Behold Your God: Image of Invisible God

February 15, 2018 at 11:35 AM 2 comments

The church we attend has just begun a series based on the book, Behold Your God, by John Snyder. Each Wednesday evening, we watch the video, our pastor then leads in a discussion, and we talk about the theme of the study. So far, it’s been rather enlightening, so I thought I’d do a mini-series of articles connected to this study, using Colossians 1:15-20 as our main text. With each one of these articles, I want to highlight and discuss a verse or phrase from the Colossians passage that will help focus our minds on Jesus, as God the Son.

One of the things John Snyder states in his video series is that “Western Civilization has grown bored with God.” At first, that seems like an unlikely, if not outright false statement. If we look at many churches today, we see tremendous growth in number of people attending. We notice the excitement in some of these churches evidenced by their many programs. Their music is upbeat, often described as uplifting, and certainly excitement for many people. In short, if there appears to be so much happening in so many mainline denominational churches across America, how can it possibly be true that American Christians have grown bored with Jesus?

I think a closer look tells the story. In many churches where the numbers are high, where the music is lively, where there is a program or class for everyone and every subject, we need to actually stop and consider what it is that the people attending those churches are all about. What is their primary reason for attending that church?

Snyder essentially states that even amidst all the excitement, the numbers, the plethora of programs, it has actually become very easy to miss Jesus and not even be aware of it. What does that mean? He likens it to coming into the Church as a Christian; receiving salvation. We are taught that Jesus is the door (and He is), so once we receive salvation, we cross over that threshold from death to eternal life through Jesus (remember, He said He is the door (John 10:9-16).

After having received our salvation through Jesus (the Door), we then tend to start leaving Him behind us. We made it. We are saved! Amen. Now what? We too often fail to acknowledge or realize that true salvation, while gained from Jesus (the Door), the maintenance of that salvation occurs as we grow in our faith. Most would agree with that, but not all would agree with the definition of it.

What does it mean to grow in our faith? Ultimately, it means to grow in our relationship with Jesus. We forget that Jesus is a living, breathing, vibrant completely unique individual fully man and fully God.

I’ve been married to the same woman since 1986. This year we celebrate our 32nd year of holy matrimony. I can honestly say that I know my wife much better now than I did when we first married or were dating. We know each other better because we actually worked at doing so. We did not take it for granted. We did not simply assume, “Okay, we’re married. That’s pretty much it!”

No, it took time, work, commitment, and some frustration added to the mix to get us where we are now. How can it be any different with becoming and being a Christian? Is it possible that too many of us Christians today have set Christ aside, exchanging Him for the bells, whistles, and baubles that are overflowing within much of Christendom? I think it’s more than possible.

Snyder asks us to begin seriously reflecting on the very nature of Jesus, who He is, what He means to us, what He has accomplished for us, and how that should make us react to Him. I’m not sure we do that enough. In fact, I know in my own life, I don’t do that enough. It’s something I want to change, hence the reason for this miniseries.

We’re going to focus on Colossians 1:15-20 during this series so I’ll be reprinting that text in each article. Here it is, in the English Standard Version.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And 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, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

For this article, I want to focus on the first phrase of verse 15 and that’s it. Paul tells us, referring to Jesus, that “He is the image of the invisible God…” Stop and consider the meaning of this phrase. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. What does that mean? It can only mean one thing. It literally means that Jesus is God. The term “image” is very interesting. Hebrews 1:3 tells us the same thing with different verbiage.

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature. (ESV)

The exact imprint. Jesus is the exact imprint, the perfect reflection, the literal image of God. This is why Jesus could say that to see Him was to see the Father (John 14:9). Is it any wonder why the religious leaders became so offended by Jesus’ statements? He was literally claiming equality with God. He was literally saying “I AM.” Wow.

Everything that Paul is telling us in the Colossians passage points to Jesus’ deity. No loftier language can be found in the New Testament. Paul wants us to know who we are in relationship with and he does so using language that far surpasses our ability to fully comprehend.

We need to be careful here because of the English word “image.” That can have several meanings and often, an image can refer to a copy that is not exactly 100% reflection of the thing it is based on. Let me give you an example.

I spent years building and painting models. I really enjoyed figure kits the most; character-related models of Superman, Batman, Robin, and many others, most produced by the old Aurora Plastics Corporation modeling company. They were eventually bought out by Nabisco and then Nabisco closed it and sold remaining molds and tooling mostly to Revell-Monogram. Some of those old models still get released every once in a while.

But when the original tooling was created for those models, they were normally sculpted out of acetate and most were sculpted by a man named Bill Lemon. Once he completed his work, the original was taken over to another department at Aurora and cut into numerous pieces because molds of the pieces were the next phase. Once the molds were made, a test product was created on the injection-molding machines. This test product would then be assembled and it would be determined whether or not work needed to be done on it to make it more like the original mold.

The problem with injection-molding of anything is that over time, the product takes on aspects that are not in the original. Because of that, the molds need to be replaced with new ones every so often to ensure the integrity of the actual model so that it fits like the original test piece. This issue exists in nearly all manufacturing facilities because of wear.

But with respect to Jesus, this is not an issue. Isaiah 9:6a says this, which points to Jesus.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given… (ESV)

Notice the first phrase, “For unto us a child is born.” This highlights the fact that Jesus was physically born into this world and was fully human. The second phrase states, “to us a son is given…” and tells us that Jesus was alive and existed before He was born. He was given to humanity as a gift of God. For what purpose? To bring salvation to us. In other words, while the first phrase tells us that Jesus was fully human, the second phrase informs us that Jesus existed prior to His birth as a human. In what form? As God. That is the only answer to this unasked question in verse 6a.

If you are a Christian, whether you think so or not, you are in relationship with Jesus, who is the God-Man. What should this promote within our thinking? How should this characterize our desires, our feelings, our knowledge where Jesus is concerned?

Jesus is the exact image of God the Father, therefore Jesus is God. Constable’s Notes tell us that Paul’s use of the word image,implies the illumination of its
inner core and essence.
” Jesus literally expresses the very mind of God because He is God. He is not “a” god, He is God, very God.

Constable again states, ““To call Christ the image of God is to say that in Him the being and nature of God have been perfectly manifested—that in Him the invisible has
become visible
.” In short, Jesus is the very visible perfect expression of the invisible God.

Does this not speak of His great love for us? He literally chose to become a human being, to be born into humanity, to live a life that was completely sinless thereby being able to offer Himself as a propitiation for our sin – yours and mine. This He did because God is love, much greater than I think we will ever truly be able to appreciate. But we must start trying to appreciate that now, while we live in this life.

The truth about God begins with who He is. These are the things we need to focus on so that we can actually get to know our God more than we do. Too often, we burden ourselves with being involved in all the programs, all the fellowship, all the church things. Those things are certainly good and necessary, but they should be a means to the end, not an end in and of themselves.

We Christians need to learn to stop. Focus. Contemplate. Consider just who Jesus is and what He means to us. We’ll be back next time with more from Colossians 1.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , , .

Brenden Dilley’s Intel Source Shares Some More Intel (Feb 11) Behold Your God: Firstborn Of All Creation

2 Comments

  • 1. DebbieLynne  |  February 16, 2018 at 8:52 AM

    This is one of my favorite passages in Scripture. I look forward to the next installment!

    • 2. modres  |  February 16, 2018 at 9:07 AM

      Yes, it is fantastic, isn’t it? Amen.


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