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Lesson 2 on Colossians: Christ the Head of the Local Church

Person of Christ and Objective Work of Christ for Sinners – Colossians 1.15-23
(10 questions with answers following)
Click here to go to the Introductory Post (Has links to all lessons)
Click here to go to Lesson 3
Added on  April 29, 2017

Answers at the end, following the questions. Those who disagree with anything please see the note at the end. Reasoned dialogue is encouraged and any Bible or fact based comments, if made in a Christian manner in an attempt to get to the truth will be considered.

This is an open book quiz meant to challenge the Bible believer – the saved person who believes the Word of God rather than the person who tries to fit particular Scriptures into a system of interpretation meant to validate one’s desired view of how things should be by philosophizing, allegorizing, or spiritualizing chosen Scriptures. The literal meaning, taken in its immediate context and within the context of all related Scripture is the basis for these studies. It is presented for the glory of God.

Colossians directs our attention to the head of the body who is Christ. The body itself is secondary. Christ is the theme. He is the center of the circle around which all Christian living revolves. Christ is the fullness of God. The dominating thought is that Christ is all I need; He is everything. He is the primary object, and the thought passes downward to the church as the body of Christ.

Colossians was written to the local church at Colosee (with the principles to be applied by all local churches and believers) to counteract the heresy of Gnosticism, the first heresy in the church. There were many forms of Gnosticism, and in Colossee there were the Essenes. There are three points of identification for this group: (1) They had an exclusive spirit. They felt that they were the people—they had knowledge in the jug and held the stopper in their hands. Thus, they felt that they were super-duper in knowledge and knew more than anyone else, including the Apostles. (2) They held speculative tenets on creation. They taught that God did not create the universe directly, but created a creature who in turn created another creature, until one finally created the physical universe. Christ was considered a creature in this long series of creations.  Paul refutes this in Colossians 1:15-19. (3) They practiced asceticism and unrestrained licentiousness. They got the asceticism from the influence of Greek Stoicism and the unrestrained licentiousness from the influence of Greek Epicureanism. Paul refutes this in Colosians 2.16, 23 and 3.5-9.

See, J. Vernon McGee, Colossians for more on this.

Colossians 1:15-19 [PERSON OF CHRIST] “15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 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: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 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. 19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;”

Colossians 1.20-23 [OBJECTIVE WORK OF CHRIST FOR SINNERS] “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. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 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;”

Questions:

PERSON OF CHRIST : COLOSSIANS 1.15-19:

  1. Paul is specifically attempting to answer one of the oldest heresies of the church, ____________. Other heresies included Arianism. Arius of Alexandria said that the Lord Jesus Christ was a creature, a __________ being. Socinus later propagated the heresy that Jesus was not God and that mankind did not need a Saviour from _____, that man is not totally ___________. This is the basis of Unitarianism and some of the ________, including Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  2. There are here ______ marks of identification given here which make Him different from and superior to any other person who has ever lived:

    (1) He is “the ________ of the invisible _____.” He (God) was born flesh. (See Jn. 1.1, 14). If He were not _____, He could not have been the image of the invisible _____.
    (2) “He is the ____________ of every __________.” This reveals His relationship to the Father and His position in the Trinity. His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Mic. 5.2). The child (Jesus) was born, but the son is given (Is. 9.6). Paul is destroying one of the ______________ of that day—that God created a creature, then that creature created a creature, etc.; until finally a creature created this universe. Paul is answering that and saying that Jesus Christ is the firstborn of all ____________; He is back of all ___________. The Greek word is prōtotokos meaning before all creation (See Jn. 1.1-3). God the Father is the ______________ God the son is the _____________ son. The Lord Jesus is called the ____________ from the dead (Col. 1.18). This is what the psalmist spoke of in Psalm 2.7 and explained by Paul in his sermon at Antioch of Pisidia (See Ac. 13.32, 33). Christ ___________ all things. Other verses that make clear that Christ was not a mere creature include Hebrews 1.3 (the second person of the Godhead); Hebrews 1.7, 8 (Speaking of Jesus: “Thy throne, O _____ is for ever and ever….”); Matthew 16.16 and Luke 1.35 (He is the _________, the Son of the living God).
    (3) “By him were all things __________” (verse 16). Thus, he was the one who did the ___________. There are two kinds of creation, the __________ and the ____________. Paul mentions different graduations of rank in spiritual intelligences: __________, ____________, _________________, ________. Our spiritual enemies, Satan and his followers, have different gradations of rank.
    (4) All things were created “for _____.” This all shows that this is _____’s universe. And we are ______________ with the Lord Jesus Christ!
    (5) “He is before all things.” All _________ dwells in the preincarnate and the incarnate _________ (Col.2.9).
    (6) “By him all things consist.” He holds everything together. He maintains and directs __________. He is the Elmer’s Glue of the ___________. See also, He. 1.3.
    (7) “He is the head of the body, the church.” In Ephesians, the emphasis was on the fact that a church is a _______________ _______. In Colossians, the emphasis is on the _______ of the body, the person of the _______ _________ ____. In Philippians we see a church with feet, walking through the world—we see the experience of a church, of a believer. “The firstborn of from the dead.” When a saved loved one dies, the _______ is put to sleep, but the _______________ has gone to be with the Lord. The body, sown in _______________, will be raised in __________________ (1 Co. 15.42) on the basis of His _______________. We shall be as He is (1 Jn. 3.2).
    (8) “That is all things He might have the preeminence.” God is moving toward one goal—to put _________ on the throne of this world which is today in rebellion against _____. He will achieve that goal (See, e.g., Ps. 2.6).
    (9) “It pleased the Father that in him should all the fullness dwell.” In Philippians, Christ __________ Himself of His glory, not his ________, and became a __________. Here, we see that Jesus was _____% God.
  3. Another way to outline Colossians 1.14 -20 would be:

    (1) Christ’s relationship to the __________—verse 15
    (2) Christ’s relationship to __________—verses 16, 17
    (3) Christ’s relationship to the __________—verses 18, 19
    (4) Christ’s relationship to ________—verse 20

    OBJECTIVE WORK OF CHRIST FOR SINNERS: COLOSSIANS 1.20-23:
  4. “Having made peace through the blood of his cross” means that by His paying the penalty on the cross for your _____ and my _____, peace has been made between God and the __________. “Therefore being justified by ________, we have ________ with God through our _______ __________ __________” (Ro.5.1).
  5. “By him to reconcile all things unto himself.” Reconciliation is toward _____; redemption is toward _____. 2 Co. 5.28-20: “18 And all things are of God, who hath _______________ us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of _________________; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, _______________ the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of ____________________. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye _______________ to God.” God is _______________. He is asking man to be _______________ to Him.

    “Reconcile all things.” The “all things” is limited to all things that are to be _______________, those which are appointed to __________________.
  6. “Whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Notice that Paul does not mention things _________ the earth as he did in Phil. 2.10. The things _________ the earth are not reconciled to Him at all. Notice that __________ must also be reconciled.
  7. (See v. 21) God reconciled us to Himself when

    a. our good works outweighed our bad works
    b. we were in rebellion against God
    c. we were baptized and started going to church
    d. we were doing wicked works
    e. a and c
    f. b and d
  8. “”The body of his flesh.” Christ suffered in a real ______.
  9. “To present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” _______________ means without blemish. _______________ means unaccusable or unchargeable. He is able to present us unblameable because:

    a. we are righteous.
    b. He took our place.
    c. we do good works.
    d. we have good character.

    Explain your answer. Sample explanation given in answer below.
  10. If you are a _______ of God today, you will ___________ in the faith grounded and settled. The “if” in verse 23 is the “if” of argument. It means that something was if something else is true. Paul’s point is that we have been ______________—it is an accomplished ______.

Answers

PERSON OF CHRIST: COLOSSIANS 1.15-19:

  1. Paul is specifically attempting to answer one of the oldest heresies of the church, Gnosticism. Other heresies included Arianism. Arius of Alexandria said that the Lord Jesus Christ was a creature, a created being. Socinus later propagated the heresy that Jesus was not God and that mankind did not need a Saviour from sin, that man is not totally depraved. This is the basis of Unitarianism and some of the cults, including Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  2. There are here nine marks of identification given here which make Him different from and superior to any other person who has ever lived:

