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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, January 31, 2020

Colossians 1:21-23 (L 07)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                    Published: January 31, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

***********************************************************************************************

Welcome back to our verse-by-verse study of Paul’s letter to the Colossians.  One of the biblical terms we looked at last week was reconciliation (1:14, 19-20).  In this lesson we find Paul continuing to speak about reconciliation through Christ Jesus’s finished work of the cross.  You can’t have one without the other.  It might help you to know the first time Paul mentioned the concept of reconciliation, reconciling,  is in Romans, which was written about 25 years after the Cross:  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom we have now received the reconciliation” (Romans 5:10-11).

Saul/Paul was saved by the gospel of reconciliation and became a lifelong servant of it. Let’s review some of his writings on the subject:

For if the casting away of them (the nation of Israel) be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Romans 11:15)

And all things are of God, Who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to as the ministry of reconciliation, To wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (Corinthians 5:18-19).

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you (Gentiles) which were afar off, and to them that were nigh (i.e. the nation of Israel)” (Ephesians 2:16-17).

For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of the cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Colossians 1:19-20).

By studying these Scripture passages and their context we learn when and why the Lord Jesus Christ committed to Paul the ministry of reconciliation and the dispensation of the Grace of God for the Gentiles and Romans 11:15 is one of the key verses that reveal this truth.  Paul declared salvation was sent unto the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy; and that the Gentiles obtained mercy because of Israel’s unbelief (Acts 7; Romans 11:11, 30).  Reconciliation was sent to the Gentiles when and because Israel was set aside (Romans 11:15).  The twelve were not involved in this new program, for, according to Galatians 2:9, even after Peter had preached to the household of Cornelius, per the risen Lord’s command, he agreed to go with his message and ministry to Israel.  The twelve did not preach salvation to the Gentiles to provoke Israel to jealousy.  The message they preached to Israel and Cornelius concerned Jesus of Nazareth and what He did on the earth (Acts 2:22, 10:35-38).

But in connection with the message of “reconciliation” and “the new creation,” Paul says concerning Jesus Christ, “henceforth know we Him no more after the flesh.” (2 Corinthians 5:16).  Peter preached “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit;” and “Repent and God will send Christ back from heaven,” ergo, Peter preached “restitution” not reconciliation. 

Peter’s message was different from Paul’s gospel of grace, and it is indeed enlightening to learn our Apostle Paul was not sent to baptize, but to preach Christ crucified for the sins of all.  The attentive Bible student recognizes the reason for this.  Israel was God’s religious nation.  When God set them aside, the time of reformation had arrived (Hebrews 9:10) and God was through with His religious program under the law.  Churches today attach specific meanings to water baptism; some go so far as to preach without it you cannot be saved.  However, according to the revelation given to Paul water baptism is nothing more than a religious ceremony or ordinance meant for the Israelites who were under the Law.  Thus, water baptism doesn’t fit in with what God is doing in the Church Age.  People skirt this truth either by ignoring what Paul has to say on the subject or denying it outright.  But these divine commands were given by revelation to the Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 14:37).  Perhaps you remember his testimony to the Believers in Rome,  I magnify my office…for I am the apostle to the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), and his statement to the Corinthians, “Christ Jesus sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 1:17, 15:1-4).  In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians where the message of reconciliation is mentioned, Paul wrote about the one baptism of the Holy Spirit, but he never emphasized the need to be water baptized.  (See Romans 5:10-11, 6:3-6; Ephesians 2:13, 4:5; and Colossians 1:20-21, 2:12).

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Please open your Bible at Colossians 1:20-23.

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.  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

There’s a lot going on in these Bible verses, and I’ll do my best to enlighten you.  Let’s begin by looking at our text in Colossians 1:20 again because something noteworthy came to me after posting last week’s lesson and I want to share it with the group.

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.”   

Some of you may be aware that people “twist the Scriptures” either out of ignorance or by design (2 Peter 3:14-16).  It’s a common practice.  Such is the case with verse 1:20.  It is used to teach universalism, namely, that everyone will be saved, eventually, and none will be punished for eternity.  The Universalists believe God will reconcile to Himself all the people from Adam onward that died in unbelief, and this includes Satan.  But this reverses what the Scriptures teach.  Let’s consider Colossians 1:20 with Colossians 3:10-11, to better understand what the Scriptures actually say:

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”

Who are the people that “have put on the new man?”  All those who believe Jesus Christ died for their sins, was buried, and rose again on the third day, according to the Scriptures, that’s who:  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

So then, Paul is describing the true Believer who has “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him,” and not every person that has ever been born.  Then verse 3:11 begins with the word “where” to show what Paul is about to say is limited in scope regarding the new creature now positioned in Christ.  Paul said, “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”  The Universalists take the phrase, “Christ is all, and in all” and hang there hat on it, so to speak, to teach all will be saved, but they ignore the first part of this verse.  However, we know what Paul means to say because he limited the scope of this message to the Body of Christ, the Church.  This is where we find “Christ Jesus is all and in all.”  (1:18-20). 

Look at how the paragraph is organized.  The scope of verse 1:15-17 is all creation. The whole universe is in view and the point is that Christ is preeminent over all creation because He created it and what’s more by Him all things consist or are held together.  Then in 1:18 Paul shifted his focus and the scope is no longer the whole universe but the new creation, namely the Church, the Body of Christ.  Paul said, “And he is the head of the body, the church… Next, in verse 1:20, Paul wrote: “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.  The “all things: in 1:20 ought to be limited the same way the word “all” in 3:11 is limited, that is, to the Church, the Body of Christ.  This is the way Colossians 1:20 should be understood. 

