traits which reflect the kind of life Jesus Christ lived and the Character of God. CHRIST HAD ENEMIES, WAS ACCUSED, WAS EVEN CRUCIFIED; YET HE WAS "HOLY AND UNBLAMEABLE AND UNREPROVEABLE" IN SPITE OF IT. We are expected to be the same way.
With all this, Paul is making his way toward the point of the whole Epistle with this mystery. PAUL WAS AN APOSTLE AND MAKES IT ABUNDANTLY CLEAR HE WAS SPEAKING WITH AUTHORITY FROM ON HIGH. Understand, when Paul qualifies "by him, I say", he is underlining how what he is declaring is directly from God; first by proclaiming Christ's Deity, then through the mystery he is about to reveal. God came as a Man in Adamic flesh born an Israelite. He shed His precious blood to reconcile His Bride (Israel) unto Himself. What we must overcome are the fears and false beliefs which have "alienated" us and made us "enemies" of God in our "minds", causing us to completely miss out on what this life is all about. In other words, there is a truth, hidden in a mystery that we can no longer afford to miss, if we want His power and to be more effective for Him. This is the key to Him being able "to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight".
This speaks of us each having clear consciences (II Corinthians 5). How can you know for sure if you are in pursuit of God's perfect will for your life? Well, certainly if you are actively involved in helping your brethren make peace with God and one another. But first, if you do not change your mind in the way you see yourself in relation to God, you will remain alienated, no matter what else you believe or do for others.
To be "alienated" is Strong's Exhaustive Concordance #526 to be non-participant. Because of our ancestors' disobedience, Israel was expelled out of the Promised Land into Assyrian and Babylonian Captivities, and as for the large majority of our people, they never returned. Because of this, generation after generation of Israelites were born into the paganism of Greece and Rome, becoming less and less aware that they were actually God's chosen people, Israel. This of course was prophecied, that Abraham's seed (Israel) would become many nations. But from a practical standpoint, the result was, though those who were dispersed still had pure Adamic blood, they lost their own self-identity as Israelites, becoming alienated or non-participants in the work of God's kingdom. Through Christ however, every Israelite can now have peace with God and become direct participants in the work of His kingdom by faith once again.
This doesn't include however any of the things we try to perform to make up to God which Paul calls "wicked works" or as Jeremiah called them, our "filthy rags". Furthermore, for quite some time, whether in ignorance or otherwise, churches and others prey upon our unnecessary guilt, getting us involved in thinking we must somehow appease God thru what we can do in our flesh. Paul will discuss the futility of these vain, external, and intellectual works later in this Epistle. Suffice it to say for now, being alienated in your mind through personally feeling unworthy of God's blessings, fits like a glove with many of the carnal philosophies and attitudes found in judeochristianity and even in Christian Identity circles today. APPROACH A GREATER PEACE WITH CHRIST BY KNOWING HE WANTS TO BLESS YOU.
Look at how far God has already brought you! Stop holding "in your mind" that God doesn't want to bless you as if you are still His enemy. He has done everything for you to be "reconciled" to Him. Stop with the guilty conscience or thinking that you are not good enough or unworthy; you "hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death". He set the standard and met it on your behalf. Cut through all the false, external alternatives and dogmas, and accept it. What Christ did for us was enough! As Paul taught before, we are redeemed; Christ paid our debt fully- we can add nothing to it.
We have been led to assume there must be some divine recipe, formula, or combination of things we must know and/or outwardly do that will result in the peace we need with God. How is this working out for you? We obviously see not too well, by the shape our world is in. Yet there is nothing we can say or do, for only Christ reconciles us unto God and your acceptance of the mystery Paul is about to reveal requires His peace within. What makes our works wicked is us doing them to make peace with God which again only comes through what Christ has already accomplished. In our next lesson, the great mystery will be manifested. The question is, will you receive it with all of your heart?
If what Israel did or did not do is what alienated us and made us enemies of God in the first place, how can we imagine there is anything we can perform to make it right with Him now? Christ has done it all for Israel as Paul has established the truth of the Deity of Christ, that Yahshua was God in the flesh. As you will see next time, this was necessary to set the perfect context for Paul to manifest the great mystery.