    (1) He is “the image of the invisible God.” He (God) was born flesh. (See Jn. 1.1, 14). If He were not God, He could not have been the image of the invisible God.
    (2) “He is the firstborn of every creature.” This reveals His relationship to the Father and His position in the Trinity. His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5.2). The child (Jesus) was born, but the son is given (Isaiah 9.6). Paul is destroying one of the philosophies of that day—that God created a creature, then that creature created a creature, etc.; until finally a creature created this universe. Paul is answering that and saying that Jesus Christ is the firstborn of all creation; He is back of all creation. The Greek word is prōtotokos meaning before all creation. See John 1.1-3. God the Father is the everlasting God the son is the everlasting son. The Lord Jesus is called the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1.18). This is what the psalmist spoke of in Psalm 2.7 and explained by Paul in his sermon at Antioch of Pisidia (See Ac. 13.32, 33). Christ created all things. Other verses that make clear that Christ was not a mere creature include Hebrews 1.3 (the second person of the Godhead); Hebrews 1.7, 8 (Speaking of Jesus: “Thy throne, O God is for ever and ever….”); Matthew 16.16 and Luke 1.35 (He is the Christ, the Son of the living God).
    (3) “By him were all things created” (verse 16). Thus, he was the one who did the creating. There are two kinds of creation, the visible and the invisible. Paul mentions different graduations of rank in spiritual intelligences: thrones, dominions, principalities, powers. Our spiritual enemies, Satan and his followers, have different gradations of rank.
    (4) All things were created “for Him.” This all shows that this is God’s universe. And we are jointheirs with the Lord Jesus Christ!
    (5) “He is before all things.” All fullness dwells in the preincarnate and the incarnate Christ (Col.2.9).
    (6) “By him all things consist.” He holds everything together. He maintains and directs creation. He is the Elmer’s Glue of the universe. See also, He. 1.3.
    (7) “He is the head of the body, the church.” In Ephesians, the emphasis was on the fact that a church is a spiritual body. In Colossians, the emphasis is on the head of the body, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Philippians we see a church with feet, walking through the world—we see the experience of a church, of a believer. “The firstborn of from the dead.” When a saved loved one dies, the body is put to sleep, but the individual has gone to be with the Lord. The body, sown in corruption, will be raised in incorruption (1 Co. 15.42) on the basis of His resurrection. We shall be as He is (1 Jn. 3.2).
    (8) “That is all things He might have the preeminence.” God is moving toward one goal—to put Jesus on the throne of this world which is today in rebellion against God. He will achieve that goal (See, e.g., Ps. 2.6).
    (9) “It pleased the Father that in him should all the fullness dwell.” In Philippians, Christ emptied Himself of His glory, not his diety, and became a servant. Here, we see that Jesus was 100% God.
  3. Another way to outline Colossians 1.14 -20 would be:

    (1) Christ’s relationship to the Father—verse 15
    (2) Christ’s relationship to creation—verses 16, 17
    (3) Christ’s relationship to the church—verses 18, 19
    (4) Christ’s relationship to the cross—verse 20

OBJECTIVE WORK OF CHRIST FOR SINNERS: COLOSSIANS 1.20-23:

  1. “Having made peace through the blood of his cross” means that by His paying the penalty on the cross for your sin and my sin, peace has been made between God and the sinner. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ro.5.1).
  2. “By him to reconcile all things unto himself.” Reconciliation is toward man; redemption is toward God. 2 Co. 5.28-20: “18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 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. 20 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.” God is reconciled. He is asking man to be reconciled to Him.

    “Reconcile all things.” The “all things” is limited to all things that are to be reconciled, those which are appointed to reconciliation.
  3. “Whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Notice that Paul does not mention things under the earth as he did in Phil. 2.10. The things under the earth are not reconciled to Him at all. Notice that heaven must also be reconciled.
  4. (See v. 21) God reconciled us to Himself when

    b (we were in rebellion against God) and d (we were doing wicked works)
  5. “”The body of his flesh.” Christ suffered in a real body.
  6. “To present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” Unblameable means without blemish. Unreproveable means unaccusable or unchargeable. He is able to present us unblameable because:

    He took our place.

    Sample explanation: 2 Co. 5.21: “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.”
  7. If you are a child of God today, you will continue in the faith grounded and settled. The “if” in verse 23 is the “if” of argument. It means that something was if something else is true. Paul’s point is that we have been reconciled—it is an accomplished fact.

Should you disagree with an answer given, please explain why you disagree in the comment section below the article. All reasoned comments will be published, perhaps with reply. The purpose of this website is the Glory of God. God cannot be glorified by shutting out honest disagreement in the search for truth. The author would be interested in your explanation. The comments are required by the website to be approved or disapproved. The author is very busy with many matters and may or may not immediately notice your comment. He will address it as soon as he notices it. He almost always approves comments presented with a godly spirit. He never alters comments. Sometimes, he replies to comments.


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