The Jesus the World Does Not Know

Christians are all about Jesus, or at least we should be. Paul was accused of being a madman when he preached at Caesarea Maritima before Festus (Acts 26:24). As a peculiar Christian, could the same charge be brought against you? Or do you labor to keep your Christianity respectable in the eyes of the world? Many Christians are as cool as accountants, or worse, economists, and one wonders if our lukewarm personalities are missing something. Jesus Christ is pretty quickly discarded in the world’s conversation. Is it because people do not have a proper view of who Jesus is and what He has done?

Colossians 1 joins John 1, Hebrews 1, and Revelation 1 in giving us what theologians call, “high Christology.” In other words, we receive very concentrated views of Jesus Christ in these four chapters of the Bible. The Apostle Paul acknowledged the Colossians as being people of faith (Col 1:4), who had heard and understood the Gospel of God’s grace, the Word of truth (Col 1:5–6). His purpose in writing them was so they could take their faith and walk in a manner worthy of the Lord (Col 1:10).

The Colossians had received the token of God’s inheritance (2 Cor 5:5), and they needed encouragement to remember what God in Christ had done for them, and how they should join Paul in proclaiming this Good News to the whole world (Mt 24:14; Mk 16:15). The end goal was to present every man complete in Christ (Col 1:28). What is the world missing in their knowledge of Jesus Christ from Colossians 1? And what must we never neglect, in presenting Him to them? Let us consider a few of these attributes and actions.

First, God has transferred His people from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ (Col 1:13). By His grace, God moves His elect ones from being dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1), making them alive in Christ (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13). The process is called, “salvation.” Without God’s salvation, men continue on the broad way that leads to destruction, in the eternal hell of the lake of fire (Mt 7:13; 25:46; Jude 7; Rev 20:14–15).

Second, God redeems us in order to grant us the forgiveness of sins. From the time of Adam and Eve, sin has separated every person from God. Imagine someone being robbed of a treasured possession. Years later, they are browsing through an antique store, and they come across the possession stolen from them years earlier. It would be wrong for them to steal it back from the current owner, so they buy it back, instead. Redemption is a buy-back program.

With Christ’s blood as the currency (Eph 1:7; 1 Pet 1:18–19), the payment of the penalty for sins was successfully accomplished (Col 2:14). That which was lost, was found, and was purchased by the free will of the Buyer. The Law was perfectly maintained in this transaction, and the righteous character of the original owner is preserved. It cost Him something (Heb 9:12). It was a sacrifice to gain back what was rightfully His possession, but He loved what he was reconciling to Himself (Rom 5:8; Eph 5:25). Christians have been bought for a price, and we belong to Christ (1 Cor 3:23; 6:20; 7:23).

Sin was what separated us from God, and what was needed was forgiveness (Acts 5:31; 10:43) because humanity joined the rebellion of the demons, in throwing off the yoke of God (Gen 3). In Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins (Mt 26:28; Eph 1:7). There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1). There is no other name under heaven, given among men, where a man must be saved (Acts 4:12); therefore, Jesus was able to say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by Me (Jn 14:6). There is forgiveness in no one else but Jesus Christ.

Third, Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15). He is the icon of God. Men worship demons, and this is obvious by the physical idols they make of wood and stone (Rev 9:20). Graven images are everywhere. Government buildings, churches, memorial sites, museums, and all of them are enticing men to give honor and glory to the carved one. God forbid that men would ever set a day aside in honor of you and carve an image for other men to honor you. This is idolatry. Christians worship Jesus Christ because of Colossians 1:15. He is God-incarnate (Jn 1:14). He who sees Jesus, sees God the Father (Jn 14:9), to whom belongs all honor, praise, and glory (1 Tim 1:17; Heb 2:7, 9; 2 Pet 1:17; Rev 4:9, 11).

Fourth, Jesus is the first-born of all creation (Col 1:15). Jehovah’s Witnesses are notorious for misunderstanding the concept of “first-born.” They perceive the meaning to be chronological order of birth or inception. First born can mean this, but it also has another meaning, which is primacy. Primacy means first of a kind and first in line (order of position).

Jesus Christ is the only begotten (not made) Son of God the Father (Jn 3:16). He has primacy among the sons of God. He is the heir of all things (Heb 1:2), and in Him, we become co-heirs and beneficiaries under His primacy (Rom 8:17). The first-born Son gets the entire inheritance of God His Father.

Fifth, Jesus Christ is the Creator of the heavens and the earth (Col 1:16). Now, the architect and builder of all things is God (Heb 3:4; 11:10). Make the connection, Paul is saying Jesus is the Creator (Heb 1:2), and the supporting Scriptures call God the Creator; therefore, Jesus is God. Try this one on someone in the world, “Who created the heavens and the earth?” It is a leading question for creationists, of course, but even for God-fearers the answer will likely be a generic, “God.” Truly, this is the Jesus the world does not know.

Sixth, Jesus Christ is the Creator of His enemies (Col 1:16). Men and demons are enemies of God. They remain at enmity with God unless the Lord includes them in the remnant of the redeemed people (Is 1:9; Rom 5:10; 9:29). There is no salvation for fallen angels. God must transfer people to the kingdom of light (Col 1:13) and cause them to be born again (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3).

