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Posts Tagged ‘Colossians 1:15’

Colossians 1:15 Jesus Christ Firstborn Of Every Creature

Posted by Job on March 7, 2011

Genesis 1:1 bears witness that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Colossians 1:16-17 reveals that by the Word of God, the same that is Jesus Christ, were all things made and do all things consist. However, despite what many believe, the supernatural creative acts of God did not end with what is described in the initial chapters of Genesis. God did rest from His creative works on the seventh day, but God did not remain at rest. Jesus Christ confirmed this in John 5:17 when He stated that God the Father works. In describing God the Father’s labor, Jesus Christ used the word heōs, which means “till” or in that context “at this very moment!” Of course if God the Father works, so does God the Son and so does God the Holy Spirit, for these are not three gods but One God (Deuteronomy 6:4)! Jesus Christ’s apostle Peter rejected the false belief that God is at rest in 2 Peter 3:4-8, when he denied the false doctrine that things were continuing as they had been since “in the beginning.” They are not, for our God is not asleep. Instead, our God is at work.

Our Father was at work when He called Abraham and made a covenant with Him. Our Father was at work when He began the fulfillment of His promise to Abraham by supernaturally giving a child, Isaac, to an old man with a barren wife. God was at work when He made Abraham’s seed into the elect nation Israel, brought this nation out of bondage to sin in Egypt, and made His covenant with Israel at Sinai. God was at work when He punished this same Israel with exile over their breaking the terms of the Sinai covenant. God was at work when He brought a remnant of Israel back to the land and presided over their rebuilding the temple that had been destroyed. God was at work when He used this remnant as the natural vehicle for the incarnation of His Unique Son Jesus Christ, born of a virgin named Mary. God was at work throughout the life, baptism and ministry of Jesus Christ. God was at work when Jesus Christ was slain for the sake of His friends and the cosmos on the cross, and God was at work when He raised Jesus Christ from the dead and received Jesus Christ from the dead. God was at work when He sent the Holy Spirit to live with and in the church. And God is at work right now through the church.

So, God is still at work. Not only is this work of God sustaining, guiding, supervising and ruling, but God has not wholly abandoned the creating business. Israel was a special creation of God. The church was a special creation of God. And there is at least one more special creation of God to come: glorification. This creative act of God is famously described in 1 Corinthians 15:51-57, which reads

“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law. But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Make no mistake, this speaks of a great creative act of God yet to come. It describes the event when the bride of Jesus Christ receives her wedding garments! Now Jesus Christ and the church will be married. Recall the first marriage, between Adam and Eve. God saw that it was not fit for Adam to be joined with one of the beasts of the field, because that would be the confusion (see Leviticus 18:23) of joining together of two things that were unlike each other. So, out of Adam God created Eve, so that Adam would have a suitable spouse that was like himself. The same with the church. Jesus Christ is not going to have a spouse that is unlike Himself. That would be confusion. Instead, our God who is a God of order is going to marry His own Son to a bride that is like His Son. To accomplish this, God is going to transform the bride into the image of His Son in accordance to His plan from before the world was created, from before His creative acts began (Romans 8:29-30). As a matter of fact, it can even be said that a purpose of creation itself was for the purposes of giving a bride to His Son! And just as a man is to leave the house of his father to become one flesh with his wife, Jesus Christ left Heaven to die for His bride on the cross so that she could be cleansed of her sins by His own blood! So be not deceived … marriage was another creative act of God, and it is no mistake that the evil one has attempted to subvert, pervert and destroy this institution, this thing which was recognized as a sacrament or ordinance by the church as it so honors God and His Son and His Spirit which are One, ever since.

But returning to the subject of the bride’s wedding garment, the apostle Paul under the inspiration of God’s own Spirit tells us that as an act of creation by God, each Christian born again of the Holy Spirit (as Jesus Christ described to Nicodemus the Pharisee) will be changed. We will be transformed from sinful mortal flesh to sinless immortality! The soul that sinneth shall die, says the scriptures, but when the bride puts on her new garment, she shall never die for thanks to her new garments transforming her into the image of Jesus Christ, she will be sinless like the One that she is espoused to, the one for whom she was created in order to BE espoused to! Make no mistake, this will be a mighty, creative act of God, to create from and with the church, the body of Christ, a spouse for Christ just as God created from Adam’s rib a spouse for the first man who was the type of Jesus Christ. However, just as the second Adam succeeded where the first Adam failed and did not sin, the second Eve, the bride of Christ, will not become a snare to to the second Adam as was the first, but instead will be sustained and kept from falling as did the first by God, and this will be to the pleasure, delight and glory of God!

