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Jesus Christ, the Ruler and Head of His Church

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Jesus Christ, the Ruler and Head of His Church

9 minuten leestijd

“And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23).

The last part of Ephesians 1 is a climax, the conclusion of the whole chapter. It speaks of the glory of Jesus Christ, the Prince of life and the glory of His church. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has given Him this place. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10).

The expression “all things” may not be limited to all things in the church. Unto Him is given all power in heaven and upon earth. The word “all things” is pressed to the full extent of its meaning. All creatures are placed in absolute submission to Him. It is a word which speaks of Christ’s universal sovereignty. It is a dominion from which absolutely nothing that exists is excluded. It is a very strong expression denoting highest authority and sovereignty. All creatures are thoroughly under Christ as if they were literally under His feet. The government is upon His shoulders.

What a rich comfort this is. This thought is food and strength for a soul in distress. How numerous and complicated are the various circumstances in our lives and in the lives of God’s children. However, all things as well as all persons are under His feet. There cannot be a single circumstance over which Christ has not supreme control. Oh, give and submit your life into His hands.

There is not a trial, temptation, affliction of body or soul, there is not a loss, a cross, a painful bereavement, a disappointment, which is not in His hand. As possessed with infinite knowledge, He sees it; as possessed with wisdom, He can manage it; as possessed with infinite power, He can direct all events for our good and His own glory. If we could see with an eye of faith that every foe, fear, difficulty, perplexity, painful circumstance, and source of care are all under His feet, what a load of care would often be taken off our shoulders. Looking then by faith upon Him, our hope will not fail.

“I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).

Jesus Christ is the Head of the church. “...And gave Him to be the Head over all things.” As such He is given to be the Head of the church for their benefit. Thus Jesus in all His glory is given to the church. Christ is set forth as the great donation to the church. And God’s gifts are without repentance. He is not given for a short time. “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). This great Gift will never be withdrawn. He is the Gift of the Father’s profound, boundless, steadfast love.

Throughout this letter to the Ephesians Paul emphasizes God’s great love for His people and the love the church owes Him. There is not a single chapter in which this love is not stressed. This great supreme Ruler is given to the church, not to put Him in a corner nor to leave Him unused, but to live out of Him.

What is meant by the church? By it we are to understand all those who are called out of the world. It is the church of the redeemed. In the beginning of this chapter they are called saints, faithful in Jesus Christ, chosen ones, adopted to be children of God. The church thus regarded refers not to a denomination, for there is no denomination on earth which contains only God’s people and of which it can be said that all its members are true children of God. The idea is of one organic whole, a church united to Christ by faith. By the church is meant a holy congregation, all expecting their salvation in Jesus Christ, being washed in His blood, sanctified and sealed by the Holy Ghost. “This Church hath been from the beginning of the world, and will be to the end thereof; which is evident from this, that Christ is an eternal King, which, without subjects, cannot be” (Belgic Confession of Faith, Article 27).

Christ the Head is given to the WHOLE church. What a rich and deep comfort this is for the church of all ages. Denominations may fall apart, but not the church. The Father constituted Him Head for His church.

The sense in which Christ is the Head of His church is that He is the source of its life. He is its life, its supreme Ruler, ever present with it, loving it and sympathizing with it. The church is joined to Christ. There is one life in Christ and in the church. The very life of Christ flows through the church. Paul said, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20). The church is one in Christ. The Head has but one body. A Christless church is a lifeless church. Without Christ, it is a headless church, and amputation of the head means...DEAD.

Being their Head, He is their Savior. The church is in Him from eternity. It is chosen in Him. Being Head, He stands for the whole body. His life is the life of His members. If the Head is severed from the body, life becomes extinct. The life of the church depends upon the union with Christ. “In Him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). It is the head which directs all the movements of the body. So it is Christ who worketh all in all and fills all in all. The members of the body have no power in themselves. A pain in the smallest nerve is registered in the head.

The church is His body. He is the vine, they are the branches. He dwells in the church as life dwells in a living body. He fills with His strength, feeds with His flesh and blood, beautifies the church with His comeliness, calms it with His peace, brightens it with His holiness, and finally glorifies it with His glory. All He has and all He is, He, Christ, is the Filler of the church. His is the fulness which fills all in all.

What does this mean? The fulness of Christ is in the church. Here it says that the church is the fulness of Christ. The body cannot be without the Head, but the Head also cannot be without the body. Christ cannot be without subjects. As the body is not complete without the Head, so the Head is not complete without the body. His strength is made perfect in weakness. Thus the church serves as an empty vessel into which the Savior by His Word and Spirit pours His mediatorial fulness. Every new convert added to the church adds to His fulness. Thus the church is Christ’s complement.

As the Bridegroom, He is incomplete without the bride. As the vine, He cannot be thought of without the branches. As the Shepherd, He is not seen without His sheep. Christ is not complete until all who are given to Him are brought to Him. He still has other sheep who are not of His fold (John 10:16). He will bring them in. And the church is dependent upon Him for all the fulfillment of its every need. With such a Head, the foundation of the church is sure, and the church has nothing to fear. Its hope will be realized and its inheritance fully enjoyed.

Dear reader, are you a member of Jesus Christ, a part of HIS body? Is Christ your Head? We are empty vessels until Christ fills us. He only is the life within. Who is Christ for you? Christ only is the salvation for His church. All the fulness dwells in Him. Only the root gives life to the tree, not the branches. We have nothing of our own. We are in ourselves needy and hungry, and must draw from His plenty. Let the Head have the rule and let the body quietly follow Him.

A Covenant Relationship

What an unutterable privilege it is to be brought into covenant relationship with the one only and true God! Everything in the establishing of a covenant is His work. He seeks the sinner. He draws the sinner away from his first covenant head. He determines all aspects of the covenant. He fulfills the conditions of the covenant. Everything from the beginning to the end is the work of God. It is a one-sided covenant. God is the God of His people. He is their all. He is their portion for time and eternity.

The apostle not only says that God will be the God of His people, but that He thereby receives honor and glory. “God is not ashamed to be call their God” (Hebrews 11:16b), but there is every reason to do so. “Thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite.” Indeed, there is every reason for God to be ashamed to be called their God, the God of such despised, unworthy, damnable, and unfaithful forsakers of God. There was every reason for God to be ashamed, when viewed from the side of man. But here all is grace, and only grace. God will be glorified in base, despised, and unworthy people. This greatly magnifies the wonder of God being the God of His people. We are sometimes ashamed of God’s children, and ashamed of the Lord’s cause, as was Peter, who denied his Lord and Master in the hall of Caiaphas. But God never despises His people. They are God’s people and God the Lord is not ashamed of them.

Rev. Hofman serves the congregation of Chilliwack, British Columbia.

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van zondag 1 mei 1994

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

Jesus Christ, the Ruler and Head of His Church

Bekijk de hele uitgave van zondag 1 mei 1994

The Banner of Truth | 24 Pagina's

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