Ying-Yang concepts pit evil against good in equal proportion, but the Bible does not share this worldview. Jesus Christ, the righteous, created what became evil (Prv 16:4, 9; Col 1:16). This was for His own purpose, in revealing Himself to the fallen world. Christ’s glorious attributes could never be understood without a foil. We observe the world, and we study God’s Law. We see evil, and we understand good. We see unrighteousness, and we understand right. We see injustice, and we understand justice. All power and authority in heaven and on earth belong to Jesus Christ (Mt 28:18).

Seventh, Jesus Christ is before all things (Col 1:17). We have mentioned the primacy of Jesus Christ, and we should also mention the supremacy of Jesus Christ. In God’s Law, it is forbidden to place anyone or anything before God (Is 42:8). Thou shalt have no other gods before Me (Dt 5:7). Jesus Christ should be first in our thoughts; first in our passions; and first in our actions. Anything else and everything else is idolatry. The application here should melt every one of us. We are all gross idolaters. Salvation is pressing, but we are so turned over to idolatry that only God’s mercy and grace can save sinners (Rom 9:15–16, 23; Eph 2:8–9).

Eighth, Jesus Christ sustains absolutely everything by the Word of His power. All things hold together by Him (Col 1:17). The breath of the atheist, given to cursing Jesus Christ, was given to her by Jesus Christ. The eye that looks upon a woman in lust was intricately crafted by Jesus Christ. Jesus created everything, and everything is sustained by Him (Heb 1:3).

Further, everything is at His disposal to do with that which seems good to Him (Jer 18; Rom 9). My fingers type these words, and they are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Master craftsman. Everything means, “everything.” Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!

Ninth, Jesus Christ is the head of the church (Col 1:18). Jesus warned His followers not to be called, “leaders, rabbis, or fathers (Mt 23:8–10). We have one Leader, one Teacher, one Father in the church. Anyone else, who loves to take these titles for himself is in direct disobedience to Scripture. The church is the body of Christ, and each member takes his or her directives from the Head, who is Christ.

The least member in the body is considered as important as the most vital. The heart serves the human body. The lungs serve the human body. Toes serve the human body, and they are all directed by the head. It is the same in Christ’s church. We have no directive for anyone to lord over anyone else (1 Pet 5:1–5). We do, however, have a command to be subject to one another in the fear of Christ (Eph 5:21).

Tenth, Jesus Christ is the beginning of the new creation, the first born from the dead (Col 1:18b). Again, we are considering primacy and supremacy. This time, we are looking at the doctrine of the resurrection. Men sin and die (Rom 3:23; 6:23; Heb 9:27). They are judged and then punished in eternal hell (Mt 25:46; Jn 5:28–29; Jude 7).

At death there is a separation of the body from the soul. The body returns to the dust from which it came, and the soul returns to God who gave it. There will be a reunion of every body and soul at the resurrection from the dead (Jn 5:28–29). Some will be raised to face judgment, and the redeemed will be raised from the dead to salvation (1 Cor 15). Thus, eternity is physical and spiritual for both groups: the heaven-bound and the hell-bound. Jesus Christ has gone before the redeemed (Jn 14:2). He was the first to pass from life to death and then to resurrection life (Jn 11). His glorified body is the prototype of the eternal human model (1 Cor 15).

Jesus Christ is to be first in absolutely everything (Col 1:18c). In this, we observe God’s will, God’s work, and the assurance of God’s glory. Imagine an Olympic games where one athlete achieved and received the gold medal in every single event. Life is far grander than man-made games, and Jesus Christ is first in everything imaginable. Every creation, every working, every achievement, every position belongs to Him. There is no other. Superman has nothing. Jesus is, has, and does everything; for from Him, through Him, to Him are all things (Rom 11:36).

Eleventh, God the Father put His entire fullness into the person and work of Jesus Christ (Col 1:19). We see Jesus, and we see God. We know Jesus, and we know God. We curse Jesus, and we curse God. We steal glory from Jesus, and we steal glory from God. God dwelt among us in human form, and yet without sin (Heb 4:15; 7:26). He humbled Himself, to condescend to our level, to accomplish a salvation we could never attain (Phil 2:5–11).

Twelfth, God in and through Christ accomplished the reconciliation of all things to Himself (Col 1:20). God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor 5:19). In the fall of creation, all things were ruined. In the redemption, God has chosen to redeem vessels of mercy prepared for glory (Rom 9:23).

In His continuing wrath, God is just to destroy vessels of ungodliness and unrighteousness (Rom 1:18). For this purpose, they were prepared by Him (Rom 9:22). To recompense a world of sin, God has prepared the current world for destruction (2 Pet 3:10–12), so that a new creation may come (Is 65–66; Rev 21–22). This is how God reconciles sin and the fallen creation…all things to Himself.

Finally, the reconciliation of God’s people has been successfully made through His fleshly body through death (Col 1:22). Through His precious blood, shed on the Cross, He has made peace with God on behalf of His people (Col 1:20; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 1:19). We are reconciled by His atoning, substitutionary sacrifice of Himself (Eph 5:2; Heb 7:27), as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of His people in the world (Mt 1:21; Jn 1:29; Rev 5:6, 12).

The crucifixion death of Jesus Christ is a singular, redemptive sacrifice with global application. The sin of the whole world, that is, people from every nation, tribe and tongue are included in salvation (Rev 5:9). Salvation is not made possible; but rather, it is finished (Jn 19:10; Tit 3:5). In fact, His works were finished from before the foundation of the world (Heb 4:3). He is eternal, and so are His works. No ying-yang ideas can ever compare to the incomparable Jesus Christ. This is the Jesus the world does not know.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

February 5, 2021

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Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher