Lesson 2 – The Son
Now we come to the… Christ, the unsearchable One. Millions of Christians have Christ, but to what extent have they experienced Christ? As we review the following items of Christ we should ask, “Have I experienced Christ in this item?” To what extent have we experienced Christ?
The apostle Paul experienced the same Christ as millions of Christians, but the extent of his enjoyment of Christ reached the top. Christ in Himself is the same in nature, in essence, and in His being unlimited, unsearchable, and all-inclusive; but in the experiences of His believers, there are many different extents. This should help us all to realize that our Christ is totally all-inclusive. He is the complete God and the perfect man. Even the reality of the food we eat is Christ. He is also the living water. According to the New Testament, Christ is everything to us.
THE ETERNAL CHRIST
Christ is the eternal and only begotten Son of God, the Second of the Divine Trinity (John 1:1-2, 18; Matt. 28:19). In the beginning, that is, from eternity past, the Word was with God. Contrary to what is supposed by some, it is not that Christ was not with God and was not God from eternity past, and that at a certain time Christ became God and was with God. Christ’s deity is eternal and absolute. From eternity past to eternity future, He is with God and He is God. This is why this Gospel, unlike Matthew (ch. 1) and Luke (ch. 3), has no genealogy of Christ (Heb. 7:3).
He is self-existing, ever-existing, and coinhering with the Father and the Spirit in eternity. He is, with the Father and the Spirit, the only God (John 1:1; Rom. 9:5; Heb. 1:8). In other words, He as the Son with the Father and the Spirit is one God.
It is clearly stated… [in Romans 9:5] that Christ is God, proving that although Christ was a man (Rom. 5:15) with flesh who came out of the tribe of Judah, a tribe of Israel, He is also God, who is over all and blessed forever. He is both man and God. He is God the Son, and He is the Triune God.
CHRIST IN CREATION
He is the Creator (Heb. 1:10), and all things were created through Him (John 1:3; Col. 1:16a). In Him… [in Colossians 1:16a] means in the power of Christ’s person. All things were created in the power of what Christ is. All creation bears the characteristics of Christ’s intrinsic power. [All things]… cohere in Him (Col. 1:17). To cohere in Christ is to exist together by Christ as the holding center, just as the spokes of a wheel are held together by the hub at their center. And [all things] will be an inheritance unto Him as the Heir (Col. 1:16b; Heb. 1:2; Rom. 11:34-36). On the one hand, Christ is the Creator, but on the other hand, He is the means through which all things were created. He is also the very center of creation because all things subsist, cohere, in Him. Eventually, all things will be an inheritance to Him as the Heir.
In time He became a man through His incarnation, a God-man having both divinity and humanity as His nature (John 1:1, 14; Heb. 2:14). In eternity Christ was merely God, but in time He became a man. Romans 8:3 indicates that although this flesh was the flesh of sin, it had only the likeness of the flesh of sin and did not have the sin of the flesh. It is the Word who became such flesh, and this Word was God, the complete Triune God (v. 1). That the Word became flesh means that the Triune God became a man of flesh in the likeness of a sinful man. By so doing God entered into sinful man and became one with sinful man. However, He had only the likeness of a sinful man and not the sin of a sinful man. Hence, He was a sinless God-man, the complete God and the perfect man, having two natures, the divine nature and the human nature. Although His two natures were mingled to produce a God-man, the individual characteristics of the two natures remained distinct; the two natures did not intermix to form a third nature. Rather, the divine nature existed in the human nature and was expressed through the human nature, full of grace, which is God enjoyed by man, and reality, which is God obtained by man. In this way the invisible God was expressed so that men can obtain and enjoy Him as their life for the fulfillment of His New Testament economy.
He is also the Firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15b). He is not only God and man but also the first item of the creation. As a man, He is a part of the creation, but how could He be the Firstborn? This is hard to answer. We need to see that with God there is only the fact without the time element. Christ was crucified about two thousand years ago, but the Bible says He was crucified from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). From the time that the earth was founded, He was crucified because the earth needs His crucifixion.
Just as light is the effulgence of electricity, Christ is the effulgence of God’s glory. He is also the impress of God’s substance (Heb. 1:3a). God is a kind of substance, and Christ is the impress. We may illustrate this with a seal. The seal is a kind of substance. When we put the seal on a paper, we have the impress.
Christ is the embodiment of God (Col. 2:9) and the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15a). God is invisible and untouchable, but one day God embodied Himself in Christ. God became visible and touchable.
As a type of Christ, the ark typifies Christ as the embodiment of God’s testimony. Christ is the embodiment of God The ark as the embodiment of God’s testimony typifies Christ as the embodiment of God. All that God is, is embodied in Christ. Colossians 2:9 says that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ bodily. Our use of the word embodiment is based on this verse. Because God is embodied in Christ, He is portrayed, defined, and explained by Christ. Christ is God’s definition, His explanation. As God’s testimony, Christ is typified by the ark of the testimony.
All things came into being in Him and through Him. Furthermore, all things are unto Him and subsist in Him. Therefore, through Him is expressed all that God is. We have seen that all the fullness in verse 19 does not denote the riches of what God is, but the expression of those riches. The full expression of God in all His rich being, both in creation and in the church, dwells in Christ. The rich being of God is expressed both in the old creation and in the new creation through Christ as the One in whom, through whom, and unto whom all things came into being and as the One in whom all things subsist. It is in such a way that the invisible God is expressed.