Paul’s Portrayal of Jesus in the Epistles
Following his conversion on the road to Damascus, Paul was tasked with spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (Acts 9). (Acts 9). Prior to this, he was a hater of Christians and a murderer of Christians. His words may be found in Acts 22:20–21: “And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was spilt, I likewise stood by, consenting unto his death, and preserved the raiment of them who slaughtered him.” After that, he said to me, “Depart, because I will send thee far away to the Gentiles.” As a result, his picture of Jesus in the Epistles (letters) that he composed is highly personal, as you might expect.
To be more specific, Paul describes Jesus in each of his letters in a unique way (with the exception of Philemon which was a personal letter of appeal to a slave owner).
My list contains passages from the book of Hebrews because, despite the fact that it is a little known book, I think Paul penned it.
Jesus the Peacemaker
1–2 The book of Romans As a result, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also gain access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we exult in the hope of the glory of God.
Jesus the Lord of Glory
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2:8 that Which none of the princes of this world were aware of, for if they had been aware of it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory in the first place.
Jesus the Only Foundation
1 Corinthians 3:11 (New International Version) Because no other foundation can be placed than the one that has already been established, namely is Jesus Christ.
Jesus the Our Passover
1 Corinthians 5:7–8 (New International Version) Purge out the old leaven, so that you may be a new lump, as if you had never been leavened before. Due to the fact that Christ himself was sacrificed for us, we should observe the feast with unleavened bread, not with old leaven, nor with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Jesus the Destroyer of Death
1 Corinthians 15:24–26 is a biblical passage. Then comes the culmination, when he will have handed the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he will have abolished every rule, authority, and power on the earth. It is necessary for him to continue to reign until he has subdued all of his adversaries. To be sure, death is the final adversary that must be defeated.
Jesus the Light of the Gospel
2 Corinthians 4:4 (New International Version) Those in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, lest the beautiful gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them.
Galatians 5:1 is the first verse in the book of Galatians. Stand firm, therefore, in the liberty that Christ has purchased for us, and do not allow yourself to be entangled again in the yoke of slavery.
Jesus the Measure of a Perfect Man
Paul writes in Ephesians 4:13 that I believe that we will all come to a complete man, to the measure of the full stature of Christ, until we are all united in the faith and in the knowledge of theSon of God.
Jesus the Prize
Paul writes in Philippians 3:8 that Yes, without a doubt, and I consider all things to be loss because of the excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord: for him I have suffered the loss of all things, and consider them to be trash, in order that I may gain Christ.
Jesus the Head of the Church
Colossians 1:18 is a biblical passage. The head of the body, the church, is Christ, who is the beginning of creation, the firstborn from the dead, in order that he could have the preeminence in all things.
Jesus the Advent
1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 (New International Version) After all, the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a mighty cry, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. After that, we who are alive and remain will be taken up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will be with the Lord for all of ever.
Jesus the King of Kings
Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 6:15, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.” Which he will demonstrate in his time, as the glorious and sole Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords; and
Jesus the Judge of All
Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:16. I therefore accuse thee in the presence of God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his coming and reigning on the earth;
Jesus the Redeemer
Titus 2:14 (New International Version) And he gave himself up for us, in order that he may redeem us from all our sins and purify unto himself a particular people, eager for good deeds.
Jesus the Captain
1 Thessalonians 2:10 As a result of bringing many sons to glory, and as a result of making the captain of their salvation complete by suffering, it fell to him, for whom all things are and through whom all things are, to bring many sons to glory.
Jesus the High Priest
Hebrews 4:14 is a verse in the Bible that says Due to the fact that we have a great high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has been raised from the dead, let us remain steadfast in our professions of faith.
Jesus the Author and Finisher of Faith
12:2 (Hebrews 12:2) Consider Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the humiliation, and has been seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Paul had a distinct viewpoint on Jesus, which you can read about here. His Jewish religion was deeply held, and yet God chose him to be the one to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles when the Jews turned away from the message (Romans 11). He remained steadfast in his commitment to proclaim Jesus and to create churches with the purpose of doing the same. So thankful that God preserved Paul for this reason, and that it is because of him that the gospel has been spread to me! More information on Paul may be found here: Apostle Paul’s Biography and Characteristics Scripture quotes are taken from the King James Version of the Holy Bible as a resource.
