December 24, 2013

Jesus Christ: The Focus of Christian Faith

This is a post from Christmas past. It hits on a much needed truth mostly absent from American society and the world at-large. Sadly, it is also conspicuously absent from many churches too and this is the main reason it is absent from society. Salt and light has become dirt and darkness. We must relight the flame.

Simply put, Jesus is not just the focal point of the Christmas season, He is the focal point of everything seen and unseen. He is given authority over all and sustains all things by his powerful word. Having said this  we now look at the first portion of Colossians. It is considered to be an extremely early Christian hymn. I will not be doing a complete interpretation of the passage but rather pulling thoughts out of it within their context.


Supremacy of the Son of God

"The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 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 and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross." Colossians 1:15-20

As if there is any question of Jesus Christ's headship/authority or position in the Church or in Creation, it is squelched here. First place or the head belongs to Jesus. He is Primary, He is Primacy, He is Perfect. Our lives should center on Him. History centers on Him. The Bible centers on Him. Time centers on Him. He is and without Him, everything is not.

Nowhere should this Christ-centeredness be more evident than in The Church where His people openly submit to Him as Lord. He is the only proper and legitimate head of the Church. That means all leaders of the Church are to submit and serve Him, thereby they become servants of the Servant King or Suffering Servant. If He served how much more should we? Denial of this fact is nothing more than apostasy. To make one's self the center of attention in the Church is to displace Jesus at the center and putting one's self in His place. This idea is abhorrent. Grandstanding and self-aggrandizing leaders and pastors take note.


When it speaks of Him being firstborn. This does not mean Christ is created. It is a phrase that expresses Christ's sovereignty over all creation. This phrase proclaims Christ’s preeminence. It does not make Him part of the Creation it makes Him Ruler and sovereign over it.


He will reconcile people with their God (Himself). He will also reconcile non-human things also as evident from the "all things" statement. The aim and end result of this reconciliation is holiness...that is the whole point. To bring man and creation back into the proper relationship with God. For humans this reconciliation will require a obligation. An obligation to stay obedient and faithful to the statutes and requirements of God.


On Christ's Behavior & Fruits of His Ministry

Jesus' kindness toward spent, burned-out sinners regardless of social standing, wealth or race was unending. Jesus did not however extent the same compassion and patience to hypocrites, liars and false teachers. When faced with false teaching and religious error Jesus was quick to correct. Sinners are sinners by their very nature and are incapable without the work of God to correct their ways. Many of their sins are often unintentional. Hypocrites, liars and false teachers commit their sins on purpose to achieve and illicit ill-gained end. When Jesus addressed the liars and hypocrites he was eloquent but never arrogant. He was forceful but never unloving. He was firm and uncompromising but always gracious. Christ's ministry laid out perfect template of how we are to deal with and confront sin, false teaching and engage the culture. Behavior that reflects the reality contained within...and an abundance of Life.

Summation That Is Culmination

Do we give Christ the center in our decision-making process when we deal with the modern culture or do we attempt to shuffle Him aside thinking our methods for engagement are more proper for today's culture? Are we allowing Christ to do the work or are we trying to do it? The Gospel message is preeminent because of its focus on the Preeminent One. Is it coming out through our actions and words or words only? I do not want to hear you tell me you are a Christian, I want to see that you are. If we have Christ at the center it will reflect in all aspects of our life and it will bear evidence of our salvation through our actions (James 2). We will walk in Christ as He will be in us and like a seed He will grow in us and push out of us what does not belong.

"No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." 1 John 3:9

Seed above is "σπέρμα/sperma" something sown (including the male "sperm") by implication, offspring; specially,or ironically something that will create something new that, as it grows, pushes outward from the center and replaces the old object that once occupied the space (sin) with something more/better (holiness). New growth, fruit, etc. Interestingly, we see that the Holy Spirit does this too. At our justification when we convert to Christ a down payment is deposited in us in the form of the Spirit that works with us to "work out" our sanctification (Philippians 2:13). It works from within us outward. In manifests in the form of fruits (of the Spirit). Fruit being an abundance of life previously mentioned. Like most all fruits the vehicle to create progeny or pass on this life is within its own abundance of life in the form of a seed that grows if we cultivate it. Otherwise it dies or stays dormant if we do not cultivate. Life that sustains. Life that gives life.

I am in no way saying that Jesus had an inception anymore than I am saying He is literally a seed that you plant in the ground. What I am saying is that the work He does in us will, like a seed once planted and cultivated properly, bring forth abundance of life and fruit which carry within it the ability to regenerate itself into more abundant life (seed/sperma). It is no accident that the Parable of the Sower and Faith of a Mustard seed and Fruits of the Spirit are used when referring to believers faith, whether it is effective and manifests itself in a believer's life. These agricultural metaphor are closer to the reality of the spiritual life in Christ than most realize. The continuity is perfect...it's as if it was planned that way.

So as we celebrate the birth of the One that brings eternal life today and tomorrow, I ask you only to consider this fact. The fact that the Holy Spirit came and conceived the Messiah that would be God incarnate. Jesus would be physically conceived in Mary by the work of the Holy Spirit in accordance with the will of the Father in accordance to the prophetic Scripture. God would take on the attribute of flesh and become עִמָּנוּאֵל /Imanu'el or "God with us". His influence, teachings, death and Resurrection would overcome the sin of the world and ring in the Kingdom of God. A Kingdom that will one day see its complete culmination when He (Jesus) comes to reign in power...for the Kingdom will be where the King reigns


Peace and grace to you all and a Merry Christmas 2013

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