Colossians 1:17-20 Commentary

 

 

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Colossians 1:17-20 Commentary

Colossians 1:17 He is before all things and in Him all things hold together.  (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kai autos estin (3SPAI) pro panton kai ta panta en auto sunesteken. (3SRAI)
Amplified:  And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together)
 (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV
: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
MLB
(Berkley): and He is Himself before all, and in Him all things hold together.
Phillips
:  He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation.
 (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest:  And He himself antedates all things, and all things in Him cohere.  (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: and himself is before all, and the all things in him have consisted.

REFERENCES

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Colossians 1:20-23 Reconciled to God

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AND HE IS BEFORE ALL THINGS: kai autos estin (3SPAI) pro panton:  (Isa 43:11, 12, 13, 44:6 Mic 5:2 John 1:1, 2, 3, 8:58, 17:5)  

"And He Himself existed before all things" (Amp), 

Literally "He is continually ("is" = present tense) before all things" emphasizing His absolute existence.

“Christ existed before anything else existed”, “...before anything was created.”

He - Emphatic in the Greek sentence. The personal pronoun He (autos) is used for emphasis ("He Himself" or "He and no other" is the idea).  As Moule says

HE and no other who could even seem to rival or obscure His sublime eminence.

Lightfoot says; “The autos (He) is as necessary for the completeness of the meaning, as the estin (is). The one emphasizes the personality, as the other declares the pre-existence.” The emphatic use therefore means “He himself, He and no other” so that among supernatural rulers Jesus has no rival for the lordship of the universe or of the church (next verse).

Vine adds that Paul  makes a clear

declaration of His eternal preexistence as the Son; for the whole passage is a presentation of His Deity, His relationship, His creative and sustaining power as “the Son of His [the Father’s] love” (v13). The teaching that His Sonship had a beginning at His birth or at any other time is utterly erroneous, and derogatory to His glory. The apostle does not say “He was before all things,” but “He is.” Therefore his preexistence is absolute existence. (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)

He is (present tense  = continually = timeless present = the existence of the Son is apart from all time ~ expresses immutability of existence) describes Christ’s absolute existence as the eternal “I Am” (ego eimi - see Exodus 3:14 (note) for same phrase in Greek translation of Hebrew). Thus Paul does not say that Jesus “came to be before all things,” but that “He is continually (which gives the sense of “I exist, I am”) before all things”

Jesus claimed His eternal timeless existence before the Jews when they asked Him

"You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" to which Jesus replied "Truly, truly (Amen, Amen), I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am (ego eimi). Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple." (Jn 8:57, 58, 59)

Spurgeon

Note how Paul harps upon that one string, “He.” See how much he dwells upon the divine person of the blessed Lord Jesus Christ. He will never have done praising him, he keeps on heaping up epithets to magnify that blessed name; and he truly was in the Spirit of God when he did this, for it is the work of the Spirit to glorify Jesus Christ. He makes him great in our hearts, and then we try to make him great by our words and by our acts.

How can anyone ever read this passage, and yet say that Christ Jesus is only a man? By what twisting of words on such language as this be applied to the most eminent prophet or apostle who ever lived? Surely he must be God by whom all things were created, and by whom all things consist.

Why did they seek to stone Him? Stoning was the normal punishment for blasphemy in the Old Testament. This attempt to stone Christ shows they believed He was committing blasphemy and understood He was claiming to be God. Jesus Christ is not some lesser created being who later created the universe or matter, but the eternal God Himself who existed as the I Am before anything was created. As an aside, you need to file these verses away in your mind so that you will be able to give a reply to the skeptic who says Jesus never claimed to be God. That is clearly a misconception by many skeptics/agnostics!

Hemphill commenting on I Am notes that...

Various scholars have suggested different translations of the name of God used in this passage. The name is from the imperfect stem of the Hebrew verb "to be." The imperfect tense denotes an action that started in the past, continues in the present, but is not yet complete. Many Bible scholars follow the simple translation that we have in our text, "I am who I am." One of our Old Testament scholars at Southwestern translates it this way: "I AM who I have always been." I like this translation because it affirms that the God who spoke from the burning bush is the same God who worked through the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It also implies His ability and desire to work through Moses in the present and the future. However we translate this name, we can be assured that it affirms God's self-existence and His eternality (Hemphill, K. Names of God)

Keil  and Delitzsch suggest that...

The repetition of the same word [I am] suggests the idea of uninterrupted continuance and boundless duration.

Thomas Constable quotes several sources writing that...

“To the Hebrew ‘to be’ does not just mean to exist as all other beings and things do as well—but to be active, to express oneself in active being, ‘The God Who acts.’ ‘I am what in creative activity and everywhere I turn out to be,’ or ‘I am (the God) that really acts.’ (Sigmund Mowinckel, “The Name of the God of Moses,)


“I am that I am”
means “God will reveal Himself in His actions through history.” (See Davis, John J. "The Patriarchs' Knowledge of Jehovah," Grace Theological J 1963 - discussion specifically of Exodus 6:3)

 

Another writer paraphrased God’s answer, “It is I Who am with you.” In other words, the One Who had promised to be with the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had sent Moses to them.

 

“The answer Moses receives is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a name. It is an assertion of authority, a confession of an essential reality, and thus an entirely appropriate response to the question Moses poses. (Durham) (Expository Notes)

Swanson writes that

I AM WHO I AM, i.e., a title of God with a focus on presence, care, concern, and relationship (Swanson, J. Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew. Old Testament)

Is God-?' 'Does God-?'
Man's 'Why?' and 'How?'
In ceaseless iteration storm the sky.

'I am'; I will'; 'I do'—sure Word of God,
Yea and Amen, Christ answers each cry;
To all our anguished questionings and doubts
Eternal affirmation and reply.

In John 17:5 Jesus prayed...

now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was. (cp Jn 17:24, 1:18, 3:13, 10:30, 14:9, 1Jn 1:2)

In John's first epistle he notes Jesus' eternality...

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life--2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (1Jn 1:1, 2, 3)

In Rev 22:13 (note) He said

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning (arche) and the end. (cp Re 1:8-note, Re 21:6-note)

Paul writes that Jesus

existed in the form of God (yet) did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped" (Php 2:6-note)

Before (4253) is the Greek preposition "pro" which can be translated in front of, prior to, before and can refer to both of place and time. Figuratively pro speaks of precedence, preference, dignity. Pro thus states the precedence of Christ in time and in place (rank) for He always existed before creation and thus has the preeminence as Creator.

John has a similar thought (speaking primarily to His precedence in terms of time) in the preface to his gospel...

John 1:1-3  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Moule says Christ is before

in respect of priority of existence; the priority of eternity.

Ray Stedman points out that what Paul is saying is that Christ

is outside His own creation; He was there first (which) describes His eternity as the Son of God. As C. S. Lewis has pointed out, He is over creation as a King and a Sovereign, not subject to it or part of it, but intimately related to it."

Dutch theologian, Abraham Kuyper adds that

"When Jesus looks at his universe from his exalted throne at the right hand of the Father, and he sees the great galaxies whirling in space, the planets and the people upon this planet, and all the minute details of life here including the details of our individual lives, there is nothing that he sees anywhere of which he cannot say, "Mine!"

In a verse that surely refers to Christ, Solomon records Him saying that

"The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old." (Pr 8:22)

Isaiah records

"I, even I, am the LORD; and there is no savior besides Me. It is I who have declared and saved and proclaimed, and there was no strange god among you; so you are My witnesses," declares the LORD, "And I am God. "Even from eternity I am (ego eimi) He and there is none who can deliver out of My hand; I act and who can reverse it?" (Isa 43:11, 12, 13) "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me." (Isa 44:6)

In the prophet Micah we read

"But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." (Mic 5:2)

John writes that

"In the beginning was (imperfect tense = conveys idea of no origin for the Logos, simply continuous existence) the Word, and the Word was (imperfect tense) with God, and the Word was (imperfect tense) God. He was (imperfect tense) in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being."

The writer of Hebrews speaks to the eternality of the Son explaining that

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever." (see note Hebrews 13:8)

The ancient heretic Arius (Arianism or Arianism in Wikipedia), who denied that Jesus was truly God, said there was a time when Jesus didn't exist. Paul's words here do not allow for such a false teaching to be true, either in the days of Arius or our own day.

AND IN HIM ALL THINGS HOLD TOGETHER: kai ta panta en auto sunesteken (3SRAI):
(1Sa 2:8; Ps 75:3)

"and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together)" (Amp),

"in union with Him all things have their proper place" (GNB),

"He holds all creation together" (NLT), "through Him the universe is a harmonious whole" (Weymouth),

"in union with Him all things have their proper place" (UBS),

"through Him everything has stability" (German Common Language),

"He holds all things in unity" (NJB)

Vine adds that

"in" (en) "here is instrumental, and has not the same significance as at the beginning of Col 1:16. He is not only the center of divine counsels, He is the acting agent in upholding the universe." (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)

Hold together (4921) (sunistemi/sunistao from sun = together with + hístemi = set, place, stand) means literally to place, stand, hold or set together and is used in this verse in the sense of cohere or hold together firmly so that the parts form a united mass.