Did Paul think Jesus was God?
The Apostle Paul is credited with producing the earliest Christian writings that have survived to this day. In the case of First Thessalonians, Paul’s earliest writings date from approximately A.D. 51, and in the case of Acts, they date from roughly 20 years after the death of Jesus in A.D. 30. It’s worth noting that Paul’s opinions on Jesus were unprecedented in the Judaism of his day. Paul considered Jesus to be God in his mind. From this, it becomes plausible to conclude that Paul had a high Christology, in which Jesus was worshipped and devoted in a way that had no obvious precedence in the Judaism of the first century and that was unique to Paul.
1 It is noteworthy to observe that Paul never provides a systematic defense of his beliefs about Jesus (Christology). In the churches to whom he writes, he takes his love to Jesus and belief in his divinity for granted, just as he does in his own.
1. Jesus is Yahweh
One of the most compelling evidences that Paul believed Jesus to be Yahweh is the fact that he applied monotheistic Old Testament verses that specifically referred to Yahweh to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is perhaps the most compelling evidence that Paul believed Jesus to be Yahweh (Romans 10:13 cf. Joel 2:32; 1 Cor. 1:31 cf. Jer. 9:24; 1 Cor. 2:16 cf. Isa. 40:13; 1 Cor. 10:26 cf. Ps. 24:1; 2 Cor. 10:17 cf. Jer. 9:24 for just a few examples). As an example, 1 Corinthians 2:16 relates to Isaiah 40:13, which is found in the context of some of the most emphatic monotheistic declarations found in the whole Old Testament, including verses like as (cf.
- 1 A.
- 2 When a New Testament author quotes from the Old Testament, the Old Testament material is typically written in ALL CAPS in many current translations of the Bible.
- In Romans 10:13, Paul, on the other hand, takes the Lord reference from Joel 2:32 and applies it to Jesus.
- As a side note, the Lord in 1 Corinthians 1:11 is a reference to Jesus, while the quote is a reference to God, or more specifically Yahweh.
- Refer to Isaiah 40:131 in 1 Corinthians 2:16.
- “But we have the mentality of Christ,” says the author.
- Comments: The Lord in the context of 1 Corinthians 2 is identified as Jesus, but the Lord in the context of Isaiah 40:13 is identified as Yahweh.
- 1 Corinthians 10:26; compare.
- 1 Corinthians 10:26; cf.
- Jeremiah 9:242; 2 Corinthians 10:17) 10:17; 1 Corinthians 10:17 “However, HE WHO BOASTS IS TO BOAST IN THE LORD,” says the Bible.
As a side note, the Lord in 2 Corinthians 10:4 refers to Jesus, but the Lord in Jeremiah 9:24 refers to the Hebrew word for “Lord.”
2. Jesus Receives Prayer
During their devotional practices, the early Christians prayed to Jesus for his return and blessing, and they were even referred to as those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, which suggests that such prayer was a regular component of their devotional practices (1 Cor. 1:2; 16:22; 2 Cor. 12:8; Rom. 10:13). 1 Corinthians 1:2 and Romans 10:13, for example, both make use of an Old Testament verse referring to Yahweh, which was the exclusive name for God in the Hebrew language, to apply it to Jesus.
3. Jesus Receives Hymns
They also wrote songs in which Jesus is described as pre-existent and engaged in the themes of creation, redemption, and end-time salvation, among other things (Phil. 2:6-11). Only God was the Creator, and the fact that Jesus participated in that act suggests that He may be considered as uniquely partaking in God’s identity or as God Himself. Additionally, the fact that Paul believed Jesus was pre-existent suggests that he very probably believed in the incarnation, or Jesus’ coming to earth in the form of a human being (cf.
4. Jesus is Pre-Existent
As previously established, Paul held the belief that Jesus existed prior to the creation of the world (cf. Rom. 8:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; 10:4; 15:47; 2 Cor. 8:9; Gal. 4:4). As far as I can tell, this is completely compatible with the concept of Jesus being incarnated as a person.
- Paul writes in Romans 8:3, “For God accomplished what the Law, weak as it was through the flesh, could not: He sent His own Son, in the form of sinful flesh, to be offered as a sacrifice for sin, and by doing so, He condemned sin in the flesh.” “Yet for us, there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist
- And one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and through whom we exist,” says 1 Corinthians 8:6, “Yet for us, there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist
- And one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and through whom we exist.” The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:4, “And they all drank from the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.” “The first man is of the earth, earthy
- The second man is of the heavens,” says 1 Corinthians 15:47. According to the Bible’s 2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was wealthy, yet for your sake He became poor, in order that you may become rich through His poverty.”
