Friday, February 1, 2013

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary

For Sunday February 3, 2013
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AWED BY GREATNESS
(CHRIST JESUS is supreme)
(Colossians 1:15-23)

In the biblical Greek, the word used for “image” in Colossians 1:15 is “eikon” and it means, “the very substance or embodiment of”. JESUS CHRIST is the perfect spiritual manifestation of the invisible GOD. HE mimics GOD the FATHER in HIS behavior perfectly, and is a perfect representative of HIM. GOD is perfectly expressed and revealed in everything that JESUS does.
Colossians chapter 1, verses 15-20, are perhaps Scripture’s greatest exaltation of JESUS CHRIST, and, it is an excellent biblical defense against “Gnosticism”. In that stretch of passage we find no less than seven unique characteristics of JESUS that fittingly qualify HIM to claim supremacy over everything. Here we see that CHRIST is;

·         “The exact image of GOD, Spiritually” - (GOD does not have a physical image).  JESUS is the perfect representation of GOD. HE is GOD personified before men, through HIS behavior.
·         “The first born over all Creation” – This expression does not mean that JESUS is a created being, but rather, it is the way that GOD chose to communicate to us, JESUS’ uniquely privileged relationship to HIM.
·         “Creator of the universe”
·         “Head of the Church”
·         “The first born from the dead” – HE is the first to be resurrected into eternal life, in fact, HE has first place in everything, including the Church.
·         “The fullness of GOD” – HE is the sustainer of the universe. HE holds everything together.
·         “The reconciler of all things” – Through HIM, GOD the FATHER was pleased to reconcile everything to HIMSELF. JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice was primarily about redeeming a people for GOD, however, ultimately it also included all things on earth and in Heaven. No other Scriptural passage contains a list that can compare to this one, regarding the supremacy and deity of JESUS CHRIST, our LORD. I’ll explain more on these seven characteristics later.
In verses 16-17, as it is expressed in the original Greek writing, three prepositions are used in relation to CHRIST’ role in Creation. Everything was created;
·         Dia autou – “through HIM” (JESUS is the “Instrumental Cause” as, by HIM, all things were created).
·         Eis auton – “for HIM” (JESUS is the “Final Cause” as, for HIM, all things were created)
·         En auto – “sustained by HIM” (JESUS is the “Conserving Cause” as, HE holds everything together.
And so CHRIST is not only the ONE through WHOM all things came into existence, HE is also the ONE through WHOM all things continue to exist. HE is the first and the last, and everything in between, the “Mediator” of the entire the universe. And GOD the FATHER is the “Efficient Cause”, or ultimate source of the universe.
In verse 18 we see that, in addition to being LORD of the universe, CHRIST is also the head of the Church. Now I know a lot of pastors who think they hold that position in spite of what the bible says. Here it is referenced that CHRIST is the HEAD of the invisible universal Church into which all believers are baptized by the HOLY SPIRIT, the very second that they believe in their hearts, in CHRIST JESUS is LORD.
In the Greek, the term used for “first” in this verse is “ho protos” and it means “absolutely first”. JESUS is the beginning, and the firstborn, from the dead. HE was the first to rise into an immortal body, and is the head of the New Covenant, or new order from GOD. Through HIS resurrection, death was defeated and no longer has power over this life.
In verse 19, the Greek word “pluroma” is used for “fullness”. It means “completeness” and here is used to describe GOD’s being, HIS time, and, HIS grace, which dwells in CHRIST JESUS on a permanent basis, continually, forever, and GOD the FATHER is very pleased with that.
And finally, in verse 20 we see a seventh characteristic of GOD that is embodied in CHRIST JESUS, and that is one of “Reconciler”. JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice on the cross at Golgotha by Roman method, completely reconciles us to GOD as payment for all of the sins of man, past, present, and future, and made peace with everything in Heaven and on earth.
In verse 21 Paul expounds on that theme by telling us that reconciliation was absolutely necessary in order to bring us back into a relationship of friendship with GOD. The Greek word used here for “alienated from GOD”, “apallotrioo”, means “being in a desperate state of utter separation and isolation”. It is also a condition that is marked by “hostility” against GOD, which tends to keep us alienated from HIM.
Earlier I mentioned the religious term “Gnosticism”, and that this particular passage was an excellent argument, or defense against this Luciferic idealism. The Gnostics believe that all flesh and material things are evil. They like to try and diminish the role of CHRIST by saying that because HE took on a material body, HE must have been alienated from GOD, and not the SON of GOD. This passage clearly shows, that, not only was GOD fully and totally present in JESUS, HE also used JESUS’ death on the cross to bring man and the entire universe back into harmony with HIMSELF. And so, not only was JESUS holy and righteous, GOD used JESUS’ holiness and righteousness to save us and make us holy, through HIS righteousness (Vs. 21-23).

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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