By examining these verses we learn Paul is not saying everyone who has ever lived or died is going to heaven and this includes God’s chief enemy Satan.  Instead, verse 1:20 teaches us God has already made peace for the sinner by the blood of the cross of Christ:  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).  God’s part in reconciliation is finished.  He is not imputing the world’s trespasses to them.  The question is will the world in turn make peace with God.  This is why Paul goes on to say, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:20-21).

Summing up, reconciliation describes a state in which there has been a change of relationship from enmity to amity, from hostility to harmony, from discord to concord, from estrangement to friendship.  God’s answer to man’s alienation (Colossians 1:21) is reconciliation, initiated by Christ's finished work on the Cross (John 19:30; Romans 5:10).  Although God took the initiative in reconciliation this doesn’t mean salvation is automatically applied to one’s account.  It is personally realized by grace through faith in the shed blood of Christ.  In other words, the alienated position of the world was altered by Christ Jesus’ death so that all are now able to be saved, yet salvation is only applied to those who humbly approach the cross of Christ, in faith:  In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Ephesians 3:12; Romans 5:2;  Hebrews 11:6; 1 Peter 3:18).

Verse 1:21-22.

And you, that were sometime (once) alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:”

Paul has already said Christ Jesus made peace through the blood of His cross.  Now he underscores this truth, so to speak, in verse 1:22 saying, “(Reconciled) In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:”

The Modernist faith doesn’t believe this, but in the same breath they will say I believe in the Bible.  But how can a person make that claim while denying Christ Jesus’ shed  blood paid the price God the Father demanded for all our sin, in full, or the need of the sinner to be saved through His death?  This goes to show there is nothing modern about the denial of God’s Word.  Evidence of this truth is found in Genesis, chapter 4.  This is where we find the account of Cain and his brother Abel’s sacrifice.  The LORD had told them what type of sacrifice they should bring.  We know this because in Hebrews 11:4 we read: “By faith (in what the LORD had said) Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,” (Romans 10:17). 

God had obviously told them to bring a blood sacrifice for their atonement and Abel did just that by bringing the firstlings of his flock.  But Cain, who was destitute of faith, came up with an idea all his own.  He brought the fruit of the ground in which he had toiled.  Don’t overlook the noticeable implication.  Cain brought the fruit of his labor, in disobedience to God’s expressed will:

And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof.  And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.  And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell” (Genesis 4:3-5).

To discover the result of Cain’s disobedient act you need look no further than Genesis  4:5-7:  But unto Cain and to his offering he (the LORD) had not respect.  And Cain was very wroth (angry), and his countenance fell.  And the Lord said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth?  and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?  and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.  And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”

Plainly said, sinner Cain chose to approach the LORD God under his own terms rather than how the LORD had commanded.  Well, that’s exactly what God would say to all those who think they can approach God in their own way and by their own power today.  There are many people who don’t want to think somebody had to die in their place or that Christ Jesus had to endure the Cross in order to save them, but this is exactly what Paul is saying, there is no getting around or ahead of it.  On the one side of the Cross you have the biblical terms, alienated, enemies, “by wicked works.” Doesn’t sound good at all does it…  But on this side of the Cross Paul used the words, holy, unblameable, and unreprovable, “in His sight.”  This is what God wants for all, and this is the difference the Cross of Christ can make for all who believe.

Verse 1:22-23.

In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:  If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

In 1:22 Paul basically said Christ Jesus died for you so that He might “present you holy, unblameable, unreproveable in His sight…” and followed that up with “if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away...  Some of the Colossians were listening to the religious views of others.  These folks believed Jesus Christ wasn’t the Son of God, and His death had nothing to do with one’s salvation.  The possibility existed some of the Colossians might be swayed by these unbelievers, so Paul began verse 1:23 saying, “if” - small word but the implication is enormous.  Let’s all turn to Exodus 19:5-6 and I’ll show you what I mean.  This is where the LORD God introduced the Mosaic Covenant of Law to the nation of Israel and He began by saying, “Now therefore, if…”

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.  These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

In other words He said, if you obey all My commands, I’ll bless you.  That is the very essence of the Mosaic Covenant of the Law.  What was Israel’s response?  They raised their hands and shouted in unison, “All that the LORD hath spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8).  But remember, before Moses descended Mt Sinai, after receiving the commandments of the LORD, the Israelites were dancing naked around a golden calf Aaron had made for them (Exodus 32:1-35).  The O.T. shows from that day onward, when they began to break the Law of Moses, they were never able to keep it, try as they might, and truth be told no one, Jew or Gentile, has succeeded in keeping it ever.  Our Apostle Paul shined the light of truth on this subject in Romans 3:19-20:

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.  Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

But thanks be to God for Paul’s next statement, “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested… (Romans 3:21). 

In Colossians 1:23 we find the word “if” used in a way that has made many people anxious and worried.  They conclude those who have trusted Christ as their Savior are saved, but they might lose their salvation, “if” they are unfaithful to Him, and do not continue in the faith, grounded, and settled.   I’ll share a life experience with y’all.  I covered the doctrine of eternal salvation during one of my Bible lessons many years ago and was immediately challenged by several people in the room that held an opposing view.  They were all members of the same church.  Evidently their preacher had taught them salvation is fragile; i.e. it can be lost and nothing I showed them from the Scriptures changed their hearts.  After they left that night, I never saw or heard from them again.  However, as I was packing up to leave, the husband and wife hosting this event approached me with the question, “Is it true your salvation can be lost?”  I asked them to re-examine God’s Word to see what is and what isn’t the truth.  In other words, don’t rest on what I have said permit God to have the final Word.  Then I told them about Charles Stanley the well-known Baptist evangelist and author.  At one time he believed and taught salvation can be lost.  But years later he retracted that statement having concluded through personal Bible study that salvation is permanent.  He had evidently been taught salvation can be lost while attending Bible college, so he merely passed on the information he had been given.  He now teaches salvation is eternal. 