- Galatians 4:4, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent out His Son, who was born of a woman, and who was born under the Law.”
5. Jesus is Creator
Paul also recognized Jesus as the Creator, saying, “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things and for whom we exist; and one God, the Son, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (See 1 Corinthians 8:6). “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who fashioned you from your mother’s womb: “I, the LORD, am the creator of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth by Myself,” according to Isaiah 44:24.
Paul, on the other hand, claims that Jesus created everything.
The fact that Paul was well acquainted with this Isaiah 44:24 passage, owing to his grasp of the surrounding context in Isaiah 40-44, as evidenced by his numerous other allusions to Isaiah, is also crucial to note (1 Cor.
6. Other Indications
Other substantial signs exist that the early Christians, such as Paul, considered Jesus in the same way that they did the Father. The first step was for these early Christians to formulate creedal declarations in which Jesus was the focal point (Rom. 1:3-4; 10:9-10). Secondly, they defined their worship sessions as a “gathering in the name of the Lord” (1 Cor. 5:4). Third, they baptized new believers in the name of Jesus (Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27). A sacred supper, known as the “Lord’s Supper,” was celebrated on the fourth day of the week (1 Cor.
As a result, it is reasonable to reach the conclusion reached by David Capes, that “these activities show that early Christians worshipped Jesus and thought of him in the same manner that one thinks of God.” 3 David Capes’s Old Testament Yahweh Texts in Paul’s Christology is a valuable resource.
7. When Did Paul Think Jesus was God?
A significant dilemma emerges when we examine the fact that Paul saw Jesus as a manifestation of God. When did the belief in Jesus as the Son of God first begin to spread? Philippians 2:5-11, which is most likely a pre-Pauline hymn, has one of the oldest evidence of this trust in Jesus as God that we have. The book of Philippians was composed about the year 60 A.D. Because the song was written before the book of Philippians was written, we may assume that it was written in the 1950s or possibly in the 1940s.
This would basically shift the belief in Jesus’ deity back to the 1930s or 1940s, at the earliest possible.
Furthermore, it is noteworthy that Paul travels to Jerusalem in Galatians 1-2, yet we have no record of any of the first apostles disagreeing with or challenging Paul’s high opinions of Jesus.
8. What does this mean?
We should take note of the fact that even in the earliest Christian literature that we have, Jesus is already getting a level of devotion that had no precedence in the Judaism of the historical period in question. This early commitment to Jesus came on like a bolt from the blue, profoundly and explosively abrupt. Some academics have claimed that Jesus was worshipped as both Deity and the crucified and risen Lord at all times, and that there was never a moment when this was not the case. When it comes to the concept of Jesus being pre-existent and coming to earth in the form of a person, or the concept of Jesus being God, this is not something that took years to develop and was somehow contrived by the apostle John somewhere around the late first century.
Does Paul say that Jesus is God in Romans 9:5?
I’ve been perplexed by Romans 9:5—a prominent interpretative stumbling block, as biblical scholars like to say. If Jesus is God, is this a particularly unusual occurrence in the New Testament in which it is explicitly stated? This is how the ESV interprets the situation: They are Israelites, and it is to them that the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the imparting of the law, the worship, and the promises are due, as well as the promises themselves. The patriarchs are descended from them, and the Christ, who is God above all and blessed forever, is descended from their race, according to the flesh.
Instead, is it preferable to treat the final sentence as a stand-alone doxology, as in theRSV: “God who is over all, be blessed for ever”? It all boils down to where we place the periods and commas in our sentences. You have been forewarned. This is not an article for anyone who are easily scared.
Several options exist for punctuating the controversial second half of the stanza, the first of which would provide good support for a high christological view of the world: Amen. A).from whom came forth the Christ in the flesh, the one and only God, who has been blessed throughout the ages, amen. B).from whom the Christ in the flesh derives his authority. God, the supreme being who has been blessed throughout the centuries, amen. C).from whom comes the Christ in the flesh, the one and only person who reigns over everything.