Sunistao conveys the idea of consistence, harmony, congruence. It represents the unifying power, the integrating principle. Every atom in the universe holds together because it is in Christ. There is order and harmony in all creation. It is a universe, not a chaos, and Christ is the unifying force. Do you feel like your life is in chaos, falling apart? Christ has the power to "hold your life together". Will you trust Him to do so? The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus "upholds all things by the word of His power" or as the Amplified version says -  Jesus is "upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power"! (He 1:3-note) He alone is able!

The perfect tense of the verb "hold together" emphasizes the permanence of the cohesion in Christ. He created all things at a point in time, making them cohere and this cohesion continues to the present or as the Message says He "holds it all together right up to this moment."

Sunistao - 16x in NT - Lk. 9:32; Rom. 3:5; 5:8; 16:1; 2 Co. 3:1; 4:2; 5:12; 6:4; 7:11; 10:12, 18; 12:11; Gal. 2:18; Col. 1:17; 2 Pet. 3:5

Lightfoot writes that Christ

is the principle of cohesion in the Universe. He impresses upon creation that unity and solidarity which makes it a cosmos instead of a chaos.

Vine adds that

Christ is the personal means by which all the parts of the universe are maintained in cohesion. This solidarity and coherence are not due merely to natural forces and principles: everything depends upon His continuous sustaining power. Even the force of gravitation, which regulates the condition of things, is not only due to His creative act, but is the effect of His upholding power. When the present universe is dissolved (2Pe 3:10-note), it will be His act." (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)

Ellicott says that

Christ was the conditional element of their creation, the causal element of their persistence...The declaration...is in fact tantamount to "in Him they live and more and have their being".

The UBS Handbook adds that

one may say “everything fits together because of Christ” or “Christ is the one who causes everything to fit together.” In some languages, the concept of “fitting together” is related to the construction of furniture, so that a phrase such as “everything remains in its place” may be appropriate or “everything is dovetailed together,” in which the strongest and most effective joint in carpentry is identified by “dovetailing.” (The United Bible Societies' New Testament Handbook Series. Logos.com

Wiersbe tells the story about the a guide who

"took a group of people through an atomic laboratory and explained how all matter was composed of rapidly moving electric particles. The tourists studied models of molecules and were amazed to learn that matter is made up primarily of space. During the question period, one visitor asked, “If this is the way matter works, what holds it all together?” For that, the guide had no answer.  But the Christian has an answer: Jesus Christ! Because “He is before all things,” He can hold all things together. Again, this is another affirmation that Jesus Christ is God. Only God exists before all of Creation, and only God can make Creation cohere. To make Jesus Christ less than God is to dethrone Him." (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos)

In Christ all things are set or placed together, caused to stand together, cohere and to hold together. By Him all things were created in the past, by Him all things consist in the present. By Him all things are to be reconciled in the future. Therefore, in Christ all fullness dwells. "Of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things"

Paul wrote to the Romans (Ro 11:36-note). He is the Alpha and the Omega (Re 22:13-note), the all and in all. Christ is the controlling and unifying Force in all of nature. The Gnostic philosophy that matter is evil and was created by a remote aeon is swept away by these truths about Christ. The Son of God's love is the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe.

Barclay sums it up this way

"This means that not only is the Son the agent of creation in the beginning, and the goal of creation in the end, but between the beginning and the end, during time as we know it, it is he who holds the world together. That is to say, all the laws by which this world is order and not chaos are an expression of the mind of the Son. The law of gravity and the rest, the laws by which the universe hangs together, are not only scientific laws but also divine." (Barclay, W: The Daily Study Bible Series, Rev. ed. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press or Logos)

Ray Stedman commenting on this verse adds that one of

"The most astonishing phenomenon today is to see men who work with this physical universe, who intimately observe the beauty, order, and power inherent in the natural world as well as in the world of humanity, yet who fail to see the Power behind it all; the ordered Intelligence that possesses and originates all these things. I do not understand how a man like Carl Sagan can work in the field of astronomy, knowing of the great secrets that are now coming to light in the universe, and yet go on breathing air which God has supplied, eating the food with which God has stocked this earth, and relying moment by moment on a heartbeat whose continuation rests in the will of Someone other than himself, yet can busy himself telling us that only man matters! It is a phenomenon beyond my understanding." Stedman in conclusion adds that "as I think of the world in which we live today surely this is the reason for the terrible sense of lostness among people. We are a generation adrift. We have thrown out all the absolutes, and found ourselves adrift on the tossing ocean of life. No one has an anchor any more. What men desperately need is a King, a God, an Authority, an Anchor to cling to. I am convinced we will never solve the terrible drug traffic until we teach people that there is an answer to the hunger and anguish of their empty lives. We cannot stop the drug traffic by simply confiscating all the drugs that come into this country. Drugs are merely a symptom of the terrible anguish of people; of their empty lives, their lack of a sense of worth. They have no King to worship, no authority to serve, no cause greater than themselves. Thus the central truth of our faith, and one that makes for strength in the Christian life, is this truth. In Jesus is found the center of life. "He is the image of the invisible God...the Creator of all things, who is before all things and holds all things in his hand and power." Is he your Lord?"
 

Jesus, wondrous Savior! Christ, of kings the King!
Angels fall before Thee, prostrate worshipping;
Fairest they confess Thee in the heav’n above.
We would sing Thee Fairest here in hymns of love
-- Daniel MacGregor (Play Hymn)

 

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Found: The Missing Piece - The caption in USA Today read, "Physicists find the missing piece in a universal puzzle." The "tau neutrino," an incredibly tiny particle, was the last-theorized member of the family of particles that make up the universe. It has now been proven to exist. Phillip Schewe of the American Institute of Physics said, "It's like finding the Z in the alphabet of fundamental particles . . . . [This study] doesn't save lives or fill stomachs, but it does investigate the most fundamental structures . . . out of which everything, including ourselves, is made."

Imagine finding the smallest known piece of the universe! It's even more amazing to know the Designer of the universe—the Creator of those tiny bits of matter—and the reason they hold together. In Colossians 1:17 we read that Jesus "is before all things, and in Him all things consist." One Bible scholar defines the word consist as the "principle of cohesion," adding that Jesus makes the universe "a cosmos instead of a chaos."  Jesus Christ is more vital to our existence than the "tau neutrino." He feeds us spiritually, as well as physically. He saves us from our sins, as well as protects us from evil. He brings order to our inner chaos. May we ever worship the One who holds everything together. —D J De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

My times are in His hand,
A hand so safe and strong,
A hand which holds the sea
And guides the stars along. —Anon.

When your world seems to be falling apart,
look to Jesus who holds everything together.

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Octavius Winslow  Devotional - AUGUST 19.

"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 first-born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." Colossians 1:17, 18

In this striking and beautiful passage, Jesus is declared to be before all created things; could this be true, if He Himself were a created being? Christ is either created, or He is uncreated. He is a creature, or the Creator. If a mere creature, then it were absurdity to suppose Him creating all things; for He must have been created before He could create: then He could not have been before all created things. If, too, He were a mere creature, how could He uphold all things? for He would need an upholding power for Himself. No mere creature ever has, or ever can, sustain itself. The angels could not, for they fell. Adam could not, for he fell. And Christ could not have sustained Himself in the solemn hour of atonement, when standing beneath the mighty load of His people's sins, had He not been more than creature—the uncreated Jehovah. His humanity did indeed tremble, and shudder, and shrink back; but, upborne by His Godhead, secretly, invisibly, yet effectually sustained by His Deity, He achieved a complete triumph, made an end of sin, and brought in a new and everlasting righteousness. If, too, He were a creature only, how could He give spiritual life to the dead, and how could He sustain that life when given? All spiritual life is from Christ, and all spiritual life is sustained by Christ—"Christ who is our life"—the life of the soul, the life of pardon, the life of justification; the life of sanctification, the life of all the Christian graces—the life of all that now is, and the life of all that is to come. Glorious truth this, to the saint of God!