I can sympathize with Dr. Stanley.  I have been taught many things over the years and believed them because men made it believable.  I shared this information with the people who attended my Bible studies.  However, on more than one occasion I had to retract my statement, after the fact, having learned the truth from personal Bible study.  I don’t like retractions but it’s far better to eat a slice of humble pie than it is to let people believe something that isn’t true.  And it seems to me that nothing could be clearer or more emphatic than what the Word of God teaches on the subject of the Believer’s eternal security.  So, please consider what God has said on this topic in case you too have been taught the doctrine of eternal security erroneously.    

I’ve lost track of the number of people (of all ages) who have asked me if their salvation can be lost.  So, let’s begin with Paul’s declaration in Romans chapter 8:   

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.  For whom He did foreknow He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30).

Here we learn the Believer was predestinated (predetermined; foreordained; decreed), that he or she has been called (invited), justified (the remission of sin and absolution from guilt and punishment; or an act of free grace by which God pardons the sinner and accepts him as righteous, on account of the atonement of Christ) and glorified (to make glorious; to exalt to glory, or to celestial happiness).  

It is God who foreknew, who predestinated, who has called, justified and glorified the true Believer.  I use the term “true Believer” because I’ve met people who believe church membership and doing things for God made them a saved child of God.  But that’s hardly the case.  You are not saved simply because you do something for God.  Sitting in church no more makes you a saved individual than sitting in a garage makes you a Chevrolet.  Therefore, the three questions that follow: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect.” “Who is he that condemneth.” “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ” are answered by Romans 8:1, “there is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus;” followed by the these words at the end of the chapter:  I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In Romans 6:23 Paul said, “The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” I don’t know how people can misunderstand this verse, but they do.  Clearly, every true Believer has accepted God’s free gift of eternal life, in Christ Jesus, which means, in part, that we are not saved by our works of righteousness done in the flesh:

For we are the circumcision, the ones who worship by the Spirit of God, boast in Christ Jesus, and do not put confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3).

According to God’s Word, He saves us, not by works, “not of works lest any man should boast, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8-9).  What is the gift of God?  Eternal life.  What kind of life is the gift of God?  Eternal life.  Ergo, Christ Jesus is our life and Christ is the eternal life (I John 5:20).  It was Jesus Christ Himself that prayed, “…And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3).  

In John 17:2 Jesus Christ said: “And thou hast given Him power over all things that He should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him.

The true Believer has been given to Christ by God the Father and the Son gives eternal life to them.  As Jesus Christ closed His prayer He said, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).  Now, so far as I am personally concerned, I am positive the Father will hear and respond favorably to this prayer from His beloved Son on behalf of every Believer who has trusted in Christ’s finished work of the cross. 

This same thought is expressed by Christ in John 6:37: “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Every one included in Romans 8:29 shall come unto Christ, and every one predestinated to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, will be called, will be justified, will be glorified; and not one single one of them will be lost.  It was Jesus Christ who said, “And I give unto them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:28).  To me, this is conclusive proof the Believer’s salvation is eternally secure because they are eternally position in the beloved, i.e., Jesus Christ: 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6).

“ For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:3-7).

You can’t unfry an egg and if you’ve genuinely believed Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross for your sin, then you are saved and there’s nothing you can do to undo it.

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest (Spiritual down payment) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

True Believers are “sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”  If that’s not eternal security, what is it?  God has literally made the Believer “tamper-proof!”  Thus, your salvation and mine is totally of God alone.  There’s nothing you can do to earn it and there’s nothing you can do to lose it:

“(according to the power of God) Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: (2 Timothy 1:9-10).

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” (Colossians 2:10).

An object is said to be complete when nothing more needs to be added to it.  This completeness Paul speaks of includes the furnishing of the Believer with all the spiritual blessings required for their present and final salvation (Colossians 1:21-22, 28, 2:11-15) and nothing has been left out.  The Person and work of Christ Jesus are complete and perfect, and if anyone or any teaching seeks to add to or take away something from Christ's Person or His work, then it is a counterfeit, pure and simple.  Thus, Paul assures the Colossians of the purity of the message they had believed and encouraged them to remain steadfast to that message, for in this way, and this way only, they could attain spiritual maturity for faithful service and bring glory and praise to God the Father.

(To be continued)

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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved 




Friday, January 24, 2020

Colossians 1:19-20 (L 06)




Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                    Published: January 24, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

***********************************************************************************************

Welcome to HBS.  It’s good to have all of you back again.

I appreciate you and your faithfulness to God’s Word especially these past few months.  Please know my health continues to improve.  

In Colossians 1:14 Paul reminded the Colossians of the enormous price and sacrifice Jesus Christ paid to secure their redemption saying:  In whom we have (not hope for) redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

Paul speaks again of Christ Jesus’ redemptive work in Romans 3:23-26:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness (not ours) for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

We need to get a handle on two terms Paul used before we proceed.  Redemption” means:  the purchase of God's divine favor by the death and sufferings of Christ; the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God's violated law by the atonement of Christ (See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 7:23).