- The majority of critics, including those who reject the christological interpretation of the doxology, appear to agree that reading A makes the most sense in terms of Paul’s syntax.
- 2 Cor.
- Only in one or two occasions does the subject come before the word “blessed” in the LXX (cf.
- 67:19; 71:17LXX).
- Wright makes a big deal out of the fact that Paul does not write “asyndetic” doxologies, which are doxological utterances that are not explicitly tied to what has come before.
- 1:5; 2 Cor.
- 3:21; 2 Tim.
- 4:11; Heb.
However, we must also assess whether or not reading A is theologically reasonable in addition to aesthetic grounds. First and foremost, it seemed improbable to me that Paul would conclude an enumeration of Jewish advantages with the casual assertion that the Messiah is God above all and blessed forever. According to Dunn, such a “leap” would be “surprising, to say the least.” However, the most significant difficulty with reading A is that it is practically hard to reconcile it with the basic form of the connection between God as Father and Jesus as Lord that is found in Paul’s letters to the Corinthians.
- After concluding this introductory paragraph with a “grace,” Paul makes a distinction between “God our Father” and the “Lord Jesus Christ” in the next paragraph (1:7).
- 3 Despite the fact that Romans 1:3-4 emphasizes Jesus’ “universal reign,” which may be equated to the term “the one being above all,” the underlying notion is that of Psalm 2:7-9: Jesus isYHWH’s king who has been “born” and given authority to rule over all nations.
- He does not elevate Jesus to the status of “God.” An analogous difference may be seen in the paragraph that comes immediately before the book of Romans.
- Everything and everyone is bound together by the “love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom.
- The basic distinction of God and Jesus is presupposed throughout this entire tale.
- 1:3; 11:13; Eph.
- 1:3; cf.
- 1:68; Rom.
- A question from the high priest at his trial: “Do you believe that you are the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” (Mk.
- That is, nowhere else is Jesus referred to as “blessed,” and God is always referred to as “blessed” as Father, as opposed to “blessed” as “Lord.” Reading A would represent a major deviation from this norm.
- ” The argument in the New Testament, however, is that, while God is kyrios in the Old Testament, God has given this title, as well as the power that comes with it, to Jesus via the blood of the Lamb.
Being willing to obey God even to death, God “highly elevated him and conferred on him the name that is beyond all names,” which is the Greek word for “king of kings.” The loyalty, obedience, faith, honour, and so on that would have been directed towards YHWHas “Lord” are now to be directed towards Jesus as “Lord,” as is the case in the Old Testament.
- Where Paul had before ascribed global dominion to Christ, this is the first time he does so here.
- According to this interpretation, Paul had abandoned all of his inhibitions and theological circumspection that he had so carefully preserved elsewhere.
- 6 “The Son himself will likewise be submitted to him who placed all things in captivity beneath him, that God may be all in all,” says the Bible.
- It is difficult to comprehend how Paul could claim both that the Christ is God and that Jesus would ultimately be subjugated to God in such a strong and unequivocal manner.
- So, where does this leave us in the end?
Those who reject reading A in favor of an independent doxology must account for the astylisticanomaly that is present in the reading. It is necessary for those who accept reading A to account for a significant theological anomaly. For the time being, I’m going to hold off on making a decision.
The Apostle Paul on the Return of Jesus – Faith Church
A frequent idea in biblical interpretation is to draw on the more obvious passages of Scripture to aid in the understanding of the less obvious portions of Scripture. To begin, let’s consider what Jesus and Paul (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) had to say about the Book of Revelation. I believe that most of us would agree that it is a symbolic book that is difficult to interpret at times. Following up on our discussion of what Jesus taught concerning his second coming and the events leading up to it in last week’s column, we will now shift our attention to what Paul said in his writings.
- The books of 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:11 are two of the most important passages in which Paul portrays the coming of Jesus.
- This would appear to suggest that Jesus’ second coming would be something that everyone may witness and will not take place in secrecy as some have speculated (also see Titus 2:13 and 2 Thessalonians 1:7 on the public nature of his return).
- Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 that the dead will be revived imperishable and that those who are still alive will be converted into new creatures (also see Philippians 3:20-21).
- In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul elaborates on what would take place, as it appears that some people were concerned that those who were already dead would miss out on Jesus’s second coming.
- (1 Thesslonians 4:17).