Yet, the church, the bride of Christ, despite her glory, will be SECOND in this creative act. Why? Because like Adam was the first man and as a result Eve was called by his name (see Genesis 5:2), there will be one who precedes the church in this creation, and as a result the church will also be called by Christ’s Name. Who preceded the church in this wonderful new creation of glorification? Why none other than Jesus Christ. When did this happen? When Jesus Christ was raised from the dead! When Jesus Christ was incarnated, He was not 50% God and 50% man. He was 100% God and 100% man! So when Jesus Christ died, He died a death that was like unto the death of all other men, save that His death was not the result of His sin, but of His lying down His life as the sin-bearer for His friends, for His bride, for His church, for His cosmos. But even though this fact made His death unique, He still died just as men have since the transgression of Adam, for Jesus Christ was a 100% participant and member of the class of humankind. But Jesus Christ rose from the dead! And His rising of the dead was not like that of Lazarus or the child raised from the dead by Elijah or the lad raised by Paul, or of Dorcas. They all later died. Why? Because when they arose from the dead, they still had their original corruptible bodies!

No, Jesus Christ was the first to rise from the dead with an incorruptible body! For this reason, Jesus Christ was the first to be raised and be alive for evermore (Revelation 1:18)! Jesus Christ was the first to partake in this new thing, this new creative act of God! And this new creative activity of God demonstrated that God is not still at rest! Moreover, Jesus Christ being the very first in this new creation – just as Adam was the first man, the first to be made in the image of God in the old creation – makes Jesus Christ the firstborn of every creature! Yes, Adam and the others made in Genesis 1 and 2 were chronologically first, but God is eternal. God exists outside of time, indeed God created time as part of this cosmos. However, this cosmos – including time – shall be no more. When that happens, Jesus Christ, immortal and incorruptible, will remain! This makes the creative activity of God initiated when He resurrected His Son from the grave and gave His Son the new incorruptible body superior in rank, superior in quality, superior in every way that truly matters to the former creation! And as Jesus Christ by way of being the first human – and recall that per His incarnation He became 100% man as well as 100% God – to have the great honor of being glorified – He is the firstborn of the greater creation, and therefore the firstborn of everything that is created!

Jesus Christ was the first to open the matrix, and the bride of Jesus Christ, the church, followed after! That was why under the system given to Israel by God at Sinai, the firstborn of the animals had to be slain (Exodus 13:12-15) prefiguring both the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the exalted status of Jesus Christ by His being the first to receive a glorified body upon His resurrection after His sacrifice! Thus, Jesus Christ is the firstborn of every creature! One day, the church will receive this same honor, this same miracle of glorification, but be not deceived … Jesus Christ was first, a status that He alone – not Moses, not Enoch, not Elijah, not David, not John the Baptist, not Mary – is due, for none of those others were God, and as a result all of those others sinned where Jesus Christ did not. As Jesus Christ was the only one to receive a death that He did not deserve, He was the only one to deserve to go first in new life, to be the first in the new creation! Jesus Christ truly is the firstborn of every creature because it is an honor that no mere creature deserves, but is instead an honor that is fit only for God to reserve for Himself, for His Own Son.

Please join the Firstborn of every creature today so that you too will receive your own glorified body at the time appointed for you by God the Father.

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Colossians 1:15 How Jesus Christ Is Firstborn Of Creation