The word “atonement” means: agreement; peace; reconciliation, after enmity or controversy (See Romans 5).  Everyone born into this world enters on the wrong side of God.  Due to our sin nature we are anti-God and therefore in the state of enmity.  The only exception is God’s Son who was without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15).

Since the first century people have been trying to get right with God by adding their best intentions and their good deeds to Christ’s perfect sacrifice hoping to please God and be saved.  But the Bible clearly says you can’t earn God’s Grace it’s the “free gift of God” to all who believe (Ephesians 2:8-10).  The Romans passage above supports this truth and declares the propitiation (the sacrifice that fully paid) for our sins is applied through faith (belief in what God has said) inHis shed blood” (alone).  But, what does it mean to have faith in His (divine) blood?  It has been said, if you have “faith in His blood,” you have many things.  First, since the Bible is the source of God’s command to have “faith in His blood,” and you have that faith, then clearly you understand the Bible is true and worthy to be believed even to the saving of your eternal soul, which is no small detail.

Next, you understand His blood is not only unique it is powerful; therefore, God’s Son is extraordinary and not like us.  He entered this world fully God and fully Man which means unlike us He did not possess a sin nature.  It also means you understand that salvation is not a work of your own but only comes through the sacrificial death of God’s Son.  You also acknowledge that sin itself is such a grievous offense against the righteousness of God the Father that only the blood, the very life, of the Lord Jesus Christ is sufficient for its price.

Finally, if you have “faith in His blood,” you must have a dispensational understanding of the gospel of grace (whether you’re aware of this or not) since salvation by “faith in His blood, alone, is known only through the writings of Paul.

So, encompassed in these four words, “faith in His blood,” is nearly the entire statement of faith held by every dispensational Bible believing church.  So then, salvation is not of works, but of faith in what God has revealed to man, dispensationaly speaking.  In the Church Age, salvation is realized only through the gospel delivered to us through our Apostle Paul (Romans 16:25-26, 2:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  Add in the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and The Virgin Birth (both of which are implied above) and you’ve got the whole package simply by having “faith in his blood.”
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Please open your Bible at Colossians 1:19-20.

For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through (what) 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.”

As Paul closes out chapter 1, he gives the Colossians (and us) two valid reasons for Christ Jesus’ preeminence (1:17-18):  1) All the fullness of deity exists in Him.  2) By His death (His shed blood) God “reconciled all things unto himself, by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” 

Paul is the only apostle that emphasizes the redemptive power of Christ Jesus’ blood:

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;” (Ephesians 1:7).

In Ephesians 3:17-19, Paul speaks of the great message he alone proclaimed and prays we might comprehend in order that we may know “the love of Christ Jesus” and be “filled with all the fullness of God:”

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Romans 5:1-11).

The O.T. Believers did not know God the Son as we know Him today.  Truth be told, He wasn’t known at all.  Jesus Christ was there, but only in veiled phrasing and types.  The nation of Israel expected the promised One, i.e., their Messiah (God’s anointed) but they certainly weren’t expecting God’s Son to arrive on scene.  But just because this isn’t spoken of in plain language in the O.T. doesn’t mean the Son of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, didn’t exist.  We learn through the progressive revelation of Scripture there’s never been a time when He didn’t exist. 

I just thought of a biblical example in support of my statement above that the Israelites didn’t know God had a Son even though the O.T. Scriptures indicated His existence.  Please go to Luke 24:25-27.  This is where the risen Lord on the day of His resurrection appeared and walked along with two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus:  Then he (the risen Lord) said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).

You’d think the twelve chosen apostles and His disciples knew His true identity, and His plan and purpose, but you’d be wrong.  Please turn to Luke 16:13-17:

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias (Elijah); and others, Jeremias (Jeremiah), or one of the prophets.  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?”   

The silence that ensued could be felt, I imagine, until the spokesperson for the group, Simon Peter, chimed in with this statement: 

Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” (See also Luke 18:28-34).

The Israelites alone had the oracles and ordinances of God but they didn’t see Jesus Christ in them (Romans 3:2).  Paul remarked on this fact 1 Corinthians 2:6-8:

Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:  But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

Had the Romans and the Jewish leaders fully understood Christ’s character, the truth in respect to His incarnation, and seen the wisdom of His plan and His work they would not have put the Son of God to death (Psalm 2:1-3; Acts 3:17).  Therefore, even though Israel didn’t recognize Christ Jesus as God’s Son, and many still do not today, clearly He is the great “I AM” (Jehovah - Yahweh) of the Old Testament.  He’s the One that dealt with the nation of Israel from day one through Moses and the prophets.

By the way, you’d be hard-pressed to find the term “Trinity” in the Bible too, but that doesn’t mean the concept isn’t there (See Genesis 1:1:2; Matthew 28:19; John 1:1-3; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-7).  The Jews missed this truth as well.  They insisted there is only one true God, that is, Yahweh.

 Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it: 2 That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command thee, thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son, all the days of thy life; and that thy days may be prolonged.  Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.  Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:” (Deuteronomy 6:1-4).

Then said I, Lo, I come: In the volume of the book it is written of me,” (Psalm 40:7;).

We don’t learn who “Me” is until the Son of Man appeared incarnate (Luke 2:1-21; Philippians 2:7-8).  Nowhere in the four gospels do you find Jesus Christ being recognized as the Son of God.  Instead, you learn Jesus had no place to lay His head (Luke 9:58).  From His birth to His death you find Him subjected to humiliation and ridicule by the very people He came to redeem.  The multitudes followed Him for the show and the free lunch.  The Jewish leaders plotted against Him, Martha rebuked Him, Peter denied Him 3 times in succession, and Judas betrayed Him.  Here we learn His deity is veiled by His humanity.  But after his baptism in the River Jordan He spoke of another type of baptism to come; we understand this to be His Cross

But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished” (Luke 12:50).