- Following their meeting with the dignitary, those who had met him would accompany him into town, and so Paul informs us that both the dead and the live faithful would accompany Jesus when he returns to the earth.
- Of course, we need point out that this is only true for those who are in Christ, and that there will be vengeance on those who do not believe in Jesus.
In 1 Corinthians 15:51, Paul describes how everything happens in “the blink of an eye,” so it appears to take place in an instant.
Throughout the New Testament, Paul predicts that Jesus would come as a thief in the night, when we are least expecting it.
This is the gist of Paul’s teaching in 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11, and it is also the gist of Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 24-25: we should be prepared for this to happen at any time.
“He opposes and exalts himself against every so-called deity or object of devotion,” writes Paul, “to such an extent that he takes his seat in the temple of God, declaring himself to be God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
This could indicate that this figure places himself at the center of the church and causes people to look to him instead of God (it could also be metaphorical language drawing upon the imagery from the Old Testament).
It should be noted, however, that there aren’t many specifics provided about this individual by which one may attempt to identify him.
As a result, Paul informed the Thessalonians that this amount had not yet been disclosed because “he who restrains it will continue to do so until he is out of the way.” While there have been a variety of different theories about the identity of the one who is offering restraint, it is important to remember that this is not some sort of divinely sanctioned means; we should not be concerned with who or what is restraining but rather with the fact that something is currently preventing the forces of evil from advancing.
This statement regarding restraint serves as a gentle reminder that everything is taking place according to God’s schedule (God always performs everything at the appropriate time – see Galatians 4:4; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 1:3; Romans 5:6; etc.).
This teaching on wickedness is also seen in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, which states that “in the end days, there will be periods of trouble.” “For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, lacking self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness but denying its power,” says the Bible.
We are warned that things will grow worse in the end, but that does not imply that things are OK in the meantime; 2 Thessalonians 2:7 informs us that the mystery of lawlessness is at work, albeit partially able to operate.
Keep in mind that God always wins, and we must be prepared.
“After that, the lawless one will be revealed,” Paul writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:8.
Do you have questions about the Bible or about theology? Please send them to Pastor Brian at [email protected] if you have any questions. You can also sign up to get weekly emails with links to our blog entries by completing the form on the right side of this page.
Did Paul Write About Jesus as a Historical Person?
Tom Harpur asserts in his book, The Pagan Christ, that the tale of Jesus was a fictitious creation. Harpur asserts that the apostle Paul, whose writings were written before the gospel narratives, never referenced Jesus as a historical character in order to support his claim that there never existed a genuine individual called Jesus as represented in the gospel stories. “The letters of the Apostle Paul are the earliest writings in the New Testament, and they account for more than one-quarter of the overall substance of the New Testament,” Harpur stated.
- ” (2004, p.
- In Harpur’s opinion, this assertion has such weight that “there is no doubt that this is the datum that eventually stares down the proponents of historicity.
- This is absolutely correct.
- Yes, Paul does speak of “this Jesus whom we have seen,” and at times it appears that he is interested in an actual person, but deeper inspection reveals that he is actually speaking about mystical visions of an elevated, spiritual entity whom he refers to as Christ throughout his letter (pp.
- If Paul only addressed Jesus “sometimes” and never referred to Him as a flesh-and-blood human being, is it true that he did not refer to Him as such?
- Harpur’s ability to make such a ridiculous and unscriptural assertion and yet having his book published by anyone who is even remotely familiar with Paul’s writings is astounding.
A total of 218 instances of the name “Jesus” were recorded in Paul’s writings (Strong 2001, p.
Harpur’s claim that Paul “sometimes” referenced Jesus is a blatant lie and defies logic.
An honest examination of Paul’s writings reveals that they are filled with references to Jesus’ name, with the name appearing on average two and a half times every chapter.
“For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,” Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:5, for example.
Furthermore, Paul made it clearer in Philippians that the “likeness of men” that he was referring to was in fact human flesh when he spoke of human flesh.
Even if the New Testament papers were written by the directing hand of God, it seems perfect logical that such material would not be replicated in Paul’s writings, given how carefully Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John recounted the events of their respective books.
Why did God feel the need to record the many miracles and facts of Jesus’ life in the writings of Paul for the fifth time in order to make a point?
Harpur’s objection that Paul did not include enough of the specifics that are recorded in the gospel stories is based on a criterion that he and his fellow skeptics have arbitrarily established, and it demonstrates absolutely nothing about the apostle Paul.