Posted by Job on October 7, 2009

Arians, Ebionites, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, theological liberals, and othe pseudo-Christian cults have long used Colossians 1:15 to deny the divinity of Jesus Christ, claiming that the notion was contrived long after the apostolic period through the syncretization of Christianity with Greco-Roman polytheism. What gives these hard-hearted people (who are in much need of prayer that God would open their hearts so that they would receive in it the true gospel) the opportunity is the text “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.” Such people use that text to deny Jesus Christ’s pre-existence and divinity, claiming that it proves that Jesus Christ was the first thing that God created i.e. the chief angel. They deal with such passages as the Johannine prologue by stating that it only means that Jesus Christ existed before the creation of the world, the natural universe, or that God created Jesus Christ and then Jesus Christ created everything else. Another angle is the assertion that takes more seriously the gospel of John (and other places that identify Jesus Christ as the Word of God) is that Jesus Christ’s creation occurred the first time that God spoke or thought, or at the very least the first time that God spoke or thought with respect to creative activity. Truthfully, the doctrine of “the eternal generation of the Son”, while considered orthodox, comes very dangerously close to semi-Arianism when taken to its logical conclusion, so those who espouse this doctrine erect logically artificial and arbitrary barriers in order to keep from being counted as heretics. The only difference is that semi-Arianism (Jesus Christ was created the first time God spoke) views Jesus Christ with respect to ontological, philosophical or logical time (while realizing that actual time is a part of creation and thus does not exist in eternity) where “the eternal generation of the Son” denies, ignores or refuses to deal with ontology. You may ask “why should a Christian deal with abstract concepts like ontology anyway?” Well, that is a question that must be answered by the people who adhere to and preach “the eternal generation of the Son” doctrine, which really has no reason for existing beyond philosophy, as it has virtually no practical implications on orthodoxy or orthopraxy (right thinking and right living). If you are going to adhere to and preach a doctrine – especially one that is in and of itself not a core doctrine of the faith but still has real implications for other core doctrines of the faith (as “the eternal generation of God the Son” does for Trinity) – you had better be prepared to deal with what the doctrine implies and leads to. In any event, both semi-Arianism (Jesus Christ originated when God first thought or spoke) and “the eternal generation of the Son” (Jesus Christ exists as God speaks and does so without being a function of time in any way) pose problems for the nature of existence itself, which is that something can only exist if it exists as a unity. This is borne out in Genesis 2:7 and Ecclesiastes 3:21, which make clear that a man cannot and does not exist unless there is a unity of body and spirit. By the same token, God does not exist without a unity of the Father, the Word and the Spirit. If the Word or the Spirit or the Father require creation or generation, that negates the Unity without which God does not exists, and thus violates Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” Also, as scripture also declares God to be unchanging, God does not create or generate new parts to Himself, so what would be created or generated would necessarily be either a creature (Arianism/Jehovah’s Witnesses) or another god (what “eternal generation of the Son” would possibly lead to if its ontological implications were acknowledged and dealt with rather than simply shoved into “eternity” and ignored).

So, regarding “eternal generation of the Son”, the position should be that the Son is not generated but like the Father and the Spirit simply is and has always been, and this is what the meaning of the Name of God I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14) refers to. Further, it is something that is not only true with respect to time (keep in mind the Arian/Jehovah’s Witness argument, which deals with the problems posed by Jesus Christ’s being a creature by simply saying that it is true by being before Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1-18) or timelessness (“eternal generation of the Son”) but ontologically as well. (Truthfully, since the ancient near eastern mindset that produced the Bible did not include ontology, which is a western construct, then God referring to Himself as I AM THAT I AM  of Exodus 3:14 is true spiritually. Where the western mindset has reduced spiritual truth to being merely allegorical, moral, ethical or abstract, the Biblical mindset recognizes spiritual truth as being as explicit, valid and relevant as is 2+2=4 or the law of gravity, or moreover that 2+2 is only always equal to 4 or the law of gravity is only always consistent because of the spiritual truth that is behind it, defines it, and sustains it, and that spiritual truth is none other than Jesus Christ. And yes, the fact that it was most definitely Jesus Christ who appeared to Moses as the flame that did not burn the bush and used the Name I AM THAT I AM with reference to Himself is not only relevant, but would necessarily preclude Arianism/Jehovah’s Witnesses or “eternal generation of the Son”, for had those been so Jesus Christ would have had to say “I am the first that was created” or “I am he who is generated.”)

So if the witness of scripture is to be internally consistent, how can Colossians 1:15 be true? How can Jesus Christ be the firstborn of every creature? The common way is to use the actual definition of firstborn, which is “first in rank” and use it in reference to Jesus Christ’s authority, dominion and rule as creation’s King. It refers to Jesus Christ as Ruler of the universe par excellence. According to this definition, the original firstborn of creation then was Adam. Thus, this is certainly not because Adam was the first thing created (because Adam was created on the 6th day, and thus temporally was actually the LAST thing created!) but because God gave Adam dominion over the earth. Adam forfeited this dominion and firstborn status, and this dominion transferred to Satan. However, Satan was only a usurper. He held the dominion but never the firstborn status, and even his dominion was illegitimately and temporarily possessed just as the pagan Athaliah was illegitimately ruler of Judah for a time (for 6 years, with 6 being the number of a man, how’s that for numerology!) before being replaced by a legitimate rightful monarch that was a son of David. Consider the typology. Athaliah: type. Satan: antitype. Joash: type. Jesus Christ: anti-type. Jesus Christ was the second Adam who not only took on the dominion legitimately but also the firstborn status that Satan could never have even by theft.