Thank God we know Him no longer “after the flesh (2 Corinthians 5:16) for, it’s been said, how could Christ in straitened circumstances mean so much to us as the Lord of glory who lovingly dispenses the riches of His Grace and every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies to all who believe His gospel in this dispensation.     

Even in Christ Jesus’ resurrection His glory was veiled, how else could the eleven have seen Him in the upper room and elsewhere?  Probably the greatest display of His glory, while on earth, took place at the Transfiguration when appearing with Moses and Elias, His face shone like the sun and His clothing was white as light!  Yet, we find Peter seeing this and saying, “Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.” (Matthew 17:4).

Compare that episode with the bright light that blinded Saul of Tarsus when the glorified Lord appeared to him on the Damascus RD (Acts 9:3-4, 23:13-16).  Once again, it is Paul, and no one else, who says, “Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know him no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16).  The Jews who believed in Christ Jesus’s name knew Him as Israel’s suffering Savior, however the Body of Christ knows Him as the glorified and risen Lord of glory: 

God also hath highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name” (Philippians 2:9).  

Paul doesn’t speak of Christ Jesus in veiled terminology; he tells it as it is.  For instance, we just learned through Pauline revelation that Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God (1:15), He’s the Creator God (1:16), the Great Sustainer (1:17) and in relation to the Church, the Body of Christ, He is the supreme Head and the Master of death (1:18).

Verse 19.

For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell;”

What is Paul saying?  I’m glad you asked.  Some people believe Paul’s referring to the Lord’s incarnation, while others think the subject is Christ Jesus’ completed work of reconciliation, and they base that belief on Paul’s declaration in verse 1:20:

And having made peace (past tense) 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” (1:20). 

This Bible teacher believes Paul’s referring to the Lord’s work of reconciliation.  So, it might be better to understand “fullness” as referring to the fullness of God’s plan of reconciliation in Him:  

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:19).  

In other words, Paul is declaring the fullness of God’s saving grace and provision of salvation resides solely and totally in the saving work of Christ “through the blood of the cross” (1:20).

For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Timothy 2:5).

This Pauline teaching is significant because the false teachers in Colosse were saying something totally different.  They insisted Christ’s death (His saving work of the cross) was insufficient for salvation.  The legalistic Jews for instance retained the Mosaic Law (2:14), they imposed circumcision on the gentiles (2:11), and followed strict dietary restraints (2:16).  This program was set forth in the Dispensation of Law in times past, and the nation of Israel was obligated to obey all the LORD’s commands *Leviticus 26:3).  But now, Paul is saying the Cross is enough.  In the Dispensation of God’s Grace, works of the flesh, of any kind, cannot please God.  Faith in what He has said, dispensationaly speaking, does please Him (Hebrews 9:22, 11:6).

Verse 1:20.

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” (1:20).

Do you see what this verse is saying?  God “made peace” with the world through Christ Jesus’ shed blood and “reconciled all things unto himself;” and this was accomplished while we were yet sinners and enemies of God (Romans 5:7-9).  

In Ephesians 2:12 Paul speaks of the gentiles who in times past were alienated from the covenant promises of Israel, without God, and without hope in this world.  In Ephesians 4:18 we find the Gentiles “alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them.”  In Ephesians 2:17 we read the Lord sent His servants to preach peace to them which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  Those who were afar off were the gentiles who were counted dead in trespasses and sins.  

Furthermore, between the Gentiles and the Jewish nation there had been a middle wall of partition (Ephesians 2:14).  This wall of exclusivity was erected at Mt. Sinai.  It was a wall made up of the law, ordinances, and the Jew’s religion.  The Israelites themselves  were nigh to the LORD.  They were called “the Commonwealth of Israel.” Then in Ephesians 2:15-16, we learn that Jesus Christ, by His death on the cross, broke down the middle wall of partition, the law of commandments in ordinances; that He might reconcile both Jews and Gentiles unto God in one Body by “the blood of His cross.” 

This same truth is found in Colossians 2:13-14 where we read, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us (gentiles), which was contrary to us, and took it (the ordinances) out of the way, nailing it to the cross.”

If we did not have other Scriptures to teach us otherwise, we might believe what many churches are teaching these days, i.e., the risen Christ, immediately after His death, sent the eleven apostles to preach the ministry of reconciliation to the Gentiles; that these eleven apostles knew that the law had been nailed to the cross, and that all religious barriers had been removed and all national preferences and racial distinctions had been eradicated.  But in studying the ministry of the apostles in the first thirteen chapters of Acts, we learn that this is contrary to the facts.  For instance, in Acts 10:28 we have the Apostle Peter saying it was not lawful for him to enter a Gentiles’ home let alone preach the gospel to them, and this was about eight years after Christ’s death on the Cross.  There’s a Bible verse in Acts 11:19 that I dare say most of Christendom is not aware of.  It says the gospel was being preached to “the Jews only.” 

Note Peter’s message in Acts 5:29-32.  There Peter preached to Israel that God had raised Christ from the dead to be Israel’s Prince and Saviour there is no reference to the Gentiles being included in God’s salvation plan at this time.  If we compare Acts 5:29-32 with Ephesians 1:19-23, we find that significant difference I spoke of earlier.  In Acts 5 we learn from Peter that God raised Christ from the dead to be their Prince and a Saviour to give Israel repentance and forgiveness of sins, whereas, in Ephesians 1:19-23, Paul said God raised Christ from the dead to be Head over all things unto the Church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.