172) is devoid of scholarly integrity and scriptural support.
Details he left out of his writings are in perfect accordance with what one would expect from divine inspiration, and they demonstrate that, while he accepted the historical Jesus, his writings serve as an independent witness to the historical Jesus independent of the gospel stories.
Tom Harpur’s book, The Pagan Christ, was published in 2004. (New York: Walker). It is a reprint of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, which was first published in 2001. (Nashville, TN: Nelson). Published on the 7th of February, 2010. REPRODUCTION DISCLAIMERS: The reproduction of this material in part or in its full is permissible as long as the terms and conditions set out by the author and the publisher are followed. Prerequisites for Reproduction
Paul’s Teaching About Jesus Christ
Because the erroneous teaching in the Colossian church was reducing Jesus Christ to a mere first step towards the knowledge of God, Paul provides us with a more detailed picture of who Jesus truly is in Colossians than he does in any other letter to the church in the New Testament. With one powerful description of Christ after another, he leaves us with little question that we are presented with no one less than God as we come face to face with Christ. The fullness of God’s wisdom can be found only in Jesus Christ.
Beyond Christ, to seek knowledge of God outside of Christ, is to search for an idol, to embrace balsphemy, to go beyond the gospel.
1:15 JESUS CHRIST IS THE VISIBLE LIKENESS OF THE INVISIBLE GOD
|Write out the phrases that describe Jesus as the image of God.|
|2 Cor 4:4-6|
The fact that Jesus Christ is the visible image (likeness) of the unseen God eliminates the necessity for anybody to ever again wonder, “What does God look like?” When we view Jesus Christ, we get a clear and vivid picture of what God is like. When we look at Jesus Christ, we see God. Knowing Jesus Christ leads us to know God. The upshot of this reality is that unless we see God when we see Jesus Christ, our god is not the genuine God. This is a revolutionary concept. If our deity is not the same as Jesus Christ, then our god is not the same as God.
Jesus Christ is the one and only real God.
|How do these verses refer to Jesus?|
|1 John 5:20|
The ability to see and know Jesus Christ is not confined to those who have witnessed him in his physical form, as some would believe. Many people saw and knew him physically, however they did not see or know God – just think of the Jewish leaders who saw and knew him physically. No. That which is spiritual, that which is seeing and knowing Jesus Christ, that which is seeing and knowing God, is only attainable when God himself removes the blindness that Satan has placed in our hearts and thoughts.
For further information, look up the meanings of 2 Corinthians 4:6; Mat 11:25 -27; and 16:17.
1:15 JESUS CHRIST HAS AUTHORITY OVER EVERYTHING – the ‘firstborn over all creation’
When considering the label ‘firstborn,’ it is important to note that its principal importance is in regard to role and position, rather than in relation to chronological order. In a Hebrew home, the ‘firstborn’ was the child who was the heir to all the father owned; he maintained a position of precedence and power in the Father’s household. As a result, Esau, the firstborn son, sold his birthright to his twin brother Jacob, so transferring to Jacob all of the rights and perks associated with being the “firstborn” (Gen 27).
The things that are created are made of different materials than the things that were created.
In terms of time, Jesus Christ is before – he existed before the beginning of time. In addition, he bears the position, rank, and power of the firstborn over the whole cosmos that has been created. This sentence tells us the following:
- In addition, he is the sole heir of the Father
- He was conceived before all ages
- He has precedence in rank and honor above all creation
- And he is the officially recognized head of God’s family. This is a title associated with the Messianic movement.
1:16 ALL THINGS WERE CREATED THROUGH AND FOR JESUS CHRIST
|What fact is common to all of these verses?|
|1 Cor 8:6|
|Rev 1:8,17; 2:8|
Our lives are also wrapped up in a strong and overpowering sense of security because of this reality. If everything in the universe was made by him and for him, then there is nothing in the universe that is beyond his ability to control, and there is nothing in the universe that can or will eventually undermine his purpose. To put it another way, in the context of the Colossians heresy, all of the alleged sources of illumination to which the false teachers were guiding the Christians are evidently less significant than Christ, as opposed to being in addition to and more significant than Christ.
The fact that we were created by Christ and for Christ gives our life an overwhelming sense of meaning.