Now God gave Adam dominion, the status of firstborn, so that Adam could serve God and in this way God would be glorified through Adam’s service. Adam, of course, was disobedient and utterly failed to fulfill the purpose of his creation – mankind’s creation – which was to serve and glorify God. However, Jesus Christ did so. By way of the incarnation, Jesus Christ became fully man. Born under the law to God’s elect people Israel, Jesus Christ fulfilled the law with His perfect life, living in perfect obedience to God the Father, and fulfilling the purpose of mankind’s creation and also mankind’s destiny, which was and is to glorify God through perfect service forever. So, Adam was the firstborn of creation that failed and died. Jesus Christ is the firstborn of creation that succeeded, was resurrected from the dead and is alive forevermore, and therefore is the Head of all redeemed mankind who will fulfill the purposes mankind’s creation – to serve and glorify God – through Jesus Christ by being Jesus Christ’s own Body. This perfect eternal service is impossible for us to achieve on our own – as Adam proved – but is attainable only by being in Jesus Christ, and our being joined to the firstborn of creation. Where Adam failed to be the progenitor or head of a nation, a people, a race of perfect eternal servants (or even to be this perfect eternal servant himself) Jesus Christ succeeded and is the Head of the church, the bride, the body of Christ.

Now Jesus Christ only succeeded in fulfilling Adam’s original purpose and therefore becoming the true firstborn of creation because unlike Adam, He is fully God. However, Jesus Christ was only fit to fulfill Adam’s purpose, to become the second Adam, by being fully human just as was Adam. Christians can be rightfully accused of refusing to deal with the true nature and implications of Jesus Christ’s humanity because of our desire not to sin and become heretics. Of course, Jesus Christ is the eternal and self-existing God, part of the Triune Godhead. However, this same Jesus Christ was incarnated into A CREATED HUMAN BODY! Jesus Christ’s human body was born of a created woman’s created seed just as was you and I. The ovum in Mary was not eternal, but was created along with Mary, and as such Jesus Christ had a created human body just as do you or I. This body was not simply some animatronic shell, cover or mask for the true divine Person pulling the levers under the covers, which incidentally is a form of the docetism heresy. That implies that Jesus Christ was a fake human who only seemed real. But we know from Romans, Hebrews, Genesis 3:15, and elsewhere that Jesus Christ was a fully thoroughly 100% real human who experienced physical and mental growth, hunger, pain, thirst, agony, isolation, frustration, rejection, temptation and even natural death just like the rest of the human race. That is why He is able to be our priest, His identification with us. However, many of us take the scriptures that refer to Jesus Christ’s identification with us to be more of an association, an affiliation, something less than real. This thinking falls short of the truth of Biblical revelation, and is based on the modern western meaning of “identify with”, which implies merely allegiance or advocacy. For instance, it is possible for a wealthy person to “identify with” the poor through feelings of compassion, works of charity, even political and social advocacy. But unless that person literally gives all his money away and renounces any connections or privileges that he has (i.e. a title or family heritage that he may use to recover at least some of his wealth and status) he will never actually be poor. Jesus Christ did not identify with humanity in that sense, a false and ultimately superficial sense.

Instead, Jesus Christ identified with humanity in the true sense by becoming one of us! Now humans cannot in any way become God in any sense. But in the greatest miracle that ever was or will be, Jesus Christ DID become a human in every sense! And make no mistake, do not be deceived: humans are part of creation. So even though Jesus Christ is God who pre-exists creation, accomplished creation, and in every way transcends creation, when Jesus Christ was incarnated into human flesh, HE BECAME A PART OF CREATION! Now do not be offended or deceived. First off, being God and also not being born of Adam’s seed but rather being the Word of God born of a virgin by the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ had no part in the sin and corruption that creation fell into, and it no part in Him. After all, please recall that creation was originally sinless, a fact proven by God calling it “good”, and God has never at any time called anything sinful or evil “good” except that which God justified by graciously imputing His own righteousness to it (as is the case of sinners). Second, this is not to be confused with such liberal heretical abominations as “process theology” or “death of God theology” which at times holds that God completely surrendered His divine nature. Instead, Jesus Christ became part of creation through His incarnation (becoming fully human) while never at any time ceasing to transcend creation because of His divinity (self-existing and eternal). You can call it the “hypostatic union” if you absolutely must (I do not and have even been accused of adhering to the Nestorianism heresy because of it), but that does not alter the facts.  The result is that through His becoming part of creation, Jesus Christ is given the role of both priest/intercessor/savior for creation (the part of which is elect and will be redeemed) and the judge of creation (the part which is not and will not and whose fate is destruction).