Turn to our blessed Lord's conference with the Jews, in which He asserts His eternal existence: "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." What a consoling view do we derive of Christ, from this revealed attribute of His nature! Is He eternal ?—then His love to His people is eternal; His love to them being coeval with His very being. It is not the love of yesterday or of to-day—it is the love of eternity: its spring-head is His own eternal existence. Is He eternal?—then must He be unchangeable too: His precious love, set upon them from all eternity, can never be removed: having given them Himself, Himself He will never take away. Blessed thought! He may blight earthly hopes, He may break up earthly cisterns, He may wither earthly gourds; He may send billow upon billow, breach upon breach, but never, never will He take Himself from the people of His love. Dear reader, you may be conscious of many and great departures; this single view of your Father's unchangeableness may recall to your recollection backslidings many and aggravated; forgetfulness, ingratitude, unkindnesses without number; murmurings, rebellion, and unbelief. Still does God, your God, say to you, "Though you have dealt so with me, though you have forgotten me, though your name is rebellious, yet do I love you still. Return unto me, and I will return unto you." What a soul-humbling, heart-melting thought is this! Does your Father love your sins? No! Does He look complacently on your wanderings? No! He hates your sins, and He will follow your wanderings with His chastising rod; but He loves your person, beholding you in the Beloved, fully and freely accepted in the glorious righteousness of Jesus, who is the same "yesterday, today, and forever." If this truth, dear reader, be broken up to your soul by the blessed and eternal Spirit, the effect will be most holy and abasing. The legitimate tendency of all spiritual truth is sanctifying. Hence our blessed Lord prayed that the truth might be the medium through which His people should be sanctified. "Sanctify them through your truth." And hence the apostle reasons, "Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it. That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water, by the word." That God's truth has been and is abused by wicked and ungodly men, is no argument against the truth. They abuse it to their own condemnation; they turn it from its right and legitimate use to their own loss. Still the truth stands firm in its peerless dignity and holy tendency, and when unfolded to the understanding, and laid upon the heart by the Holy Spirit, Christ's prayer is answered in the progressive sanctification of the soul.

 

Colossians 1:18 He is also head of the body the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead  so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything  (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kai autos estin (3SPAI) h kephale tou somatos, tes ekklesias; os estin (3SPAI) arche, prototokos ek ton nekron, hina genetai (3SAMI) en pasin autos proteuon, (PAPMSN
Amplified: 
 He also is the Head of [His] body, the church; seeing He is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead, so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent].   (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
MLB (Berkley): He also is the Head of the body, the church; He is its beginning, the first-born from the dead, so that in every respect He might have first place.
Phillips:  And now he is the head of the body which is composed of all Christian people. Life from nothing began through him, and life from the dead began through him, and he is, therefore, justly called the Lord of all.  (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest:  And He himself is the Head of His Body, the Church. He is the originator [i.e., the creator], the firstborn out from among the dead, in order that He might become in all things himself the One who is pre-eminent (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: And himself is the head of the body--the assembly--who is a beginning, a first-born out of the dead, that he might become in all things --himself--first,

HE IS ALSO HEAD OF THE BODY THE CHURCH: kai autos estin (3SPAI) he kephale tês ekklêsias: (Col 2:10, 11, 12, 13, 14; 1Co 11:3; Eph 1:10;22 ,23, 4:15,16; 5:23)

Moule comments that...

Thus far the Apostle has unfolded the glory of Christ as the Cause and Bond of all being in the sphere of "Nature," material and otherwise. Now he turns to the sphere of Grace.

He is is present tense indicating that He is continually Head.

Spurgeon

He is joined by an indissoluble union to his people, and is the head of their glory, their wisdom, and their strength.

O beloved! as the sun is to be seen mirrored, not only in the face of the great deep, but in every little drop of dew that hangs upon each blade of grass, so is the glory of Christ to be seen, not only in his universal Church, but in every separate individual in whom his Spirit has wrought holiness.

Are we giving him the pre-eminence in all things? That theology must be false which puts Jesus in the second place, or even lower than that, and that experience is a wrong one which does not put Christ always in the front. He must in all things always stand first.

Vine adds that

again, as in verse 17, the subject “He” is made especially emphatic by the presence of the pronoun autos, which serves to stress the identity of the Person concerning Whom the preceding statements have been made. That is to say, He who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe is likewise the Head of the church. As in physical nature the head is seat of the controlling, directing power of the body, guiding, inspiring and sustaining its life and activities, so in the spiritual relationship between Christ and the church. In its complete state it will be “the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.” He will forever fill all things in all the members, all their activities being under His authority and direction. They will be His fullness, manifesting His glory, and glorifying Him in a perfect unity of life and action. This complete development is defined as “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”

Head (2776) (kephale) can mean source or origin (as well as head or ruler) even as we refer to the head of a river. Jesus is the Source of and the Leader of His body, the Church. The metaphor “head of the body” represents the supremacy of Christ and the unity of all Christians as a living organism which belongs to Christ. Christ controls every part of His body the church and is its

"inspiring, ruling, guiding, combining, sustaining power, the mainspring of its activity, the center of its unity, and the seat of its life." (Lightfoot)

APPLICATION: Is He the Head of your local church body? Remember that as a human body is powerless without its head, so too the church (even one with pews and coffers overflowing) is powerless without its Living Head, Christ Jesus. Do you see His power in your local body? What is happening in your church that can only be explained as something that Christ is doing?

William Barclay has an interesting comment that

There are two things combined here. There is the idea of privilege. It is the privilege of the Church to be the instrument through which Christ works. There is the idea of warning. If a man neglects or abuses his body, he can make it unfit to be the servant of the great purposes of his mind; so by undisciplined and careless living the Church can unfit herself to be the instrument of Christ, who is her head.

Later Paul emphasizes that Christ also "is the Head over all rule and authority" (Col 2:10-note) and he reminds the Ephesians that God

put all things in subjection under His (Jesus') feet, and gave Him as Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.  (see notes Ephesians 1:22; 1:23)

The Amplified Version expands Eph 1:23 stating that the church

is His body, the fullness of Him Who fills all in all [for in that body lives the full measure of Him Who makes everything complete, and Who fills everything everywhere with Himself]."

The problem with most churches is that they try to organize a thing and then try to make it work. The proper order is to first center the people on Jesus, their Head, and once they get centered on Him, He works in and through His body, and what He does is always organized, but not for the sake of the organization.

Paul uses the Old Testament word "body". The church is not an organization but is an organism that is organized! (See the excellent
audio  messages below by Dr Wayne Barber on the 7 Pillars of the NT Church)

Wiersbe comments that

No denomination or local assembly can claim to be “the body of Christ,” for that body is composed of all true believers. When a person trusts Christ, he is immediately baptized by the Holy Spirit into this body (1Cor 12:12, 13). The baptism of the Spirit is not a post conversion experience—for it occurs the instant a person believes in Jesus Christ." (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos

Church (1577) (ekklesia from ek = out + kaleo = call) is literally the "called out ones".  Greeks used ekklesia  to describe the assembly of citizens "called out" to transact city business. The church as alluded to above is a supernatural living organism, composed of living members joined together under the headship of Christ and through which He works and carries out His purposes for the glory of the Father.

Paul gives an excellent description of the church in Romans 12:4, 5  writing that "just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another." (see also 1Cor 12:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27)

Vine in an excellent note clarifying the meaning of the church writes that

The word “church,” as used in this and similar passages, contemplates the entire company as it will be seen when the Lord comes to receive it to Himself. It is nowhere in Scripture viewed as an earthly organization established in the world, it is heavenly in its design, establishment and destiny. Its individual members are incorporated into it as each one is born of God through faith in Christ. At no period can all the believers living in the world have constituted the church. They could not at that particular time be spoken of as the body of Christ. Most of the church had not come into existence in the early part of the present era. At the present time most of those who form part of it are in Heaven (they have not ceased to be members because they are there). By some the term “the church” is applied to all the believers living in the world at any time, but such a view is not borne out by the teaching of the New Testament. Believers are formed into local churches, each of which is called a “body” (1Cor 12:27). But nowhere are the churches in any district or country or in the world organized into an entity or body. Local churches, Scripturally formed, are visible communities, professing the same faith, governed by the same Lord, but this has never afforded any ground for their external amalgamation or for their being considered as a church. There is no such phrase in Scripture as “The Church on earth,” nor is the whole number of believers on earth viewed as, or spoken of, as the church of God. The idea is a pure inference and conveys a false impression, being a contravention of the teaching of Christ and the apostles." (Vine, W. Collected writings of W. E. Vine. Nashville: Thomas Nelson or Logos)

I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES
Samuel Medley
Click to play

I know that my Redeemer lives;
What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, He lives, Who once was dead;
He lives, my ever living
Head.

He lives to bless me with His love,
He lives to plead for me above.
He lives my hungry soul to feed,
He lives to help in time of need.

He lives to grant me rich supply,
He lives to guide me with His eye,
He lives to comfort me when faint,
He lives to hear my soul’s complaint

He lives to silence all my fears,
He lives to wipe away my tears
He lives to calm my troubled heart,
He lives all blessings to impart.

He lives and grants me daily breath;
He lives, and I shall conquer death:
He lives my mansion to prepare;
He lives to bring me safely there.

He lives, all glory to His Name!
He lives, my Jesus, still the same.
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives,
I know that my Redeemer lives!

