Monday, September 19, 2011

Ephesians 1:20, 21: The Pre-Eminence of Christ

Ephesians 1:20, 21: "... and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come."

Sometimes I wonder how today's gospel got so far away from the biblical Christ. In an effort to make Jesus the ultimate Life Coach we have packaged His power, love, and accepting compassion together, forgetting His true position. In this closing part of a great benediction, Paul reminds the Ephesians of something David had long ago written.

In Psalm 110:1 David wrote: The LORD says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for Your feet. I can't help but think that Paul had this verse in mind when he wrote Ephesians 1:20,21. Notice that Paul declares Jesus' present position to be at the right hand of God, and that this position sets Him far above every other kind of authority. It is, as David put it, a position where all of those who would or could oppose Him are just like a footstool upon which He could prop His feet should He so choose. They are not a worry, nor a threat.

Sadly, this glorified position of Jesus Christ is missing from many of the present day presentations of Jesus. He is the friend, the loving God, the Savior, the One who accepts you, the Care-giver, and especially today, the Life Coach. He comes to you, accepts you just as you are, but helps you understand life better, make better choices, and become a much better person. Your relationships are now more satisfying, and your life has more purpose. You feel better because you are better, and you have Jesus the Life Coach to thank! He has come to you, and ministered to you. How great it is to have the Creator of the Universe as your personal coach and teacher. You really are the center of the universe!

But the Bible actually knows nothing of this. Yes, Jesus is the Savior, the Lover of our Souls, and the Friend of sinners. But He is all these things as a consequence of first being God the Son, the King of Heaven who has come bringing all the authority of Heaven to earth in order to rescue the perishing. And why has He done so? Has He saved us for us? or has He saved us for Him? Certainly God has not enacted His eternal redemptive plan so that we can feel better. Actually, He has done it so He can look good; that is, so His glory might be displayed through the church as a group of reclaimed, reformed, and redeemed people. Yes, He saves, and seals, and sends the indwelling Spirit through whom we are taught to walk in wisdom and truth. Yes, the redeemed life is much better, more purposeful and satisfying. Yes, Jesus cares and loves. But all of this is only truly magnificent if we first understand who He really is!

It is a hard balance to remember that Jesus is not only a loving friend and counselor, guide and provider. He is also God of very God, holy, just, and worthy of our most humble approaches in worship and service. Perhaps if we meditated more on the two natures of Christ it would help. His perfect humanity makes Him the perfect friend; His complete deity makes Him the holy God. May our lives, and our Gospel display them both before a watching world.

Hope this helps,


David wrote: 

The LORD says to my Lord:  “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” 


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