The Image of God and the Firstborn over all Creation: God must be all in all

It is only fitting that in all things good God should reign supreme, that everything that is not rebellion, that is, defiance against His nature and law, God should fill. There shall be no goodness had by any creature, no good role held or enacted by any creature, that does not belong to God!

This is fulfilled in God’s Messiah. You may say that it is against God’s nature to obey, to submit, to suffer limitations or pain, to die. I say that it is against God’s nature for there to be any goodness which is not His – in fact, I say that it is downright impossible for there to be any goodness which was not first God’s (don’t worry about time and chronology right now – God is immutable in eternity, and there is a sense in which one can say that anything God will do He has done from eternity; though Jesus died on Calvary outside Jerusalem just under two thousand years ago, He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world). You see, God’s nature is the rule of goodness and the measure of all things, and so there can be no goodness which is not found in Him. God is God and we are not, and there are goodnesses which are His to which no creature can aspire, and to which if any creature tries to aspire, that creature then becomes bad and a rebel and falls from any nearness to God, but there is no goodness which He does not have, which is not found in Him. In all things, God must be All in All, God must fill all things, all things must be summed up in God, all things must be by Him and for Him and through Him and in Him. Because of God’s absolute perfection, supremacy and authority, it is against His nature for there to be anything good which is not His and does not source from Him.

In the very beginning, before even time or space came to be, God submitted to God, and so consecrated submission. There is no doubt that submission and obedience is often good, and not a sign or cause of inferiority. Children are to obey parents, but such submission and obedience does not mean that children are less human than parents. Wives are to submit to husbands, but such submission does not mean that women are not human as much as men, or that they have less dignity, or even that their minds are inferior. Employees obey their bosses, but no one thinks that this is because they are somehow less human or inferior humans or have less dignity (doubtless, often enough a boss is better at one thing and his employee at other things, though human society is very marred, and sometimes people are in places it seems backwards, according to their natural talent or their moral character). However, it is obvious that submission or obedience is not bad, or even a sign of inferiority. So it is that, from the days of eternity, the Son, who is Himself the radiance of the Father, submits to the Father in perfect freedom and love, not because He must or because He is in any way inferior, but because He is the Son and the Father is the Father and so it is in accord with their perfectly united nature and will. The submission of the Son is an act as free, as voluntary, as uncoerced, as deliberate and chosen, as is any other act of God, be it speaking the world into existence. In the same way, the Father seeks, from the foundations of eternity, to glorify His Son and exalt Him over all and in all.

So, also, Jesus the Messiah became a man, the man (God created man to be His unique and crowning work and ruler over creation, as it were, to represent God to the rest of the creation, almost, in a way, one might say, as the ultimate or best creation). If there is any goodness ever found in being weak, suffering, or dying, it must be because God has done them all, and they are consecrated by Him. If suffering is to be consecrated, God must become a man, for in His own nature He can not suffer. Jesus Christ is perfect God and perfect man. He is the consummation of all things. He is perfect, uncreated, the Glory of Eternity, the image of the invisible God, and He is also the firstborn over all creation, the firstfruits of all creation. Christ must be, in all things, the Best and the Fullness, for He is the image of His Father and the One God loves to glorify and glory in. Creation must be offered to God in Christ, its best must be Christ and all that is good in it must be in Christ. Christ is God and Man, All in All; He descended into the depths in order that He might also rise to the heights, as the One who fills all in all.

Jesus the Messiah is really, truly man, and all that is good in man He is in perfection, as well as being the very Glory of God, the fullness of God, the One and Only Son of God, possessing perfectly all the attributes of the Divine Nature. Jesus the Messiah is the King; He rules all things, His kingdom will never end, nothing happens that He does not choose to permit, and one day God will establish His throne in the sight of the nations so that every knee will bow to Him and all will know that He reigns and none will have strength to defy His commands. Jesus the Messiah is the Prophet; He gives to men the very words of God, He tells them the decrees of the Most High. He teaches to humans the things of God. Jesus the Messiah is the Priest; it is He who offers the sacrifice that atones for sins and appeases the wrath of God and gains His favor. It is He who, by virtue of that sacrifice, pleads with God on behalf of His people and obtains mercy for them. It is through Him that humans can approach God and can find mercy, grace, and help in time of need. Jesus Christ is the Sacrifice; the sacrifice He offers is Himself. He it is who purchases forgiveness and appeases the wrath of God, it is the offering of His body that satisfies the demands of justice against us and gains for us favor from God. It is by virtue of the sacrifice of Himself, by virtue of His own merit and His own suffering, that He pleads with God, and that we can approach God in Him and find mercy and help. Jesus the Messiah is the Judge; it is He who will judge the nations, it is through Him that God will render and pronounce judgment on every human being and on every word, deed, and action. He is the Man God has anointed for all these roles, since He is His perfect and beloved Son. All that He is, I cannot tell. Ten thousand glorious names would not be enough for all He is and does.