MacArthur summarizes this section noting that

There are many metaphors used in Scripture to describe the church. It is called a family, a kingdom, a vineyard, a flock, a building, and a bride. But the most profound metaphor, one having no Old Testament equivalent, is that of a Body. The church is a Body, and Christ is the head of the Body. This concept is not used in the sense of the head of a company, but rather looks at the church as a living organism, inseparably tied together by the living Christ. He controls every part of it and gives it life and direction. His life lived out through all the members provides the unity of the Body (cf. 1Cor 12:12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20). He energizes and coordinates the diversity within the Body, a diversity of spiritual gifts and ministries (1Cor 12:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13). He also directs the Body’s mutuality, as the individual members serve and support each other (1Cor 12:15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27). Christ is not an angel who serves the church (He 1:14-note). He is the head of His church." (MacArthur, J. Colossians. Chicago: Moody Press or Logos

AND HE IS THE BEGINNING: hos estin (3SPAI) arche:

the starting point of all things (BBE)

He is (present tense = continually)" the "beginning" (arche = here denotes the source, the originating power, and the active cause; it also involves the ideas of priority in time and of dignity of position) which Barclay writes

"means beginning in a double sense. It means not only first in the sense of time, as, for instance, A is the beginning of the alphabet and 1 is the beginning of the series of numbers. It means first in the sense of the source from which something came, the moving power which set something in operation. We will see more clearly what Paul is getting at, if we remember what he has just said. The world is the creation of Christ; and the Church is the new creation of Christ."

The Church’s one foundation

The Church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord,
She is His new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood He bought her
And for her life He died
--Samuel Stone (Play hymn)

THE FIRST-BORN FROM THE DEAD: prototokos ek ton nekron: (Ps 89:27 Acts 26:23 1Co 15:20-22,23 Rev 1:5,18)

Firstborn (4416) (prototokos from protos = first, foremost, in place order or time; rank dignity + titko = beget, to bear, bring forth)  can mean first-born chronologically (Lk 2:7), but refers primarily to position, rank, priority of position and emphasizes quality or kind, not time with the idea of "preeminence".

Prototokos - 8x in the NT - Lk. 2:7; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15, 18; Heb. 1:6; 11:28; 12:23; Rev. 1:5

Prototokos - 102x in the Septuagint - Gen. 4:4; 10:15; 22:21; 25:13, 25; 27:19, 32; 35:23; 36:15; 38:6f; 41:51; 43:33; 46:8; 48:18; 49:3; Exod. 4:22f; 6:14; 11:5; 12:12, 29; 13:2, 13, 15; 22:29; 34:19f; Lev. 27:26; Num. 1:20; 3:2, 12f, 40ff, 45f, 50; 8:16ff; 18:15, 17; 26:5; 33:4; Deut. 12:6, 17; 14:23; 15:19; 21:15ff; 33:17; Jos. 6:26; 17:1; Jdg. 8:20; 1 Sam. 8:2; 14:49; 2 Sam. 3:2; 13:21; 19:43; 1 Ki. 16:34; 2 Ki. 3:27; 1 Chr. 1:29; 2:3, 13, 25, 27, 42, 50; 3:1, 15; 4:4; 5:1, 3, 12; 6:28; 8:1, 30, 38f; 9:5, 31, 36, 44; 26:2, 4, 6, 10; 2 Chr. 21:3; Neh. 10:36; Ps. 78:51; 89:27; 105:36; 135:8; 136:10; Jer. 31:9; Ezek. 44:30; Mic. 6:7; Zech. 12:10;

In the context (from or out of the dead ~ clear reference to resurrection) of this verse is a reference to the Resurrection. Paul did not say that Jesus was the first person to be raised from the dead, for He was not. But He is the most important of all who have been raised from the dead (of all who have ever been raised or ever will be raised, Christ has first rank!) for without His resurrection, there could be no resurrection for others (1Cor 15:20, 21, 22, 23, 24ff). Christ is not merely someone Who lived and died and of Whom we read and learn. He is someone Who, because of His Resurrection, is alive for evermore and Whom we meet and experience, not a dead hero nor a past founder, but a Living Person. Even before He was crucified He spoke of the resurrection in the present tense,  declaring that

"I am (ego eimi = present tense = continually) the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" (Jn 11:25)

John uses prototokos with a similar meaning writing that 

Jesus Christ (is) the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him Who loves us, and released (Amplified =has once [for all] loosed and freed) us from our sins by His blood (Re 1:5-note)

Wiersbe comments that

"It seems odd that Paul used the word born in connection with death, for the two concepts seem opposed to each other. But the tomb was a womb from which Christ came forth in victory, for death could not hold Him (Acts 2:24)." (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos)

The result of all this is that he has the supremacy in all things. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is his title to supreme lordship. By his Resurrection he has shown that he has conquered every opposing power and that there is nothing in life or in death which can bind him.

SO THAT HE HIMSELF MIGHT COME TO HAVE FIRST PLACE IN EVERYTHING: hina genetai (3SAMS) en pasin autos proteuon (PAPMSN):
(Php 2:5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10) (Song 5:10 Isa 52:13 Mt 28:18 John 3:29-31, 34, 35 Ro 8:29 1Co 15:25 Php 2:6, 7, 8, 9, 10 11 Heb 1:5,6 Rev 5:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 11:15)

so that He alone in everything and in every respect might occupy the chief place [stand first and be preeminent]" (Amp)

that in all things he might have the preeminence (ASV)

so that in all things he might have the chief place (BBE)

that in all things he may hold the primacy (DRB)

so that in everything he might have the supremacy (NIV)

in order that He Himself may in all things occupy the foremost place (Weymouth)

So that (2443) (hina) is a purpose clause and thus Paul brings us to the "theme" of this entire preceding section -- Christ is preeminent in everything (Greek = pas = all things without exception). He is supreme over the visible world, the invisible world and the church. He ranks first. He is not simply another emanation (emanate means to come out from a source -- Jesus is not an emanation - He is the Source!). Does He have first place in my life? In everything? Christ is first with Paul in time and in rank.

Might have first place (4409) (prōteuō) means to be first or preeminent, to have the preeminence,  to hold the chief place and  is used here only in the New Testament. Note the present tense again (continually have first place!)

Christ’s resurrection marked His triumph over death (He 2:14-
note; 1Jn 3:8) since, unlike others, He rose never to die again.  Jesus "was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” (Ro 1:4-note). So He continues to live by “the power of an indestructible life.” (He 7:16-note).

After His resurrection, He declared to His disciples

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." (Mt 28:18) Paul added that "He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet." (1Cor 15:25) The writer of Hebrews speaking of Jesus' supremacy over the angels adds "to which of the angels did He ever say, "THOU ART MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN THEE"? And again, "I WILL BE A FATHER TO HIM AND HE SHALL BE A SON TO ME"? And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, "AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM." (He 1:5-note; He 1:6-note)

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J C Philpot - August 24

"And he is the head of the body, the church." Colossians 1:18

That the Lord Jesus Christ should have a people, in whom he should be eternally glorified, was the original promise made by the Father to the Son. "Ask of me, and I shall give you the heathen for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession" (Psalm 2:8). This was "the joy that was set before him, for which he endured the cross, despising the shame." This was "the purchased possession," "the travail of his soul," and the reward of his humiliation and sufferings (Phil. 2:9, 10). This people form the members of his mystical body, all of which were written in his book, the book of life, when as yet, as regards their actual existence, there was none of them (Psalm 139:16). All these were given to him in eternity, when he was constituted their covenant Head in the everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure. They thus became, in prospect of his incarnation, "members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones."

How touchingly did the blessed Redeemer remind his Father of those covenant transactions, when he said in his memorable prayer, "I pray for them--I pray not for the world, but for those who you have given me; for they are yours. And all mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I am glorified in them." Being thus given to Christ, and constituted members of his mystical body, they can no more perish than Christ himself. He is their Head; and as he is possessed of all power, full of all love, filled with all wisdom, and replete with all mercy, grace, and truth, how can he, how will he, allow any of his members to fall out of his body, and be lost to him as well as to themselves? Will any man willingly allow his eye, or his hand, or his foot, or even the tip of his little finger, to be taken out or cut off? If any member of our body perish, if we lose an arm or a leg, it is because we have not power to prevent it. But all power belongs to Christ, in heaven and in earth; and therefore no one member of his mystical body can perish for lack of power in him to save it.

But however truly blessed this doctrine is, it is only when we are quickened and made alive unto God by a spiritual birth that we savingly and experimentally know and realize it; and we are, for the most part, led into it thus. We are first made to feel our need of Christ as a Savior from the wrath to come, from the fear of death, the curse of the law, and the accusations of a guilty conscience.

