Christ – Exalted or Not? Your Atonement Doctrine Tells The Story….
Seven times in six verses Paul declares and emphasizes “all creation”, “all things” and
“everything”, stressing the supremacy of Christ. This supremacy is defined in several area;
1) The Creation of “all things”
2) He preceded “all thing”
3) “All things” hold together, or are sustained, by Him.
4) He is the head of the Church, His body.
5) He is the first to raise from the dead in an incorruptible body (in contrast with Lazarus, who raised but later died like all others who raised from the dea)
6) “All fullness” of God dwelt in Him.
7) “All things” are reconciled in Him.
Read the verses.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
The message is very clear. The Exaltation of Christ. Now here is the issue. Most believers will happily acknowledge points 1-6. However, when it comes to point 7, that Christ is reconciling, or has reconciled, “all things” to Himself, excuses and exceptions abound! We are fine that He created “all things” and gladly state that, as we are told in John 1:3, there is absolutely nothing that was made outside of Jesus Christ. Indeed, not only does creation have its full origin in Jesus, but he “sustains” it. In other words, the very microscopic laws of the universe, gravity, the shining of the sun, the continuing of the rain, and all other things are rightly proclaimed in full scope to be the work of Christ.
So if the definition of “all things” is a literal ALL THINGS for these operations of Jesus, why is it not for point seven?
Or is it?
Think about this. If you decide or interpret “all things” in point seven to have exceptions or to be idiomatic language or to have some other less than literal meaning, are you not forced by language and logic to conclude that “all things” in the rest of the passage does not really carry the scope of a literal “all things”? Be honest now.
The clear and inescapable answer for every honest interpreter is, “absolutely and of course”. Indeed, the most advanced scholar or the simplest first grade reader must agree that language requires a consistent definition of “all things” through this chapter.
If one determines that “all things” with regard to the scope of reconciliation of Christ is not literal, then one has absolutely no choice but to determine that the other operations and positions of Christ do not include a literal absolute of ALL. What would that imply? What would happen if we remove the literal ALL from the scope of reconciliation and thus the rest of the thought Paul so vigorously conveys? It is this. There is the reality or at least the possibility that:
1) Christ created some things and other things just happened or were created by someone else. Thus, John was incorrect in John 1:3.
2) There very may well have been someone before Christ! As Christ and the Father are one, that would mean that someone could very well have preceded the Father as well, thus God is not God.
3) Only some things are maintained by Christ. Perhaps there are universal physical laws that are greater than our Lord and God. Thus, again, God is not God.
4) The church is or could be headless. An eternally ineffective entity.
5) Perhaps someone else gained eternal and incorruptible life BEFORE Christ, thus saying that it is possible to have LIFE outside of Christ and our Father. If that is true, why do we even need Christ?
6) If All is not all, then the Father only partially had oneness with Jesus. Jesus is not as exalted as we thought, in this case. Is He the Son of God or not? Without the All being All, that is a real and serious question.
7) Again, if All is not All, then Christ’s work on the cross was only marginally effective, if at all. Since it appears to be up to Humans or Chance, then God is robbed of His choice and Humans are exalted as their will overpowers Divine Perogative.
Few, if any, who have stated that Christ did not reconcile all in a literal way would ever accept the 6 points above as being possible. One could rightly say these six conclusions are heretical or blasphemous. I do not use those terms lightly, because those conclusions above rob our Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit from their most essential attributes and reduce God to a minor deity more akin to Greek Gods than to the sovereign creator of the Universe.
At the same time, however, one cannot eliminate the scope of ALL in reconciliation without having those unintended dire consequences. It would be a logical contradiction.
Now, do I state that those who do not accept ALL being ALL are caught in a great sin or heresy? Let me be clear. Those who deny the clear definition of ALL, in almost every case, have not considered the above logic. The denial of these facts is from not knowing. That is the point of this little commentary – to enlighten with clear evidence the grandeur of our Lord and Savior! The point is not to condemn but to illustrate, teach and help as many as possible in this current day to see how exceedingly GREAT and POWERFUL and LOVING and JUST God truly is!!
It has been said that anything that exalts MAN is probably wrong if it does not exalt GOD. Let me ask you: does the choice of Christ to both CREATE and RECONCILE ALL exalt Man or God? Does it exalt God MORE than if it depends on Man’s free will? Again, the answer is obvious. If Man has the ultimate choice in salvation, the Man’s will supercedes God’s and MAN is exalted more than GOD in this choice. On the other hand, if Paul was correct in the verses above, God’s will is exalted far above any person and indeed the whole of all created beings!
I propose, therefore, that the exaltation of MANS CHOICE and the denial of the scope of reconciliation logically exalts MAN far above his place and robs God.
There are many other equally compelling scriptures that when plainly and logically reviewed lead inexorably to the conclusion: All things will be reconciled to God by Christ with no exceptions, just as there are no exceptions to anything being outside of God.
It’s that simple. It’s that straightforward. Let us deal honestly, logically and consistently with the scriptures for in them, God is revealed to be higher and greater than most have ever imagined!!