The Majesty of the Lord Jesus

December 21, 2021

In the first two chapters of the book of Colossians we receive a stunning view of the glory and majesty of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We get an inspired glimpse of who He is, and who He was from all eternity.  Listen to these splendid words: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17, NASB).  Nothing has been made, whether visible or invisible, that wasn’t made by and for Jesus Christ.  There is no throne or dominion, whether human or in the spiritual realm, that Jesus Christ is not far above.  Even as you read these words, Jesus Christ is holding together the entire universe by the word of His power.  Should He stop holding it all together, everything we know, everything we can see and can’t see—from the smallest atom to the most distant galaxy—would cease to exist.

And if anything could be more stunning than the amazing majesty and power of our Lord, it is this:  that the creator and sustainer of all things would empty Himself, take on a human body, and give up His life for us.  Jesus, the Eternal One, the All-Powerful One, gave everything so that sinful, undeserving people like you and me can share in His life.  “And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach (Colossians 1:21-22, NASB) Even though we were hostile to God, even though we were living in evil, Christ came to save us.  He came so that we could be holy and without blame in His sight.  The One in whom all the fullness of Deity dwells came so that we would be filled up to His fullness (Colossians 2:9-10, Ephesians 3:19).

Each Lord’s Day, we gather to fall down and worship the One who created all things, who is above all things, and yet who humbled Himself to the point of death on a cross so that we might truly live through Him.  May our souls magnify the Lord and rejoice in God, our Savior.     

— Scott Colvin


Once, Now, and If

April 24, 2020

They are two adverbs and a conjunction — once, now, and if. You may not be able to label parts of speech in a sentence, but you know how English works. These three words reveal the structure of Paul’s thought in Colossians 1:21-23. Once speaks about the past. Now speaks about the present, and if speaks about a potential, conditional future. It is good for us to ponder once, now, and if as we think about Paul’s message

With the word “once,” Paul points to the past, the pre-Christian past of his readers. They were once alienated. This is an objective statement about status outside of Christ. Christians can and should be welcoming to non-Christians in the assembly. But just as tourists can be welcomed in a foreign country and yet not have the privileges of citizenship until they have moved from the category of aliens to citizens, the same is true for those outside of Christ.

But Paul has two more descriptions of the past: hostile in mind and doing evil deeds. The classic statement that says our way of thinking is different from God’s is Isaiah 55:8-9.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  Isaiah 55:8–9, ESV

The more alienated we are from God, the more our thinking is going to be off, and the more our thinking is off, the more our behavior will be wrong, even evil.

“Now” indicates the present. The Christian’s present is different from the past. Now we are reconciled to God by the death of Christ. Reconciliation means that the broken relationship that was once hostile and alienated has been made right. We have been brought near. This is done so that we might be presented holy, blameless, and above reproach before him. There is the justification sense of this. Because I am in Christ, “there is now no condemnation for those who are Christ Jesus”. There is also the sanctification sense. Because I am in Christ, I am actually growing more holy in life and conduct.

Finally, there is the big “if”. Paul says that we must continue in the faith. Although translations differ here (“the faith” ESV, NASB, KJV, NKJV and “your faith” NIV), I think “the faith” is preferable, although both statements would be true. The Greek text does have the definite article (i.e., the), and it seems to link up with what was heard and proclaimed in the latter part of the sentence.

Paul wants us to be stable, steadfast, and not shifting from the faith, the apostolic message. If we do that, we will stand before God blameless and above reproach.

Paul gives us a glimpse into our past, present, and future with once, now, and if.

-Russ Holden