When enabled, by the blessed Spirit's operations, to receive him into our heart, by faith, as the Christ of God, and to realize in some measure a saving interest in him, we are then taught to feel our need of continual supplies of grace and strength out of his fullness. For we have to learn something of the depths of the fall, of the evils of our heart, of the temptations of Satan, of the strength of sin, of our own weakness and worthlessness; and as every fresh discovery of our helplessness and wretchedness makes a way for looking to and hanging upon him, we become more and more dependent on him as of God made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.

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SINGLE FOCUS - Pam Sneddon was taking a class in photography. For one assignment, she chose her 6-year-old daughter as her subject and asked her to sit on a serene hillside. Close by was an apple tree in full bloom. Pam just couldn't resist. She gave the tree a prominent place in the picture. Pam was surprised when her instructor pointed out a problem with the photo. The apple tree distracted from her primary focus, the little girl. "See how it catches the eye," the instructor said. "It competes with your subject. You need to choose one subject and leave the other out." This observation applies to more than good photography skills. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must center our attention only on Him. Like amateur photographers, we are often attracted to the "apple trees in full bloom." We pay more attention to our hobbies, friends, family, or work. Christ commands our attention because He is "the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality" (1Ti 6:15, 16). That may mean relegating something we deem to be important to the background--or cropping it out of the picture altogether. Whatever distracts us from Jesus has to go. As the preeminent One, He must be the single focus of our lives. --D C Egner (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

In Christ alone the earth shall find its answer,
A refuge from its doubts, its fears, its strife;
This God-revealed-in-flesh, this precious Savior,
Forever is the Way, the Truth, the Life! --Calenberg

If Christ is the center of your life, you'll always be focused on Him

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John sums up the reaction every saint should when they come to a proper understanding of the preeminence of the Lord Jesus Christ, writing that those in heaven

"sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou (Christ) to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth" and then John heard "the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, " To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." (Rev 5:9-13)

John later records

"the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever." (Rev 11:15) As someone has said “If Jesus Christ is not Lord of all, He cannot be Lord at all.”

Wiersbe relates the story of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition which was held in Chicago writing that

"more than 21 million people visited the exhibits. Among the features was a “World Parliament of Religions,” with representatives of the world’s religions, meeting to share their “best points” and perhaps come up with a new religion for the world. Evangelist D. L. Moody saw this as a great opportunity for evangelism. He used churches, rented theaters, and even rented a circus tent (when the show was not on) to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His friends wanted Moody to attack the “Parliament of Religions,” but he refused. “I am going to make Jesus Christ so attractive,” he said, “that men will turn to Him.” Moody knew that Jesus Christ was the preeminent Savior, not just one of many “religious leaders” of history. The “Chicago Campaign” of 1893 was probably the greatest evangelistic endeavor in D. L. Moody’s life, and thousands came to Christ." (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor or Logos)

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THE CHURCH OF GOD IS ONE
Daniel Whittle
Click to play hymn

The Church of God is one:
As brethren here we meet;
For us salvation’s work is done,
In Christ we stand complete.

The church of God is one:
One blessed hope have we;
Our dear Redeemer’s sure return
His saints to glorify

Refrain:
The church of God is one,
Is one in faith and love,
Is one in the death by Jesus borne,
One in His life above.

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An Illustration of Giving Jesus the Preeminence He Alone deserves: In Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting of The Last Supper, our Lord’s hands are empty. And therein lies an inspiring story. Da Vinci dedicated three years to this painting, determined that it would be his crowning work. Before the unveiling, he decided to show it to a friend for whose opinion he had the utmost respect. The friend’s praise was unbounded. “The cup in Jesus’ hand,” he said, “is especially beautiful.” Disappointed at once Da Vinci began to paint out the cup. Astonished, the distinguished friend asked for an explanation. “Nothing,” Da Vinci explained, “must distract from the figure of Christ.” Da Vinci focused attention solely on Christ by removing the distraction of the cup. Having removed the cup, he had to do something with the hand. The left hand was already outstretched just above the table, lifting, as if to bless and command. Now the right hand, also empty, was also outstretched invitingly.

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SINGLE FOCUS - He is the head of the body, the church, . . . that in all things He may have the preeminence. --Colossians 1:18

Pam Sneddon was taking a class in photography. For one assignment, she chose her 6-year-old daughter as her subject and asked her to sit on a serene hillside. Close by was an apple tree in full bloom. Pam just couldn't resist. She gave the tree a prominent place in the picture.

Pam was surprised when her instructor pointed out a problem with the photo. The apple tree distracted from her primary focus, the little girl.

"See how it catches the eye," the instructor said. "It competes with your subject. You need to choose one subject and leave the other out."

This observation applies to more than good photography skills. As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must center our attention only on Him. Like amateur photographers, we are often attracted to the "apple trees in full bloom." We pay more attention to our hobbies, friends, family, or work.

Christ commands our attention because He is "the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality" (1 Tim. 6:15-16). That may mean relegating something we deem to be important to the background--or cropping it out of the picture altogether.

Whatever distracts us from Jesus has to go. As the preeminent One, He must be the single focus of our lives. --DCE

In Christ alone the earth shall find its answer,
A refuge from its doubts, its fears, its strife;
This God-revealed-in-flesh, this precious Savior,
Forever is the Way, the Truth, the Life! --Calenberg

If Christ is the center of your life, you'll always be focused on Him.

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We can never exaggerate the greatness of Christ. Paul said that "He is the image of the invisible God" (Col. 1:15), that "by Him all things were created" (Col 1:16), and that "He is before all things" (Col 1:17). As the preeminent person in human history, Christ is worthy of our love and our praise.

In his classic book The Pursuit of God, A. W. Tozer paid tribute to Frederick Faber, the Englishman who wrote the song "Faith of Our Fathers."

Tozer said,

"His love for the person of Christ was so intense that it threatened to consume him; it burned within him as a sweet and holy madness and flowed from his lips like molten gold. In one of his sermons he said, `Wherever we turn in the church of God, there is Jesus. He is the beginning, middle, and end of everything to us... . There is nothing good, nothing holy, nothing beautiful, nothing joyous which He is not to His servants…No one need be downcast, for Jesus is the joy of heaven, and it is His joy to enter into sorrowful hearts. We can exaggerate about many things, but we can never exaggerate our obligation to Jesus, or the compassionate abundance of the love of Jesus to us. All our lives long we might talk of Jesus, and yet we should never come to an end of the sweet things that might be said of Him.

Christ deserves our loving adoration. He is truly the preeminent One. —R. W. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

When we submit to Jesus' lordship, we'll give Him our worship.

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Eyes On The King -John Henry Jowett, the great English preacher, liked to tell about the time he attended the coronation of Edward VII. Westminster Abbey was filled with royalty. Jowett said, "Much bowing and respect was shown as nobility of high rank entered the cathedral." When the king arrived, however, a hush came over the audience. Every eye was on him, and no longer did the dignitaries of lower status receive the gaze and interest of the people. All the subjects fixed their attention on their royal leader.  This is the way it should be in the life of a Christian. Jesus is the King of kings, and He deserves the place of highest prominence. Naturally we love and respect our families, friends, associates, and those who serve the Lord. But the Lord Jesus must have the preeminence! Our devotion is always to be centered on Him. With all the activities that compete for our time-even the work and program of the church-it's so easy to take our eyes off the Savior. May we never lose sight of King Jesus who deserves our praise and worship. Let us join the heavenly voices and say, "You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor" (Rev 4:11-note). Yes, Christ is the preeminent One! -R W De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Then let us adore and give Him His right-
All glory and power and wisdom and might,
All honor and blessing with angels above,
And thanks never ceasing, and infinite love. -Wesley

Focusing on Christ
puts everything else in perspective

 

Colossians 1:19 For it was the [Father's] good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell  in Him   (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: hoti en auto eudokesen (3SAAI) pan to pleroma katoikesai (AAN
Amplified: 
 For it has pleased [the Father] that all the divine fullness (the sum total of the divine perfection, powers, and attributes) should dwell in Him permanently. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
MLB (Berkley):  For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him,
Phillips: It was in him that the full nature of God chose to live (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest:  because in Him [God] was well pleased that all the fullness be permanently at home.  (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal:  because in him it did please all the fulness to tabernacle,
FOR IT WAS THE FATHER'S GOOD PLEASURE: Hoti en auto eudokesen (3SAAI): (Mt 3:17)

For (3754) (hoti) is important for the understanding of the author’s argument. "For" introduces the reason why the Son is supreme in the new creation. His supremacy is by virtue of His work of reconciliation.

Good pleasure (2106) (eudokeo from = well, good + dokéo = think) means to think well of. Approve of. Take pleasure in.

God said

This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased (eudokeo) (Mt 3:17)

Note that there is no word in the Greek for "the Father," though the verb calls for either "the God" or "the Father" to be the subject (as determined from the context).