This should cause us to read Colossians 1:15 in a new way. We either read “image of the invisible God, firstborn of creation” devotionally, or we view those as two facts that while true are separate. Instead, Colossians 1:15 is a unity. It describes the incarnation! Man is made in the image of God. Jesus Christ became a man. Jesus Christ became not just any man, but the second Adam. As the first Adam was – until the fall – the firstborn of creation, Jesus Christ by virtue of His incarnation, life, ministry, atoning and substitutionary death on the cross and resurrection not only became the second Adam, but did so in a way that far transcends and exceeded the first Adam! So, not only did Jesus Christ fulfill the original intent of humanity (and by extension of creation, for man is part of creation and creation was accomplished to please and glorify God) but Jesus Christ fulfilled the original intent of mankind and creation in a way BETTER and MORE PLEASING to God the Father than we ever could have ourselves, even if we were to somehow live perfect lives! Again, even if somehow we were to live perfect sinless lives, we would never fulfill the purpose of humanity better or give more honor and glory to God the Father than did Jesus Christ! And not only did Jesus Christ fulfill the purpose of humanity to the glory of God the Father as God the Father’s Suffering Servant, but He did it FOR US as OUR SERVANTS! It is often said that Jesus Christ died for us on the cross, but He also LIVED FOR US BEFORE GOING TO THE CROSS! As a result, Christians receive the benefits of Jesus Christ’s life, death and resurrection!

Now how many of you out there are parents? Or take care of elderly or handicapped people? In your role as a parent or caretaker, you do for those under your trust and care what they cannot do for themselves: you earn a living, you provide housing, food and clothes, you pay taxes, and in many cases you literally do the work of dressing, bathing, feeding and monitoring them or you pay for the services of someone else who does. A great part of your life is doing for others what others cannot do for themselves and allowing others to benefit from it. Well, that is the same thing that Jesus Christ did for you, except in a grander and more majestic way on an infinitely greater scale! Your purpose in being created was to glorify God, and not only did Jesus Christ do something for you that you could not do yourself, but He did it better than you could ever do even if you could!

And consider that for a second. This child that you are taking care of as a parent will one day grow up and take care of himself. Your son or daughter might do a better job! As a matter of fact, if you are a good loving parent, you hope that they will for themselves and for their own children! By the same token, what if this person who has suffered a stroke or is paralyzed gets healed by God. They go from being taken care of by you to taking care of themselves, and again a decent moral person would hope that they would receive better care from their own hand than they did from yours. And this is an example of how and why what Jesus Christ did for you is so amazing, so special. Because no matter how much you grow up, no matter how much your body (or mind) gets healed, better or stronger, you will NEVER be able to live a perfect life. You can exist for an eternity and still NEVER be able to do what Jesus Christ did for you by living a perfect life on your behalf, and you CERTAINLY would never be able to use your own perfect existence to justify someone else by imputing your righteousness to them.

But Jesus Christ did all that and more by becoming the image of the invisible God, a man in the image of God who yet is simultaneously is God. And He did not rest or be content with simply being a man in the image of God who also is God, but He also succeeded in living a life that glorified God the Father at all times and in every way. And it is because of this that God glorified His Name above every Name, that God bestowed the status of “firstborn of creation” upon Him! Jesus Christ is God who became part of creation and now sits at creation’s head as its Ruler, King, and Firstborn, and did all of this without violating that which is revealed in scripture which is part of God’s nature, which is that God is unchangeable! That is right, Jesus Christ accomplished creation, became part of creation, and became priest for redeemed creation and judge for that which is not redeemed without His Divine nature being altered or changed in any way. (Incidentally, this is something that liberal theologies – i.e.  process theology and open theism – deny.) Now again, I am not a “hypostatic union” guy, but I do acknowledge that the hypostatic union doctrine does articulate and explain this.

So the core of Colossians 1:15 is that Jesus Christ has full membership in both Deity and creation by way of the incarnation. Jesus Christ did this in obedience to God the Father, but He also did it for you! However, in order to partake of the benefits of Jesus Christ becoming a man so that He could die on the cross for your sins in your place, you must believe that these things are true, and as a result turn away from your sins and submit to Jesus Christ as Your Lord and Savior. If there are any people who do not believe in Jesus Christ as described here, I encourage you to do so right now. If there are any Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, oneness pentecostals, Muslims, Jews, Roman Catholics or anyone else who denies the Deity or true nature of Jesus Christ or His life and work as clearly revealed through scripture, I encourage you to turn away from those and submit yourself to the truth. I do not say “accept the truth” because that implies that you are in some way an entity who has a role in creating, deciding, or being an arbiter of truth. Rest assured, only God is the creator, decider, determiner, arbiter and revealer of truth, so these things are going to be true whether you accept them or not. So, your duty then is to respond by believing them through faith and following through with obedience. That is the way, the only way that you can submit to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and be saved.

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