He is both the beginning and the end of the story.
No one is authorized, in light of this fact, to be critical of themselves or their existence, or to think negatively about themselves.
1:17 JESUS CHRIST EXISTED BEFORE ALL THINGS: HE IS ETERNAL
When Paul speaks of theeternityof Christ, he is alluding to the fact that Christ existed before the creation of time and space. To declare Christ to be everlasting is to declare him to be the Son of God.
|In the KJV all of these verses refer to the ‘eternity’ of God. Write out the parallel phrase from your Bible.|
|How do these NT references express the eternity of Jesus Christ?|
|If God is the eternal one, and the NT claims eternality for Jesus Christ, what does this assume or teach about Jesus Christ?|
1:17 JESUS CHRIST HOLDS THE WHOLE UNIVERSE TOGETHER
- – ‘all things are held together by his mighty word’
- – ‘all things are sustained by his powerful word’
Nothing exists aside from the sustaining force of Jesus Christ, who is the source of all life. It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that everything that exists exists in the shape that it does. The chair you’re sitting in, the metals in your car, the water you drink, and the food you eat all exist in this fashion because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is possible that the entire cosmos might collapse and become nothing if he were to remove his sustaining, cohesive word.
Whether we admit it or not, we are completely reliant on him in the most fundamental sense.
The bogus teachers in Colossae were making fun of this all-powerful Creator-Sustainer in their sermons.
1:18 JESUS CHRIST IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH
- He is the source of its existence
- He is the first-born from the dead
- He is the most important person on the planet.
Not only are we reliant on Jesus Christ for our bodily well-being, but we are also reliant on him for our spiritual well-being and survival. For the rest of time and for all eternity, Jesus Christ is responsible for our continued existence in God’s presence. As the firstborn of the dead, he possesses supreme control over death. The confidence that we who believe in him have already crossed from death to life on a spiritual level and shall, at the end of the age, bodily experience resurrection may be found in this.
|What do these passages teach about the present and future liberation from death that the believer has in Christ?|
|1 Cor 15:35 -57|
1:19 ALL GOD’S FULLNESS DWELLS IN JESUS CHRIST
- – ‘God was pleased to have all of his fullness dwell in him,’ according to the Bible. – Colossians 1:19
- – ‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity dwells in bodily form’ – Colossians 2:9
- – ‘For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form’ – Colossians 2:9
The significance of these two passages cannot be overstated. They are united in their opposition to those who deny Jesus Christ’s Godhead in its entirety. They also oppose anyone who teaches that there is something more to know than what Jesus Christ teaches. All of God’s fullness lives in the person of Jesus Christ. If you take anything away, what you have becomes less than God himself. Whenever you add something other than Jesus Christ, you dilute and pervert what was once the pure truth about God.
You cannot take away from or add to something that is already great while yet maintaining and maintaining that perfection. If you make any additions or subtractions, it will turn from truth to error. God’s perfect and last revelation of himself comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ.
1:25-27 JESUS CHRIST IS THE GOAL AND CONTENT OF ALL GOD’S PREVIOUS REVELATION
2:16,17) (See also 2:16,17). The Old Testament was written in anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ; from Genesis to Malachi, it is replete with references to the Savior. However, this may be seen throughout history, among people, in ritual, and in legislation, as well as plain prophetic prophesy. As Jesus stated: “You carefully study the Scriptures because you believe that it is through them that you will get eternal life.” These are the Scriptures that bear witness to my existence. (See John 5:39.)
1:26,27; 2:2 JESUS CHRIST IS GOD’S ‘SECRET’ OR ‘MYSTERY’
It has been said:the New is in the Old concealed: the Old is in the New revealed. When we read verses like 1 Peter 1:10-12 and Luke 10:21-24 we realise that the old people of God knew there was a secret or mystery. Even those who wrote the words knew that they had a deeper meaning than the obvious. In the coming of Jesus Christ that secret, that mystery, now stands open before our eyes (see 1 Cor 2:6-10). (see 1 Cor 2:6-10).
1:27-28 JESUS CHRIST IS THE CONTENT OF GOSPEL PREACHING
According to Paul, “we proclaim him.” The Gospel is centered on the person of Jesus Christ. This is not based on my desire for fulfillment or anything; it is not based on my desire to be saved from hell and judgment; it is not even based on the incredible work of Jesus Christ on the cross. It is centered on the person of Jesus. Assuming that Jesus is not who he claims to be, the cross becomes meaningless as well as ineffectual, and its promises become hollow and powerless. There is no one other than the true, biblical Jesus who has the authority and the capacity to save us.
