Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Christ and Angels: Notes on Ephesians 1:9-10; Colossians 1:19-20


Focus Passages

He made known the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention, which He purchased in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times– that is, the summing up of all things in Christ– things in the heavens and things on the earth. (Eph 1:9-10 NASB)

For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, 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. (Col 1:19-20 NASB)

Cross-References

Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. (Matt 6:10)

You have made Him a little lower than the angels. (Heb 2:7a)

Don’t you know that we will judge angels? (1 Cor 6:3a)

Reflection

These passages focus readers’ attention on gospel truths from past, present, and future: 1. the past, “the fullness of the times,” when Christ’s work of penal substitution took place; 2. the present, as we are continually praying for God’s will to be done; 3. the future state, in which we who are redeemed will judge angels.

God is glorified in Christ in the Heavens and on the Earth. The benefits of God’s grace in Christ are “purchased” “through the blood of His cross.” This is according to the divine will: it is the Father who made Christ a little lower than the angels during Christ’s pre-resurrected incarnate existence. The revelation of the gospel of reconciliation also takes place according to the kind intention of God’s will (“the Father’s good pleasure”). The gospel of reconciliation uniquely demonstrates God’s grace. Due to His atoning work, establishing the gospel of reconciliation, all things have been summed up in Christ, and all of the manifest created order will be at peace with God.

In reflections upon Christian theology and piety, there is much discussion of “mystery.” These passages correct faulty understandings of “mystery:” a term that must be understood in light of the person and work of Christ. These passages, by implication, offer a rebuke to those who would fail to grant Christ and His Cross their proper place of preeminence. These passages train us to glorify Christ and His work on the Cross in all aspects of our lives.

Commentaries

“[O]ut of Christ all things were disordered, and that through him they have been restored to order. And truly, out of Christ, what can we perceive in the world but mere ruins? We are alienated from God by sin, and how can we but present a broken and shattered aspect? The proper condition of creatures is to keep close to God. Such a gathering together (νακεφαλαίωσις) [AKA: "recapitulation"] as might bring us back to regular order, the apostle tells us, has been made in Christ.” [Calvin’s Commentary, Ephesians 1:10]

“The apostle opens up a view of the atonement as embracing angelic intelligences as well as men…. In one sense, the efficacy of the atonement reaches to [angels], but in a different way from the reconciliation of those alienated by sin. God reconciles all things to Himself, celestial and terrestrial, and the angels seem to have been confirmed by the Son of God. It is not to be affirmed that Christ was the Mediator of angels, for the language of Scripture is that He is the Mediator between God and men (1 Tim 2:5), but He is their Head, the uniting bond of the universe, gathered up anew or recapitulated under Him (Eph 1:10).” [George Smeaton, The Doctrine of the Atonement According to the Apostles (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1988), 297-299.]

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