Eudokeo - 21x in the NT - Matt. 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mk. 1:11; Lk. 3:22; 12:32; Rom. 15:26f; 1 Co. 1:21; 10:5; 2 Co. 5:8; 12:10; Gal. 1:15; Col. 1:19; 1 Thess. 2:8; 3:1; 2 Thess. 2:12; Heb. 10:6, 8, 38; 2 Pet. 1:17. The NAS renders eudokeo as am well-pleased(6), been pleased(1), chosen gladly(1), good pleasure(1), has pleasure(1),pleased(2), prefer(1), taken pleasure(2), thought best(1), took pleasure(1), well content(1), well-pleased(3).

FOR ALL THE FULNESS TO DWELL IN HIM: en auto eudokesen (3SAAI) pan to pleroma katoikesai (AAN):  (Col 2:9, Jn 1:16 Eph 1:23)

Spurgeon

It tells us that Christ is substance and not shadow, fulness and not foretaste. This is good news for us, for nothing but realities will meet our case. What joy these words give to us when we remem­ber that our vast necessities de­mand a fulness—"all fulness"—before they can be supplied!

Fulness (4138) (pleroma from pleroo [word study] = make full, fill, fill up) means full measure. Pleroma speaks of the total quantity and emphasizes completeness.

Pleroma - 17x in the NT - Matt. 9:16; Mk. 2:21; 6:43; 8:20; Jn. 1:16; Rom. 11:12, 25; 13:10; 15:29; 1 Co. 10:26; Gal. 4:4; Eph. 1:10, 23; 3:19; 4:13; Col. 1:19; 2:9. The NAS renders pleroma as all it contains(1), fulfillment(2), full(2), fulness(10), patch(2).

This word was used for example of a ship inasmuch as it is filled (i.e. manned) with sailors, rowers, soldiers. After the miracle of feeding 4000, Jesus asked

"And when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full (pleroma) of broken pieces did you pick up?" (Mt 8:20)

In reference to time, Paul records that "when the fulness (pleroma) of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law." (Gal 4:4)

Pleroma was

A recognized technical term in theology, denoting the totality of the Divine powers and attributes. (Lightfoot)

The Gnostics taught that Christ was kind of “halfway house” to God, a link in the chain with other better links on ahead. Paul says "no", the complete embodiment of God dwells permanently in Christ.

In the next chapter Paul adds that "in Him all the fulness  (pleroma) of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col 2:9-note) Thus Jesus, even in His human form, was totally and completely God. He was all Man and He was all God. He was the God-Man. The Gnostics distributed the divine powers among various aeons. Paul gathers them all up in Christ, a full and flat statement of the deity of Christ.

Dwell (
2730) (katoikeo from kata = intensifying preposition and this prefix shows permanence + oikeo = occupy a house) means literally to settle down (be at home, dwell) in a place so to take up permanent abode or residence and so to abide.

Katoikeo - 44x in the NT - Matt. 2:23; 4:13; 12:45; 23:21; Lk. 11:26; 13:4; Acts 1:19f; 2:5, 9, 14; 4:16; 7:2, 4, 48; 9:22, 32, 35; 11:29; 13:27; 17:24, 26; 19:10, 17; 22:12; Eph. 3:17; Col. 1:19; 2:9; Heb. 11:9; 2 Pet. 3:13; Rev. 2:13; 3:10; 6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8, 12, 14; 17:2, 8

Barth writes that katoikeo denotes permanent habitation as opposed to sojourning or an occasional visit. And thus katoikeo means to dwell in a more permanent sense than paroikeo which means to dwell in a temporary sense (synonymous with sojourn =  to stay as a temporary resident - used of strangers who have no rights of citizenship and no settled home - e.g., Abraham by faith "lived {paroikeo} as an alien in the land of promise as in a foreign land, dwelling {katoikeo} in tents" He 11:9-note).

Katoikeo means all the divine attributes are permanently at home in Christ. In other words this divine fullness was not something added to His Being but was always a part of His essential being.

Some people believe you can separate the Trinity, but when you get the Lord Jesus in your life, you have the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Docetism (from Greek "dokeo"= to seem) describes the false doctrine that Christ did not actually become flesh. They taught that Christ's physical body was not real but only appeared to be. In other words, Jesus only appeared to be a man. This false teaching states that Jesus became Deity only at His baptism but that His Deity left Him on the cross. Thus Docetism affirms the deity (only in part) of Christ and denies His humanity. This heresy originated directly from the Gnostic heresies. Paul directly confronts this genre of error with the term "the fulness" of Deity (Col 1:19-note, Col 2:9-note). You can stake your life on it - the very essence of God dwells in Christ.

See also - Docetism or Wikipedia article on Docetism

In Him is at beginning of the Greek sentence for emphasis

In Him gathers all the previous truths into a grand climax — image of God, firstborn of all creation, Creator, eternally preexistent, Head of the Church, Victor over death, first in all things. On this summit we should pause, looking, like John, from Christ in His fulness of deity to the exhibition of that divine fulness in redemption consummated in heaven where John saw "between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain." (Rev 5:6-note)

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Octavius Winslow. Daily Walking with God - (Col 1:19) All wisdom to guide, all power to uphold, all love to soothe, all grace to support, all tenderness to sympathize, dwells in Christ. Let us, then, gird ourselves to a fresh taking hold of Christ. We must walk through this year not by sight, but by faith- and that faith must deal simply and directly, with Jesus. "Without me you can do nothing." But with His strength made perfect in our weakness, we can do all things. Oh, be this our course and our posture- "coming up from the wilderness leaning on her Beloved." Living in a world of imperfection and change, we must expect nothing perfect, nothing stable, in what we are, in what we do, or in what we enjoy. But amid the dissolving views of the world that "passes away," let us take firm hold of the unchangeableness of God. The wheels may revolve, but the axle on which they turn is immoveable. Such is our covenant God. Events may vary- providences may change- friends may die- feelings may fluctuate- but God in Christ will know "no variableness, neither the shadow of a turning." "Having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end."

 

Colossians 1:20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross;through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven  (NASB: Lockman)

Greek: kai di autou apokatallaxai (AAN) ta panta eis auton, eirenopoiesas (AAPMSN) dia tou haimatos tou staurou autou, [di' autou] eite ta epi tes ges eite ta en tois ouranois. 
Amplified: 
And God purposed that through (by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross.  (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
MLB (Berkley):  and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, those on earth as well as those in heaven, as through Him God made peace by means of the blood of His cross.
Phillips: and through him God planned to reconcile in his own person, as it were, everything on earth and everything in Heaven by virtue of the sacrifice of the cross. (Phillips: Touchstone)
Wuest:  And [God was well pleased] through His agency to reconcile all things to himself, having concluded peace through the blood of His Cross, through Him, whether the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens. (
Eerdmans
Young's Literal: and through him to reconcile the all things to himself--having made peace through the blood of his cross--through him, whether the things upon the earth, whether the things in the heavens.

AND THROUGH HIM TO RECONCILE: kai di' autou apokatallaxai (AAN): (Col 1:22, Lev 16:20 2Cor 5:18 Ro 5:10 Eph 2:16 Heb 2:17 1Jn 2:2) (Torrey's Topic Reconciliation with god)

The phrase through Him is used 19x in the NT (click here for all uses) Christ was the sufficient and chosen agent in the work of reconciliation.

A Simple Study...
Through Him

Consider the following simple study - observe and record the wonderful truths that accrue through Him - this would make an edifying, easy to prepare Sunday School lesson - then take some time to give thanks for these great truths by offering up a sacrifice of praise...through Him.

 

Jn 1:3 [NIV reads "through Him"], Jn 1:7, John 1:10, Jn 3:17, Jn 14:6, Acts 2:22, 3:16, Acts 7:25, Acts 10:43, Acts 13:38, 39, Ro 5:9 [note], Ro 8:37 [note], Ro 11:36 [note]; 1Co 8:6, Ep 2:18 [note], Php 4:13 [note], Col 1:20 [note], Col 2:15 [note], Col 3:17 [note], Heb 7:25 [note], Heb 13:15 [note], 1Pe 1:21[note], 1John 4:9

 

Would you like more study on the wonderful topic of through Him? Study also the NT uses of the parallel phrase through Jesus (or similar phrases - "through Whom", "through our Lord", etc) - John 1:17, Acts 10:36, Ro 1:4, 5- note; Ro 1:8-note, Ro 2:16-note,  Ro 5:1-note; Ro 5:2-note Ro 5:11-note,  Ro 5:21-note, Ro 7:25-note, Ro 16:27-note, 1Cor 15:57, 2Cor 1:5, 3:4, 5:18, Gal 1:1, Eph 1:5-note, Php 1:11-note, 1Th 5:9-note; Titus 3:6-note, He 1:2-note; He 2:10-note, Heb 13:21-note, 1Pe 2:5-note, 1Pe 4:11-note, Jude 1:25)

All things are from Him, through Him and to Him. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Reconcile (604) (apokatallasso from apó = from = state to be left behind + katallásso = reconcile) is intensive and is not just simply "reconcile" but to reconcile fully!   It pictures the total, complete, and full restoration of the relationship of disturbed peace. One might paraphrase it that Christ "might reconcile thoroughly them both." This is great news for helpless, ungodly, sinners.

Apokatallasso - 3x in the NT - Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:20, 22

See also article by Wayne House - Colossians - The Doctrine of Salvation in Colossians - Redemption, Reconciliation

Reconciliation produces the restoration of a relationship of peace which has been disturbed (Where? in the garden of Eden). At the right time (Ro 5:6, the "fullness [or pleroma] of time" Gal 4:4) through Christ's propitiatory (satisfying the justice God's holiness demanded) sacrifice, God was reconciled in that justice was satisfied at Calvary in the pouring out of His wrath on the Lamb of God. Sinful man is reconciled in that his attitude of enmity toward God is changed to one of friendship.

To reconcile is to take someone who is hostile towards someone else and change that into a friendly relationship. Unsaved ungodly man is an enemy of God and is hostile toward Him and God takes the initiative in this estranged relationship and sent Jesus to be our Mediator Who by faith in His sacrificial death and resurrection life brings us into a friendly relationship with God. (Eph 2:16-note

Paul used this stronger verb (apokatallasso compared to katallasso [word study]) in Colossians as a counterattack against the false teachers. Because they held that Christ was merely another spirit being emanating from God, they also denied the possibility of man’s being reconciled to God by Christ alone. In refuting that denial, Paul emphasizes that there is total, complete, and full reconciliation through the Lord Jesus. Inasmuch as He possesses all the fullness of deity (Col 1:19-note; Col 2:9-note), Jesus is able to fully reconcile sinful men and women to God (Col 1:20-note).

Vincent remarks that

The verb contains a hint of restoration to a primal unity.

S Lewis Johnson illustrates reconciliation writing that...

When we think of an illustration in the New Testament, one of the illustrations that comes to my mind is the parable of the forgiving father, often called the parable of the prodigal son (See Luke 15:11-32). But the important person in the parable is not the son, the important person is the father. That’s the way we do, we tend to want to look at things so selfishly that by the time we read one of the Lord’s parables we’ve turned it around and made it something else. In the parable of the forgiving father, the father with the two sons, one of whom is the prodigal and the other is the one who stayed at home, in that parable, the climax of the parable is when the father sees the son finally returning, and races down the road in order to fall upon his neck. It’s Jesus Christ’s picture of God. And the picture of the return of the prodigal, who forgives beforehand – who has already forgiven – is the picture of the reconciliation of the Jew to God and the Gentile to God, and of both together to the Lord God.

“That he might reconcile both to one God in one body.”

We often think of God as a God Who requires that we do certain things before he will love us. But that is so foolish. The Bible does not present to us a God before whom we must do certain things in order for Him to love us. The Bible presents a God Who has loved us before, and has given the Son as the redeeming sacrifice in order to save His people. Sometimes we sing Wesley’s “Arise my Soul, Arise.” It has a stanza that goes,

“My God is reconciled, his pardoning voice I hear.”  (play)

Occasionally, in order to stress the fact that it is not God Who needs reconciliation but man who needs reconciliation – you’ll notice the text in verse 16 says “and that he might reconcile both unto God,” – we changed the first line of the hymn,

“To God I’m reconciled, his pardoning voice I hear.”

I think that’s much more harmonious with Scripture. (pdf)

The Greeks spoke of people in opposition to each other being “reconciled” or being made friends again. When people change from being at enmity with each other to being at peace, they are said to be reconciled. The root verb katallasso meant to legally reconcile two disputing parties in court and in the New Testament is used of a believer’s reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ.

Reconciliation takes someone who is hostile towards someone else, and changes that into a friendly relationship. This word means to change thoroughly. The double use of prepositions as prefixes (apo, kata) emphasizes the totality of the reconciliation.

Lightfoot says

“The false teachers aimed at effecting a partial reconciliation between God and man through the interposition of angelic mediators. The apostle speaks of an absolute and complete reconciliation of universal nature to God, effected through the mediation of the Incarnate Word. Their mediators were ineffective, because they were neither human nor divine. It was necessary that in Him all the plenitude of the Godhead should dwell. It was necessary also that He should be born into the world and should suffer for man."

ALL THINGS TO HIMSELF: ta panta eis auton:

Do not take Colossians 1:20 as an endorsement of universalism (all will be saved = Satan's great lie!).

All things including the universe as if the universe were somehow out of harmony reminds us of the passage in [Ro 8:19, 20, 21, 22, 23]. Sin somehow has put the universe "out of joint". Christ will set it right.

Job 25:5 If even the moon has no brightness and the stars are not pure in His sight

HAVING MADE PEACE: eirenopoiesas (AAPMSN): (Eph 2:13, 14,15 Ps 85:10,11 Lk 2:14)  

Made peace (1517) (eirenopoieo from eirene [word study] from eiro = join, set at one again, bind or join together what is broken or divided + poieo = make) means to be a peace-maker, to harmonize, to make peace. Eirenopoieo concerns itself with bringing about a cessation of hostilities.

Peace is not just the absence of strife. It describes the situation where two things come together and there is nothing in between anymore to cause friction. There is no longer a barrier between the two. Peace means to set at one again or join together that which is separated. In secular Greek eirene described the cessation or absence of war. Colossians 1:20 teaches the binding together together is by the means of His precious blood shed on Calvary for me. Even the curse that sin placed on the material universe will one day also be removed through His blood. Sin has disturbed somehow the harmony of the entire universe! (Ro 8:18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23- See notes Ro 8:18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23.)

In Ephesians we read a parallel truth...

For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. (See notes Ephesians 2:14; 2:15; 2:16)

THROUGH THE BLOOD OF HIS CROSS: dia tou haimatos tou staurou autou: (Lev 6:30, Lev 23:19 Ro 3:25 Ro 5:1,Heb 10:10 Heb 13:20, 21)  

This for the benefit of the Docetic Gnostics (See Docetism or Wikipedia article on docetism) who denied the real humanity of Jesus. In (Ps 22:6)  speaking of His crucifixion Jesus called Himself a ''worm'' saying...

I am a worm and not a man, a reproach of men and despised by the people (Ps 22:6) 

The female worm of species coccus ilicis, when laying her eggs, affixes her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she never leaves again. The eggs deposited beneath her body are thus protected until the larvae are hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother dies, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood. From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the commercial scarlet dyes of antiquity were extracted. What a picture this gives of Christ, dying on the tree, shedding His precious blood that He might "bring many sons unto glory" The wood, her body, and the young are reddened with the death of the life-giving mother. In a similar image the Lord Jesus made "peace through the blood of his cross".

It is fascinating and doubtless not a coincidence that the word worm (Hebrew = towla) used by Jesus in (Ps 22:6) is the same Hebrew word used by Isaiah (Isa 1:18) 

Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson (Hebrew = towla) , They will be like wool.

Oh the deep, deep mystery of redemption. Worthy is the Lamb Who was slain as a "worm"!

Guzik says

we should not regard the blood of the cross in a superstitious manner. It is not a magical potion, nor is it the literal blood of Jesus, literally applied that saves or cleanses us. If that were so, then His Roman executioners, splattered with His blood, would have been automatically saved, and the actual number of molecules of Jesus' literal blood would limit the number of people who could be saved. The blood of the cross speaks to us of the real, physical death of Jesus Christ in our place, on our behalf, before God. That literal death in our place, and the literal judgment He bore on our behalf, is what saves us.

THROUGH HIM WHETHER THINGS ON EARTH OR THINGS IN HEAVEN: (di autou) eite ta epi tes ges eite ta en tois ouranois: (Eph 1:10 Php 2:10 Ro 8:19, 20, 21, 22, 23). 

Gnostics taught that a man could be partially reconciled to God through the ministry of angels. Gnostics placed Jesus in the same category as angels, who they believed had the fulness of the Godhead, the nature of God within them. It was not just His death but the shedding of His blood.

The death of Jesus satisfied the love of God.

The blood of Jesus satisfied the justice of God.

His blood HAD to be shed and this blood was not just "divine" blood because a spirit does not have blood. This explains the Hebrews 10:5 (see note) passage

Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, "SACRIFICE AND OFFERING YOU HAVE NOT DESIRED, BUT A BODY YOU HAVE PREPARED (Heb 10:5-note)

Why a body? So Jesus could shed His blood on the Cross and die for you and I. An angel could not have done this. Only a man, in this case a perfect Man. His shed blood satisfied (propitiated) the Father and tore down the barrier, allowing man to be reconciled to God. He made "peace through the blood of His cross."