(To be continued).

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GJ  Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved


Thursday, January 16, 2020

Colossians 1:15-18 (L 05)




Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
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Established November 2008                                    Published: January 16, 2020

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

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Welcome, one and all, to HBS.

Let’s Review.

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (1:12-14)

Colossians 1:9-14 is Paul’s heartfelt prayer on behalf of the relatively new converts in Colosse.  He prayed for their continued spiritual growth, saying be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.  He also prayed for their strength and endurance.  Paul also reminded these Believers that salvation is entirely the work of God, He saved (rescued) them from the power of darkness (Satan’s evil empire), and translated (to remove people from one place to another) them into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

I didn’t explain verse 1:13b in the prior lesson so I’ll do that now:

“…and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Some people believe Paul’s advocating the same gospel the Lord Jesus Christ commanded the twelve to preach to Israel, that is, the gospel of the kingdom, but is this true?  No, of course not.   Although some people teach the Church is spiritual Israel, and the members of the Body of Christ will rule and reign with Christ Jesus on earth, Paul is actually saying the Church is under His authority (Colossians 1:18).  The Colossians were redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and partake of the grace of God in this dispensation.  They are no longer under the power of darkness, but have been translated (removed) “and made to sit  in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

Paul writes about the Believer’s position in Christ in heavenly places in

Ephesians 2:5-7, so let’s look at it:

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made alive) together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

The LORD God promised the nation of Israel a literal kingdom on the earth and a King to lead them.  When the Lord Jesus Christ came into this world, that prophesied kingdom was at hand (Matthew 3:2, 4:17; Mark 1:15).  The Apostle Matthew presented Jesus as Israel’s King (Messiah) in his gospel.  It opens with the declaration “Jesus Christ, the Son of David…” (Matthew 1:1) to emphasize the fact He came from the royal line of king David in accordance with the Davidic Covenant.  John the Baptist had gone forth as the King’s herald, to prepare His way, and the twelve apostles proclaimed His royal rights as they preached “the gospel of the kingdom” to the nation of Israel only (Acts 11:19).  This was all in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (See Isaiah 9:6-7).

Paul never refers to the Lord Jesus Christ as our king, instead, He identifies Him “as our Lord and Savior, our hopethe Head of the Body of Christ:”  This knowledge isn’t found anywhere in the O.T; but you will find it in Paul’s writings:

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Timothy 1:1-2).

The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:18-23).

Since Christ Jesus is the Head of the Church, every true Believer ought to know what the Church is and when it began.  The traditional view and the majority of Christendom believe the Church, the Body of Christ, began on Pentecost.  These folks say membership into the Body of Christ is through the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Since the baptism of the Holy Spirit occurred on Pentecost, the Church began at that time.  That sounds reasonable, until you read/study the writings of our Apostle Paul.

I’ve listed three rather obvious obstacles for the traditional view below:

1) God clearly said through our apostle Paul the Church, the Body of Christ, was a “mystery” (secret) that had been kept hidden in the mind of God since before the foundation of the earth (1 Corinthians 2:6-8; Ephesians 3:1-9).  Furthermore this secret was revealed only to Saul/Paul.  This presents a serious problem for the traditional view because Paul made this declaration circa 37 AD long after Pentecost.

2) There is no biblical evidence to support the view that anyone at Pentecost recognized the Church, the Body of Christ, had come into existence.  The biblical evidence will show at Pentecost the twelve knew nothing about the Body of Christ or that God is now saving both the Jew and the Gentile into one body.  Peter only addressed the Jews at Pentecost (Acts 2:14).  Paul, on the other hand, declared the Church to be a living, breathing, organism, (not a man-made structure) in which the Jew and the Gentile are equal in the eyes of God.  This terminology isn’t found in the four gospels or the letters of Peter, James, John, and Jude.  Only Paul writes about the Body of Christ (Romans 12:5, 16:25-27; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17, 12:12-13, 18, 25-27; Ephesians 1:23, 2:11-22, 16, 3:3:3-9, 4:4, 12, 16, 5:30; Galatians 3:26-28; Colossians 1:18, 24-47, 2:17-19, 3:15).

3) Peter and his contemporaries were looking expectedly for the fulfillment of prophecy, i.e., the kingdom of God on earth, which the LORD God (Jehovah) had revealed to the nation of Israel through the prophets, not the beginning of the new Church Age.  The O.T. does not contain any information about the Body of Christ.  The prophets, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Jesus Christ Himself did not mention at any time that Jew and Gentile would be considered equal, in Christ, in one body.  Instead, we find Peter quoting the prophet Joel on the day of Pentecost.  He expected the  sun to be turned into darkness and the moon into blood” (Joel 2:31; Acts 2:15-21).  Peter was anticipating the Lord’s return to judge Israel’s sin then establish His kingdom.  There is no language that indicates His return is for the purpose of establishing the Church, the Body of Christ, with both Jews and Gentiles to the glory of God the Father!  You find this information only in Paul’s writings - Romans through Philemon.

So then, Paul is saying the Colossians have been removed from Satan’s kingdom of darkness “into the kingdom of his dear son” who is presently in heaven, until God the Father makes His enemies “thine footstool” (Psalm 110:1; Revelation 19:11-16).
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Please open your Bible at Colossians 1:15-18.

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 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: And he is before all things, and by 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 might have the preeminence.  For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;”

After Paul prayed that the saints at Colosse might continue to walk in a manner fitting to their new life in Christ Jesus, He immediately addressed the chief concern of this letter, i.e., the exaltation and preeminence of Christ in His person and work.  In addition to enlightening these Believers about their Lord and Savior, Paul indirectly refuted and rebuked the Gnostics and the Jewish traditionalists of His day who were influencing some of the folks in this assembly as to their theories. (Ephesians 4:14-15).

