Christ Preeminent

Christ Preeminent

John Robertson

‘Tis meet that Thy delight
Should centre in Thy Son;
That Thou shouldst place us in Thy sight,
In Him, Thy Holy One.

The arguments in favour of the first statement of this verse are quite apparent to the simplest Christian; the divine grace that makes the second possible leaves all lost in awesome wonder.

Faced with the error of Judaistic teaching that made salvation dependent upon external observance of law and a heresy of agnosticism that sought to relegate the Lord Jesus to a position of secondary importance, the Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, had one devastating answer, “Christ is all and in all” (3:11). The first phrase, emphatically and unequivocally, declares the preeminence of the Christ of God, while the latter is a firm and forceful rebuttal of all esoteric doctrine.

The Preeminent One

In view of the subject before him, it is not surprising that the prayer of Paul for the saints at Colosse rises without a break into an enraptured confession of the glorious place of our Lord. Here, in terse but majestic language, he puts before the Colossian Christians the true position of Christ, in the universe and in the Church (1:15-18).

In three short verses, the Son of God is revealed as the finite cause of all existence, seen and unseen, and it is by His law and order that the universe operates as a “cosmos not a chaos.” Such a transcendent glimpse of Him as, “True image of the Infinite,” should cause our hearts to pause, to ponder and to praise.

Throughout the universe of bliss,
The centre Thou and Sun,
The eternal theme of praise is this,
To Heaven’s beloved One.

It was the reverent consideration of all the worlds His hands had made that inspired the poet to pen that beautiful hymn, “How Great Thou Art.” Even so with Paul, for as he unfolded the wondrous truth of the One in whom, “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (2:9), his own soul was caught up in a vortex of veneration.

In one short verse, he reiterates what he had so fully expounded to the Ephesian Christians, the Headship of Christ in the Church. He closes the whole on this triumphant note, “that in all things, He might have the pre-eminence” (vs. 18). How marvelous! How imponderable!

Apart from the dogmatic occasion preeminence” (vs. 18). How marvel-burst, the very reading of these words stirs the heart with a “joy in believing.” This One, “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (2:3) fills our whole horizon and causes us to exclaim:

Worthy, O Lamb of God, art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should bow !

It is in just such a way that the divine Book, full of articulate and reasoned statements of the eternal verities, presents to our minds and souls the teaching of God. Ever and always, the unassailable assertions, penned by God’s servants, as directed by the Holy Spirit, move us to worship. Never should the truth, as revealed in His Word, become a mere accumulation of facts, or a code of ethics, in the abstract. It must always be, “Christ, who is our life,” activating the souls to the end that we might magnify and glorify Him.

The Privileged One

If the contemplation of what has gone before leaves us filled with ecstatic praise, what will be our response when we consider what it means to be placed in God’s sight, in Him, who is the brightness of uncreated light and the full revelation of the Father’s heart? Like one of old we will have to say, “How can these things be?” (John 3:8).

Were the Bible the work of man, himself, it would have presented a bowdlerized account of human thought and action. However, the Holy Spirit pictures man as he is, “alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works,” but graciously continues, “yet now bath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight (21-22).” How astonishing! How unbelievable!

O Lamb of God! Thy bleeding wounds,
With cords of love divine,
Have drawn our willing hearts to Thee,
And linked our life with Thine!

As creatures of the dust, “born in sin and shapen in iniquity,” we could never hope ‘to stand before a righteous God. No act of reformation, no remodelling of the old man could ever fit us for His presence. It must be a new creation. The first requisite is a divine life, and this Christ, Himself, provided. Said He, “I give unto them eternal life” (John 10:28). and as our quotation from Colossians indicated, this was accomplished through His death. What infinite condescension! What unmeritted love!

Not only did Christ present us with a divine life, but He also made provision for us to have a divine nature. Among the exceeding great and precious promises reserved for us in Christ is this, “that .. . ye might be partakers of the divine nature” (2 Pet. 1:4). How sad that we disregard what is rightfully ours! How often we fail to lay hold on that which is offered to us, in Him!

The Psalmist looked to the heavens and said. “When I consider the heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and stars which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou art mindful of him?” (Psa. 8:3-4). As he looked out into Immeasurable space he was conscious of the magnitude and might of God the Creator. He could understand, in a measure, His greatness and power. But he was astonished that God should interest Himself in a tiny speck on an infinitesimal heavenly body. He was amazed that He would pick out from the myriads of sounds that filled the vast universe the heart beat of man.

This very God looked down from the pinnacle of distance, and out from the aeons of time selected you and me to stand before Him in all the perfection of the eternal Son, to share with Him the glories of the Father and to enjoy the munificence of Heaven forever. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ … that ye … may be able to comprehend… the breadth and length … and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ … that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Eph. 3:14-19).