To be our Prophet, the Messiah must be both God and man. He must be God, because otherwise He cannot enter God’s presence to receive God’s decrees and revelations, and neither can He properly teach them. He must be man, because otherwise He cannot teach men in a way that will not overpower or overwhelm them, nor can He come close to sinners. To be our Priest, the Messiah must be both God and man. For He must be a man to understand the weaknesses of humans and to empathize with us, and also to offer sacrifice in our stead, and He must be God, for He must be able to enter the blinding and unapproachable light of the Presence to present the sacrifice. To be our Sacrifice, the Messiah must be both God and man, for unless He is man He is not a suitable sacrifice for the sins of humans and in the place of humans, and unless He is God He has neither the worth required to atone for our sins nor the strength to bear them before the wrath of God until all is accomplished. His anointment as Judge too is related to His being Son of Man as well as Son of God; perhaps that fallen humans might be judged by the Man, the perfect man, the man who has withstood all the temptations that have ever befallen the human race, the man who has borne and expiated sin and extended salvation to them for so long, that it might be clear to all how atrocious, abominable and unjustifiable is the sin of the judged and how appropriate is the judgment, and that the One who gives the prize to the saved and purified should be the very One who both won and is that prize. The Messiah to be King must be both God and man, for God made man to rule over His creation, and He promised David that one of His descendants would reign on his throne and on the earth forever, and so a man must be king over creation, and a descendant of David (a man) must be king, and who but God can be the Supreme and Everlasting King?

So, Jesus is the all in all. In Jesus, all is God’s. For there can be no glory or goodness which is not God’s and does not source from Him and find its completion in Him. His Son has become a man, that in the person of Jesus our Messiah, the perfect Son of God and the perfect Son of Man, God would redeem for Himself a people, and the perfection of every goodness, whether Divine or human, would be found in the person of the Man Jesus, so that all creation would be consecrated to God, and God’s glory should be over all and in all, and all goodness should belong to God and be found in Him! Jesus, the God and the Man, has been found perfect in all things – in power, in authority, in glory, in wisdom, in all that pertains to God, and as Man, our prophet and priest and king and judge, perfect in living and in dying, perfect in suffering, perfect in all that human life entails. He is the Son of God and the ultimate and perfect Man, the second Adam, the glory of God and the glory of creation, so that all glory and every goodness is God’s forever, blessed be His name. And in His glory and exaltation, the Father is glorified, for He is the Son of the Father and the radiance of His image.

A few of the Bible verses relevant to the topic above:

Ephesians 1:9-10, 20-23, and 4:10.

Colossians 1:15-20, 2:9.

1 Corinthians 15:28.

John 5:27.

Copyright 2017 Raina Nightingale


Free to Live and Free to Die

“We who are free to worship and serve the Lord must never forget those who are not.” At first glance these words seem, at least to me, to be saying that Christians should remember, pray for, and preach the Gospel to those who do not know that God sent His Son to be the sacrifice for our sins. They appeared, though, in a context of remembering our brethren who are persecuted (which is clearly commanded in the Bible)! I believe they were attributed to Chuck Swindoll. However, who said them does not matter. What matters is not even that anyone said them. What matters is many Christians think that, in persecution, Christians are not free to worship and serve the Lord; to be more careful, many who think they are Christians think this, and many Christians think that they think this. Continue reading “Free to Live and Free to Die”

Temples of the Holy Spirit and Living Sacrifices

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit? You are not your own; you were bought with a price; so honor God with your body.”

Just earlier, Paul was writing about how when a man is joined to a woman he is one flesh with her and that Christians are one in spirit with the Lord. He is explaining to the Corinthians why they should not commit adultery. “Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute?” It is basically the same concept as “Be holy, because I am holy,” “Come out from among them and be separate, you who bear the vessels of YHWH,” “What fellowship then is there between light and darkness? Or what fellowship is there between Christ and Belial?” We are called to holiness because our God is holy; we are being transformed by the glory of the Lord; we are being conformed to the image of Christ. We love Him because He first loved us. Continue reading “Temples of the Holy Spirit and Living Sacrifices”

Father, Son, and Spirit Blest (A Poem on the Trinity and the Rest of God)

I wrote this poem thinking of John 17, “… I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one, Father, You in Me and I in them, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me… Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am and to see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world was.” I was also thinking of Hebrews 4, “… God rested from all His works… So, then, there remains a Sabbath rest for all who believe…”

Father, Son, and Spirit blest

Guide us to eternal rest

That is Thy sacred oneness

The source of all blessedness Continue reading “Father, Son, and Spirit Blest (A Poem on the Trinity and the Rest of God)”

(Part II) Who Are You That You Fear: I, Even I, Am He…

“I, even I, am He…”

Doesn’t that sound a lot like “I AM?” That’s followed by “who comforts you.” It sounds a lot like, “YHWH is my Shepherd.”