In response to the Gnostics theory (claim) that Jesus Christ was merely a man, Paul revealed Christ Jesus’ relationship first to God the Father, second, to creation, and third, to the Church which is His body.  And remember Paul could give first-hand testimony about these things.  He had at one time considered Jesus Christ a blasphemous fraud. But in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 Paul’s clear purpose in opening this chapter is to show that the hope God has placed before all mankind is not based on the guesswork of men or likelihoods, but on the testimony of eyewitnesses many of which were still living when he wrote this letter to the Colossians circa 56-57 AD:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.  After that, he was seen of James (His half-brother); then of all the apostles.  And last of all the was seen of me (Saul of Tarsus) also, as of one born out of due time.” 

Paul said the gospel he received from the risen Lord, is the very same gospel he preached to all, that is, nothing added and nothing taken away from it, and in so doing presents the resurrection of Christ as a historical fact.  He then names several eye-witnesses of Christ’s resurrection; the distraught apostle Peter was the first of these.  Paul then said he too had seen the risen Lord.  We understand this to be while enroute to Damascus to persecute the Jews who believed Jesus is the Son of God (Acts 8:34-37).  There are three accounts of his conversion in the Book of Acts alone, and again and again in his letters he speaks of it and refers to it (see Acts 9, 22:1-21, and 26:1-23).  The conversion of Saul of Tarsus, the chief persecutor of those who believed in Jesus’ name is no small thing.  It is one of the most significant events in the history of the first-century church.  

Christ Jesus’ Relationship to the Father

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:” (1:15).

Paul prayed the Colossians “might be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding…” and “increasing in the knowledge of God;” (1:9-10), and in 1:15 helps them with this by presenting them with the knowledge that the Lord Jesus Christ “is the image of the invisible God.”  But what does that mean? Scripture holds the answer.  The very same word is found in Hebrews 10:1:

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect,”

Here the writer of Hebrews makes a clear distinction between “a shadow” and substance, i.e. “the very image” of things that are.  The law was “a shadow of good things to come,” however “a shadow” is not “the very image” itself.  Clearly said, the image here is “the thing” itself, so this must mean the same thing in Colossians 1:15 because not only is the same word used, but also because we read Jesus Christ is “the image of the invisible God…”  

Paul is referring to two separate Persons of the Godhead, specifically, God the Father and God the Son.   I’ve been on the teaching end of the doctrine of the Trinity for more than twenty-four years, so believe me when I say this is difficult for some people to understand.  However, this is what God has revealed in Scripture about Himself, so since God said it, we’re to believe it.  The doctrine of the Trinity states that in the unity of the Godhead there are three eternal and co-equal Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the same in essence but distinct in their role — three distinct Persons but one Being all capable of expressing thought, will, and emotion.  The shortest Bible verse is John 11:35, “Jesus wept” for instance. 

We find the three distinct Persons of the Godhead present at Jesus’ baptism: 

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16-17).

With Christ Jesus’ relationship to the Father in mind, let’s review the following Bible passages”

Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?  he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?  the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me:” (John 14:8-9).

In the beginning was the Word, 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 any thing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).

Let’s look at one more; please turn to John 10:29-30:

My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.  I and my Father are one.”

The Lord Jesus Christ is not speaking about being united with the Father in plan and purpose, although that is true, but in power.  He affirmed He is able to rescue and keep His people from all enemies, and that He had supreme power over all creation and affirmed this of the Father as well.  In this way they “are one.”  The Jews listening to Him understood that He was claiming equality with the LORD God (Jehovah) in regard to supreme authority.  We know the Jews took issue with this because the next verse says, “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him” (10:31).

The conclusion is that God is invisible except in Christ Jesus who is God in bodily form (Philippians 2:6-12; Colossians 2:9).  This is why John 1:18 says, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Christ’s Relationship to Creation

“Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 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: (1:15-16).

The very next thing our Apostle Paul shows the Colossians (and us) is, “… (He) is the firstborn of every creature:” (1:15).  The first thing I should probably point out to y’all is the term “firstborn” does not necessarily indicate that one was born first.  It is rather a title, which was usually bestowed upon the one that was born first, but not always.  According to Jewish custom, and others, firstborn meant the first male child that was born.  He assumed the father’s place at death, received the inheritance, and assumed his father’s responsibilities.  But, the firstborn was not necessarily the one born first.  The clearest biblical example of this teaching is Abraham’s descendants Ishmael and Isaac.  According to this account, Ishmael was born first, but Isaac was the firstborn, that is, “the child of promise” (Genesis 21-28).  We find this again with Esau and Jacob.  Esau was the first male child born, but he wasn’t the firstborn.  The same is true of Rueben and Joseph, Manasseh and Ephraim, and so on. 

So then, the title “the firstborn of (all creation) does not mean Christ Jesus was a created being or the first born.  Instead, it means Christ is the Head of all creation for Paul said, “(He) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 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:   

In John 1:3 we read, “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. Although man is able to “make” things, only God can create.   Paul affirms this in Ephesians 3:9 and implies not only the individuality of God and Son but that they coexist:

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:” 

In Revelation the Apostle John again affirms Christ Jesus “created all things:”

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11).