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F B Meyer -  THE BASIS OF PEACE - THE BASIS of redemption and peace was laid on Calvary, when our Lord died for the sins of the world. In Lev 17:11, we learn that "the life, or soul, of the flesh is in the blood' (R.V. marg.); from which we infer that the forth-flowing of the blood of Christ was the forth-pouring of His soul as a sacrifice for sin.

It may be asked: Granted that the blood of Christ represents His soul which was poured out for sinful men, how did this marvellous act of self-sacrifice constitute a basis for peace? The full answer to that question is impossible in our present limited knowledge. It is one of the secret things which belong to the Lord our God, hidden from us now, to be revealed when we are full-grown.

But never suppose that the shedding of Christ's blood was necessary to make God love us, to appease His wrath or wring from His unwilling hand an edict of redemption. "God was in Christ reconciling the worm unto Himself.'" The Father does not love us because Jesus died, but He went to the Cross because of God's love for us who chose us to be joint-heirs with His Son.

But there is one condition to be fulfilled. The access into Peace is open only to those who believe. We are justified by faith; we have peace through believing. The Apostle says that "through our Lord Jesus Christ we have now received the Atonement" (Col 1:11). The redemption is accomplished; we have but to receive it. The atonement of peace is made, it is only for us to take it. "For as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness, unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord." As we receive eternal life, and the Holy Spirit with open and thankful hearts, relying on the Divine assurance by faith, we enter into the great inheritance of Peace, and the gifts of God in Grace and Nature become our own.

PRAYER - O Most Merciful Lord, Grant to me, above all things that can be desired, to rest in Thee, and in Thee to have my heart at peace. Thou art the true peace of the heart, Thou its only rest; out of Thee all things are hard and restless. In this very peace that is in Thee, the one Eternal God, I will sleep and rest. AMEN. - F B Meyer. Our Daily Walk.

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Some people think that they can "make peace with God." They are quite surprised if you tell them they are almost 2,000 years too late to do that. It was our Lord Jesus Christ who accomplished that tremendous spiritual feat "through the blood of His cross" — a thing impossible for any sinful man to do. No, we do not have to make peace with God, all we have to do is accept it!

Dr. F. B. Meyer tells of an experience he had with a woman in England. He had been speaking to her of receiving God's grace by faith. She could not understand his message, and told him so. At tea with her a day later, he suddenly turned and said, "Madam, may I please have a cup of tea?" She looked at his table and said, "Why, Dr. Meyer, you have a cup of tea." A little later he said again, "Will you please give me a cup of tea?" She replied, "Why, Dr. Meyer, don't you see, you have a cup of tea right there at your plate." In a few moments he said again, "Please give me a cup of tea! I'm so tired, and I need it." Utterly bewildered, his hostess started to speak, then caught her breath. After a moment she said, "Oh, Dr. Meyer, I see it all now. What you mean is that the Lord's blessing, power, and forgiveness are right here before me, yet I am asking and asking for it, instead of taking it and finding peace through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Some people say, "I prayed and prayed that God would receive me when I came earnestly seeking salvation, but I still do not know if I have it!" Why, my dear friend, God is much more eager to save you than you are to be saved. The very first time you came, He received you! For He has promised, "Whosoever cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out." The devil is making you concentrate on your "feelings" and your own unworthiness, when you should be looking to the Lord Jesus Christ, for it is His righteousness that you need. You can't make peace, He has made it — all you have to do to receive it is to accept Him.

Peace rules the day when Christ rules the heart !

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F B Meyer - THE GOD OF PEACE - WE ALL need Peace! There are sources of Peace which are common to all men. The peace of a happy home; of an increasing business and enlarging influence; of the respect and love of our fellows. As a man is conscious of these, he is inclined to say with Job, "I shall die in my nest." We can all understand a peace like that; but there is a "peace that passeth understanding." It is too deep for words. It is like the pillowed depths of the ocean, which are undisturbed by the passing storm. Here is a sufferer, almost always in acute pain, and needing constant attention, and yet so happy. Joy and Peace, like guardian angels, sit by that bedside; and Hope, not blindfolded, touches all the strings of the lyre, and sheds sunshine,--how do you account for it? Let the skeptic and the scoffer answer! Here is a peace that passes understanding which comes from the God of Peace.

For the Christian soul there is a silver lining in every cloud; a blue patch in the darkest sky; a turn in the longest lane; a mountain view which shall compensate the steepest ascent. Wait on the Lord, and keep His way, and He shall exalt thee to inherit the land. The thing impossible shall be; because all things are possible to God.

The peace of God is the peace of the Divine Nature---the very tranquillity which prevails in the heart of the God of Peace. It was of this that Jesus spoke when He said, "My peace I give unto you"; for His own being was filled and blessed with it during His earthly career. "The Lord of Peace Himself give you peace always."

There are three things against which we must ever be on our guard lest they rob us of our peace. First, unconfessed sin; second, worry; third, the permission of an unrebuked selfish principle. The Apostle says, "Let the Peace of God rule in your hearts." The Greek word means arbitrate. Let God's Peace act as umpire.

We shall not escape life's discipline. We may expect to abound here, and to be abased there. But amid all, God's Peace, like a white-winged sentinel angel, shall come down to garrison our heart with its affections, and our mind with its thoughts.

PRAYER - I humbly ask, O God, that Thy Peace may be the garrison of my heart and mind; that it may ever rule within me, asserting itself over the tumultuous passions that arise within. And out of this Peace may I arise to serve Thee. AMEN.

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Octavius Winslow Devotional - SEPTEMBER 6.

"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 once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now has he reconciled." Colossians 1:20, 21

Only trust the salvation of Christ—He would have us commence with what He has constituted the central truth of the gospel—the cross. God has made it the focus of His glory—for around no object do such wonders and glories gather as the cross of Christ—and He would have us make it the central fact of our faith. What a sure ground of trust for a poor sinner is here—the great and complete salvation of the Lord Jesus! Here God Himself rests; for He has confided all His glory to Christ, whom "He has made strong for Himself." And surely if the work of Jesus were sufficient to uphold the moral government and secure the eternal honor of God, there need be no demur, no hesitation on the part of the sinner, there to place his entire trust for forgiveness and acceptance. Sinner as you are, here is a salvation worthy of your confidence. "Christ died for the ungodly." "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities." "Through His blood we have redemption, even the forgiveness of our sins." "By Him all that believe are justified." The great debt of Divine justice Christ has paid. His resurrection from the dead by the glory of the Father is His complete discharge, and now, "whoever will, may come and drink of the water of life freely." To each guilt-stricken, heart-broken, sorrow-burdened, weary sinner Jesus says, "Only trust me." Beloved reader, no partial trust must this be. Your foothold on every other foundation must give way—your grasp upon every other support must loosen—your clinging to duties, to works, to self, in every form, must yield—and your whole, implicit, sole trust for salvation must be in the one atonement which God has provided, in the one salvation which Christ has finished, in the only name given under heaven whereby we must be saved. "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

Never was there before—nor has there been since—nor ever will be again—such ancient, marvelous, stupendous love as the love of Jesus. It is the astonishment of heaven, it is the wonder of angels, and, in their best, holiest, and most self-abased moments, it is the marvel of saints on earth, and will be, through eternity, their study and their praise. His condescending stoop to our nature—His descent from heaven's glory to earth's lowliness—His bearing our sins—His endurance of our curse—His suffering our penalty—His exhaustion of our bitter cup—His resurrection from the grave, and His ascent into heaven, are facts which speak, louder and sweeter than an angel's trumpet, the love of Christ to His church. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it." But not only was Jesus the unveiler of His own heart, but He came to unveil the heart of God. He came, not to inspire the heart of God with an affection for man, but to make known a love already and from eternity existing. He, who only knew the secret love of God's heart, came to reveal that love, its only revealer, and its most precious gift. Christ is God's love embodied—God's love speaking, God's love acting, God's love weeping, God's love dying, God's love inviting. Blessed truth, that he whose arms of faith embrace Christ, in and through Christ also embrace the Triune Jehovah. The Lord Jesus would have us trust His love when it wears the disguise of displeasure—when, changing its appearance and its tones, it looks and speaks threatening and unkind. What a harsh disguise did Joseph wear to his brethren; and yet beneath it there never heat a more loving, tender, or kinder heart than his. Such is our Jesus—the Brother who has saved us from famine and from death, and has done for us more than Joseph did for his brethren—has died for us. Let us trust this love. Trust it when veiled—trust it when it threatens to slay—trust it when it appears to frown—trust it when even we cannot trace it; still, oh, still let us trust in Jesus' love, when, to our dim sight, it would seem never to smile or speak to us again. The time may come, or the circumstances may arise, that shall put to the utmost test our confidence in the Savior's love. When it shall say to us, "Can you make this sacrifice—can you bear this cross for me?" oh, blessed if your heart can reply, "Lord, relying upon Your grace, trusting in Your love, I can—I will—I do!"

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