“I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men who are like grass, that you forget YHWH, your Maker?”

“YHWH is my Shepherd. I will not lack. He makes me to lie down in green pastures, He leads me besides quiet waters… Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.”

A lot of what I am going to say may apply to very different sins and struggles than that of fear; sin is sin; all sin flows from and to idolatry, from and to death; sin leads to sin. Pride – fear – hatred – at the bottom, they are all the same; they are all opposed to God, to salvation. They are all the opposite of faith; instead of being the gaze of the soul upon God – “One thing I have asked of YHWH, that I shall seek… to gaze upon the beauty of YHWH” – sins are the turning of the soul towards self, the setting of attentions and vision not upon God, but upon self and other selves. “Who are you that you… forget YHWH, your Maker?”

The remedy is beautifully depicted in this verse from Galatians: Continue reading “(Part II) Who Are You That You Fear: I, Even I, Am He…”

(Part I) Who Are You That You Fear: Introduction and the Idolatry of Fear

“You shall not fear what they fear, nor be in terror of what terrifies them. YHWH Himself shall be your terror and your fear; then He will become a refuge, but to the houses of Israel a stumbling stone and a rock of oppression.”

“Do not fear their reproaches, nor be in terror of their slander, for they will all wear out like a garment; the moth will eat them up, but My salvation is forever and My righteousness for all peoples.”

“I, even I, am He who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal man, the sons of man who are like grass, that you forget YHWH, your Maker, who stretched out the heavens?”

Fear is not right in the life of a Christian. People have said to me, “You’re only human; of course you’re going to be afraid. Those “fear not” verses are just meant to be a comfort and an encouragement; not a command.” I read in a book once, on that passage where Jesus said not to fear those who can kill the body, but after that can do no more, but to fear Him who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna, something to the effect of, “If somebody walks into your bedroom in the middle of the night with a knife and says ‘I’m going to kill you,’ are you going to be afraid? Of course you are. He’s going to kill your body. Continue reading “(Part I) Who Are You That You Fear: Introduction and the Idolatry of Fear”

Salvation: Heaven From the Foundations of the World

“Those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might become the firstborn among many brethren. Those He predestined, He also called. Those He called He also justified. Those He justified He also glorified.”

This indicates something of the nature of salvation to me. Salvation is an eternal work. In Philippians, Paul writes, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.”

Salvation is the action of God. Just as Jesus is “the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world,” so salvation is eternal. God has not only foreknown and predestined His children from before the world began. He has also justified them and even glorified them Continue reading “Salvation: Heaven From the Foundations of the World”

The Day I Would Die

I closed my eyes and waited. Today was the day we would die in the arena. Not long ago, I had been asked to throw incense to Caesar and call him that which no mere man was… call him a god. But, Jesus was Lord. Jesus is always Lord. He never changes. Caesar was a mere mortal, a son of man who would wither like the grass. By the grace of God, we who confessed Jesus as Lord would not die; rather, we who die with Him will also live with Him.

Only God knew what awaited any of us in the arena. Sometimes, it made my blood run cold. But, I knew Jesus was with me. Continue reading “The Day I Would Die”

Hypocrisy in the American Church: A Scandal and Disgrace

In one of the Letters to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul wrote that an immoral person who refuses to repent should be expelled from the Church. Then he writes, “I do not mean for you not to associate with unbelievers; to do that, you would have to leave the world.” So, obviously, the idea is that there should not be persistent public sin in the Church, but, as Jesus did, we should relate to and love people, regardless of whether their sins are particularly heinous or disgusting in whatever way.

This is precisely what I do not see in the American Protestant Church. Others may have the same problem or very similar and closely related problems, but I’m going to focus on a manifestation of this plague which afflicts Protestantism. Continue reading “Hypocrisy in the American Church: A Scandal and Disgrace”

Christian Citizenship

“Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we eagerly await the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”

“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

“No man can serve two masters. He must love the one and despise the other.”

Christians can only ever offer allegiance to God alone. We were born into various different countries and, by the command of God, we are to pay taxes and offer due honor to the authorities of our country, whether it be the United States of America or Iran or China. We are obligated, by the command of God, to obey the laws of the nation to which we belong, just insofar as the laws of the nation do not conflict with the laws of God. The instant they do, we are obligated to “disobey” them – they are no longer laws and have no more authority – all authority comes from God.

Ultimately, however, our citizenship is only in heaven. We can never be about our country. We are ambassadors of Christ and must always remember that fact. Continue reading “Christian Citizenship”