Paul echoes this statement in Colossians 1:16 in saying, “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: (in keeping with the context Paul is addressing the heresy/philosophy of the Gnostics in Colosse by emphasizing that Christ Jesus is supreme over all things, and this includes any and all angelic beings; see 2:10, 15, and 18 for) all things were created by him, and for him:

So, as I pointed out earlier, Christ Jesus is the firstborn (the Head) of all creation but there’s more.  In verse 1:17, Paul said, “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  Said differently, He is the Head of eternity.  The word “before” has to do with time and we know this because Paul said, “…by him all things consist. The implication being Christ Jesus had to be before them in time in order to hold them together.  So the Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of eternity. 

The term “consist” as used here means to hold together or to cling together.   The Lord Jesus Christ preserves all His creation, in other words.  This same truth is found in Hebrews 1:3: “Who being the brightness of (God’s) glory, and the (very substance) of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power.”


In the book of Psalms we read of Christ Jesus’ creative power:

By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth” (Psalm 33:6).  

For he spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 39:9).

Think this through.  All things in the heavens, and in the earth were created by the Word, i.e. Christ Jesus, the Great Communicator of the Godhead, spoke all things into existence.  With a Word the visible and the invisible came into being.  That’s power!  But not only that, “by him all things consist.”  Plainly said, if it were not for the Lord Jesus Christ, the universe as we know it would fall apart.  As a child, I used to stare up into the night sky in awe of its vastness.  I thought about why it exists and searched for answers as to why I exist.  You see, even then I knew there was supreme being.  Much later in life I learned it was God the Son:  

The heavens declare the glory of God (the Son); And the firmament sheweth his handywork” (In Psalm 19:1).

Christ Jesus’ Relationship to the Church

And he is the head of the body (of Christ), the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (1:18).

No other apostle but Paul speaks about the Lord Jesus Christ being the Head of the Body of Christ, that is, the Church (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22, 4:12; and Colossians 1:18).  The Body of Christ recognizes Him as the Head of the one body; the One who has preeminence re: all things related to His body. That being said, if any person or church is not under the control of the Head, then they are not in the center of God’s will.  

I alluded to this earlier, but it bears repeating.  The Body of Christ is not a church denomination.  It is not an organization with an earthly, ecclesiastical head.  The Bible recognizes the true Church is called the Body of Christ.  In Ephesians 2:16 Paul said that it is God’s purpose to, “…reconcile both (the Jews and the Gentiles) unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity (the quality of being an enemy) thereby:

In 1 Corinthians 12:13 Paul has this to say about true Believers, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Therefore, I pray y’all understand this has absolutely nothing to do with church rules and regulations or acceptance in one of 500+ Christian church organizations in America today.  The true Church is not visible.  The true Church is organic in nature, made up of true Believers all over the world, in and out of every known denomination, and God the Father recognizes only that Church.  I don’t mean to upset people, but try as you might you’ll not find the terms Adventist, Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, etc. in the Bible.  These religious systems are man-made; they are not of God; therefore, He does not recognize them.  He desires that the walls of exclusivity they have erected would come tumbling down, much like the walls of Jericho, and that every true Believer would recognize the basis for our unity, our baptism into Christ by the Holy Spirit, and then experience and enjoy true oneness, i.e., unity:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” (Ephesians 4:11-13).

There can be no true unity in mere church organizations.  There might be union, of a sort, but not the type of true unity our Apostle Paul writes about.  But thanks be to God the Father as we read about Christ Jesus being baptized into out death on Calvary, and recognize that death was not His – He was sinless; He had no death to die; that was our death.  When you come to terms with this truth and accept His shed blood as payment for all your sin, we become one with Him and He with us at Calvary:

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).

This is not just one way to be baptized into Christ Jesus it is the only way.  The Bible speaks of no other.  Adding to that, this is the only way Believers can be baptized into one another.  There is no true unity apart from Christ Jesus for He is the Head of the one body.  So then, that’s the relationship of Christ Jesus to the one Church, the Body of Christ. 

In Colossians 1:18b Paul also said this about Christ Jesus:

“…(He) is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead;

Paul isn’t saying He was the first to be raised from the dead.  He is the first One who arose from the dead by His own power, thereby demonstrating His power and superiority over hell and death:

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death” (Revelation 1:18).

In Ephesians 1:20-23, Paul wrote about the mighty power of God:

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:19-23).

Verse 1:18b.

“…that in all things He might have the preeminence.

The Lord Jesus Christ is “the Head.”  He is the Head of creation, the Body of Christ, and He is the Master of death, so “that in all things He might have preeminence.”  Paul used the term “might” here because the possibility exists that some folks might not recognize His preeminence over all things.  This was certainly the case in Colosse and it remains a problem for many people today.  I know people who agree the Holy Trinity exists, but they disagree with their individuality and their individual roles.  Some see Christ Jesus as sitting at the “kid’s table” so to speak, while our Apostle Paul clearly teaches not only do all three exist, they all are equally God.  

Something Daniel Webster, the 19th century statesman and convinced Christian said comes to mind.  A Unitarian minister asked him this question, “Mr. Webster, can you comprehend how Jesus Christ could be both God and Man?"  Mr. Webster replied, “No, sir, I cannot understand it, and I would be ashamed to acknowledge Christ as my Savior if I could understand it.  He could be no greater than myself, and such is my conviction of accountability to God, my sense of sinfulness before Him, and my knowledge of my own incapacity to recover myself, that I feel I need a superhuman Savior.” 

Folks that “superhuman Savior” is the Head of the Body of Christ and all are welcome, if you approach the Cross, where God’s Grace was publicly displayed to all, in faith.    

(To be continued.  Publication date uncertain).

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GJ  Heitzman’s Ministry
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