“And He is before ALL THINGS, and by Him ALL THINGS consist. And he is the Head of the Body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in ALL THINGS He might have the preeminence.”
~ Colossians 1:17-18
“. . . According to His good pleasure which He has PURPOSED in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one ALL THINGS in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him.”
~ Ephesaians 1:9-10
“And [God] has put ALL THINGS under His [Christ’s] feet, and gave Him to be the Head over ALL THINGS to the church.”
~ Ephesians 1:22
Often when Christians come into a deeper understanding and experience of grace, they lose sight of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. I’ve addressed this problem on the blog before in detail. However, I want to revisit it in light of God’s eternal purpose.
The eternal purpose of God is centered upon making the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ a visible reality. God’s goal is the establishment of the complete sovereignty and supremacy of His Son. His driving passion is to make His Son preeminent over all things. All of God’s activities are toward this end. Hence, the chief work of the Holy Spirit in this age is to establish the absolute Lordship of Christ in the universe.
Accordingly, the Holy Spirit will break down and devastate everything that opposes, obstructs, and hinders the Lord’s sovereign rule in the hearts of His people. He will stand against all that gets in the way of God’s ultimate intention of establishing the centrality and supremacy of His Son over all things. Strikingly, before Christ can be made preeminent over all things, He must first have the preeminence among His own people. Colossians 1:18 puts it this way,
And He is the Head of the Body, the church . . . THAT in all things He might have the preeminence.
The great need today in the Body of Christ is to reinstate the Headship of Christ. Tragically, all sorts of things have replaced Christ’s Headship. Church boards, committee meetings, church leaders, church programs, man-made rules and regulations, etc. have often supplanted the Headship of Jesus Christ.
Whenever there is a decision before us regarding the Lord’s work or the Lord’s people, the salient question should not be, “What do we think should be done?” or “What can we agree upon as spiritual leaders?” It rather should be, “What does the Lord want in this situation?” With respect to the church, when two people make a decision independent of the Head, it constitutes conspiracy.
Christ alone has the right to rule His church—not any human or committee. It is His Body, not ours. We all belong to Him. He has purchased us with a costly price, and thus He alone possesses full rights over us.
When Christ has His full and rightful place as Head and absolute Lord over His people, then so many problems are resolved.
Consider the profound problems that the church in Corinth faced—carnality, divisions, envy, self-absorption, blasphemy, pride, immorality, strife, civil discord and rivalry. Chapters 1-11 paint a pitiful picture of the corruption in that assembly. What a tremendous burden to carry for Paul—the man who planted and cared for that church. But what was his answer to it all? What was the all-inclusive solution that he shared in 1 Corinthians? It was simply this . . .
For I determined not to know anything among you, except JESUS CHRIST, and Him crucified . . . For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is JESUS CHRIST. (1 Cor. 2:2; 3:11)
The answer was quite plain: That Jesus Christ be given His rightful place in the church. Can you see the force of that? When God’s people get a hold of the greatness of their Lord and put Him in His rightful place, all of their troubles are dealt with. When Christ is presented in power and life, our problems get resolved.
God’s aim in this hour is for us to make Christ’s Headship a practical reality in our lives and in our churches. Such a way, however, is costly. It is a hard thing to yield our rights over to the Lord, to wait on the Lord, and to put the absolute rulership, authority, and decision-making rights into the hands of the Holy Spirit.
It tests whether or not we are going to put our hands on things or whether we are going to yield all rights to Christ. We must understand, however, that if Jesus Christ will return to reign on this earth in His fullness, His people must first give Him the preeminence in their midst.
In God’s plan, all things begin with the church. James tells us that we are “the firstfruits of His creation.” That includes this business of Him reigning over all things.
Make no mistake about it. “Holding fast to the Headship of Christ” (as Colossians puts it) is not something that we are to practice as a last resort. Too often the mentality among Christians is, “I will do whatever I can, using my own cleverness, gifts, and abilities, and only rely upon the Lord when I cannot do any more.” This is foolish thinking at best. Our human ideas and philosophies cannot fulfill one fragment of God’s work.
A great deal of our ecclesiastical traditions and programs are nothing more than wood, hay, and stubble. The church is a spiritual organism. Only that which comes out of God’s indwelling life can accomplish His purpose.
Under the Old Covenant, Moses commanded that no oil be poured upon flesh. So too, the Spirit of God cannot anoint that which comes out of our human fleshly ideas. Recall the words of the Lord Jesus, “Without me, you can do nothing.”
All of this will meet nodding heads with most Christians. But is it a reality? Is Jesus Christ truly the Head of your church, or is someone else? Does the structure of your church allow for Jesus Christ to lead and direct His people through His Body or does it prevent that from happening? And how about our lives?
God desires to sum up all things in His Son. That which originates from fallen humanity’s ideas, traditions, and systems will not last. Only that which comes out of Christ can find God’s highest blessing. Even now, the Lord is awaiting a people to give Him that place of preeminence among themselves. So that one day Christ will indeed be “the Head over all things to the church,” nothing excluded.