2:3 JESUS CHRIST IS THE KEY THAT OPENS ALL THE HIDDEN TREASURES OF THE WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE OF GOD
This reinforces what Paul has previously stated: that everything there is to know about God may be found in and through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Any understanding of God that comes from a source other than the Bible should not be relied upon. At the worst, it is a fabrication; at the best, it is diluted and/or skewed. Because there will always be some element of mistake in it, it will never be the absolute truth. Even if it is merely an error of omission, the presence of an element of mistake unavoidably taints the entire “pot” of truth.
Searching for anything other than or beyond Jesus Christ is a step into the unknown.
2:6 JESUS CHRIST IS LORD
Paul has already emphasized that everything there is to know about God can be found in and through Jesus Christ, and this only serves to reinforce that point even further. A person should not place their trust in any knowledge of God that comes from any other source. It is, at the very least, a fabrication; at the very best, it is diluted and/or misrepresented. Given that there will always be some element of error, there can never be a complete and accurate representation of reality.
Even if it is merely a mistake of omission, the presence of an element of error unavoidably taints the entire “pot” of reality. To know God, we can only have access via Jesus Christ. Attempting to find answers other than or beyond Jesus Christ is a step into the dark.
|Check out this concept in these verses. What to they state as the criteria essential for salvation?|
|1 John 4:2,3|
|1 John 4:15|
|1 John 5:1|
|1 John 5:20|
2:10 JESUS CHRIST IS SUPREME OVER EVERY POWER AND AUTHORITY
In the absence of Jesus Christ’s authority, there is no other power or authority that can exist. According to Rev 17:14, Jesus is the Lord of lords and the King of kings. Although Christ’s authority extends beyond physical or governmental authorities, we must not confine it to them alone; this is evidenced by the work he performed at Calvary, which was then reaffirmed by the resurrection (see 2:15; Rom 1:4). Insignificant and impotent are the alleged powers or entities, by whom the false teachers believe the world was formed and through whom they believe they might get knowledge of God in addition to and beyond what has been revealed in Christ, according to the Scriptures.
In this passage, Paul is emphasizing once more to the Colossians that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation.
There aren’t any more of them.
False teaching causes people to be dissatisfied with Jesus Christ, luring them away from him in search of the elusivemore, and preying on the widespread belief that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
|List the most significant facts that you have gained from studying Paul’s presentation of Jesus Christ.|
|In a small group discuss and make notes on:|
|a. What effect this knowledge of Jesus Christ will have on your outlook on life:|
|b. What relevance this knowledge of Jesus Christ has to how you talk to people about the Gospel:|
Paul and Jesus’ Return
When Paul discusses the topic of the day of Christ’s return in 2 Thessalonians, he is addressing the fact that the day has already arrived. He cautions them not to be disturbed or unsettled by his teachings on this subject, which he believes are accurate. He tells them that others would attempt to trick them into believing that the day has already arrived, and he explains that God will not come until “the revolt happens and the man of lawlessness is exposed, the man condemned to destruction” has taken place (vs 3).
Furthermore, Paul discusses how the lawless one will be exposed at the appropriate time, which has not yet occurred.
Following this, Paul describes how the lawless one deceives the people who are dying into believing lies and immorality, and how they are able to escape.
This specific reason is what prompts God to put an illusion into their brains, resulting in the condemnation of all those who did not believe in the truth.
People should not lament over those who are asleep in death, as the rest of mankind does.
He claims that even while people are pleading for peace, there will be judgment and agony in store for them.
In the verses from 1 Corinthians, Paul forcefully encourages people to live each and every moment for God and God alone; to glorify him in whatever they do; and to remember that earthly goods are fleeting and temporary.
He exhorts people to awaken from their slumber and stupid habits and to begin making every moment of their lives count in the eyes of the Almighty.
Although they were certain that Jesus would return before any of them died, he had not done so as of the time of their deaths.
What prompted Paul to write the second letter (2 Thessalonians) was the fact that people had listened and believed the first letter so much that they had ceased making plans for the future, which resulted in many quitting their jobs and other responsibilities.