31 Days with the Savior: First

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Gentle Reader,

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.  And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” – Colossians 1:15-18 (NKJV)

Paul uses the term “firstborn” here, but this does not point to Jesus as a created being. The word is rich in background:

“Scripture refers to Israel as God’s firstborn child (Exodus 4:22; compare Jeremiah 31:9; Isaiah 64:8) and so expresses God’s election of Israel for salvation and defines its special place in God’s redemptive plans. Especially in the Exodus text, the phrase expresses the Lord’s faithfulness to Israel, a faithfulness that ultimately ensures its salvation from the evil pharaoh. In Paul’s handling of this biblical tradition, Christ and not Israel is cast as God’s Son (1:13). God’s faithfulness to Christ ensures His resurrection and triumph over death, and in Him over all those evil powers that keep a fallen creation captive to spiritual darkness and the consequences of human sins (1:13-14).

It is possible that another ingredient of the background to Paul’s use of firstborn is the ancient idea of a birthright, which gave the firstborn a privileged status and responsibility within the family (Lightfoot 1879:144-45). …  If Paul had in mind the birthright, it would be only as a metaphor for Jesus’ unique and distinctive role within the creation as agent of its salvation.” – IVP Commentary (found under the “Study This” tab).

Jesus occupies a unique place, the first place. He is over and above all things. He is, in all senses of the word, the King. He rules. He reigns. Further, He is the image of God. Everything that God desires to reveal and express to humanity is found in Jesus. Justice and mercy, truth and grace, transcendence and immanence, righteousness, holiness.

Jesus is majesty.

Grace and peace along the way.

For all entries in the Jesus: 31 Days with the Savior series, go here.

31 Days with the Savior: Created

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Gentle Reader,

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. … All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. … the world was made through Him.” – Genesis 1:1, John 1:3, 10 (NKJV)

Yesterday we established the fact that Jesus is God. It necessarily follows to establish that Jesus, one hundred percent God, member of the eternal Triune, created everything, from the stars to the sea, the sand to the mountains, the Milky Way to the mustard seed. He designed DNA, set the trees to change with the seasons, defined the seasons themselves. He formed the characteristics that distinguish a dog from a cat from a water buffalo. He made curly hair and straight hair, dark hair and blonde hair and all shades in between. He thought of freckles and taste buds and laughter and placed our tear ducts just so. He positioned the Earth at the precise point necessary for the flourishing of life.

There is nothing – nothing – in creation that does not bear His fingerprints. Paul was dead on when he wrote:

“…since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.” – Romans 1:20a (NKJV)

People wonder why I believe in God. I wonder how they cannot with the evidence all around – sunsets and roses and fingers and glaciers and eyeballs and duck feet.

Grace and peace along the way.

For all entries in the Jesus: 31 Days with the Savior series, go here.

31 Days with the Savior: God

Gentle Reader,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.” – John 1:1-2 (NKJV)

The first thing that we need to know about Jesus is that He is God. He is not “a” god, as the Jehovah’s Witnesses assert in mistranslating these verses. He is not part of a tritheistic, divisible “head,” as in Mormon teaching. He does not exist in a pantheon from which we can pick and choose. He is not the archangel Michael. He is not a part of the unsound understanding that splits the names “Elohim” and “YHWH” into two entities. He is not the product of God the Father having sex with Mary. He is not the brother of Lucifer, nor is Lucifer His equal. He is not, nor ever was, married. He is not an “enlightened” teacher like Buddha. He is not lesser than Muhammed.

Jesus is God. He is not created. He has no beginning. He has no end.

Defining Jesus as anything other than God is to miss Him completely. He the eternal Son, consubstantial (of the same substance or essence) with the Father and the Spirit. (Note: This one Trinity is not at all the same as believing in three gods. If you are unsure, please do some reading. This article is a good place to start). The Father is one hundred percent God. The Spirit is one hundred percent God. Jesus is one hundred percent God.

Jesus explicitly told us that He is God (see John 5:17-18, John 8:58, John 10, John 14:9, Mark 2:5-7 for just a small sampling). Let us therefore end with this, from C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this Man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon or you can fall at His feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Grace and peace along the way.

For all entries in the Jesus: 31 Days with the Savior series, go here.