Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 10, 1952
NUMBER 35, PAGE 1,9b

Christ, "All, And In All"

Roy E. Cogdill

There are three passages of scripture, two in Colossians and one in Hebrews, which are closely related to one another in the descriptions they give of the Lord Jesus Christ. In these passages Paul describes the place that Jesus occupies in the scheme of human redemption, God's plan for the salvation of the world; he sets forth the nature of Christ, and tells what he means, or can mean, and should mean, to every human soul. He sums up these descriptions of Christ, and in fact, in a very apt way puts all the Bible has to say concerning Christ in one brief statement when he declares that "Christ is all, and in all." (Col. 3:11)

Hebrews 1:3

"God having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds; who being the effulgence of his glory and the very image of his substance, an upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." (Heb. 1:1-3)

This is one of the descriptions Paul gives, one of the phrases he uses, to sum up and set forth the magnificence and the glory of Christ. He says that Christ is the "effulgence" of the Father's glory. That word effulgence means brightness or radiance. Christ is the radiance of the glory of God; he "radiates" the glory of God in himself. When I look at the Lord Jesus, study his life, familiarize myself with his character, learn what he taught, and what he was, and what he did, I see manifested and radiated in him the glory of God. As the radiance of the sun is to the sun itself, so Christ is to the Father; Christ is to God what the sunlight is to the sun. The glory and majesty and power of the sun are felt in its rays of warming light that comes forth to bless the whole earth. So the glory and power and majesty of God are felt and seen and made known in Christ.

Jesus Christ came forth from the Father as the expression of God's love for man, God's interest in man, and God's hatred for sin. Christ shows how great is God's desire for man's salvation. It is all summed up in him, and through him made known to the children of men.

Not only is Christ the "effulgence" or brightness of the Father's glory, he is also the "very image of his substance." Elsewhere Paul declared that Christ was "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." (Col. 1:15) And further stated that Christ was God "manifested in the Flesh." (1 Tim. 8:16) John said, "For this cause was the Son of God manifested in the flesh that be might destroy the works of the devil." And Jesus said, "He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father also." (Jn. 14:9) Add to these words the statement of John that, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him," and our hearts are impressed with the one glorious fact that Jesus came into the world to show us God, to reveal and make known to us what God is like. The great God of all creation, that invisible God whom no man has ever seen, the Father of our spirits, the giver of every good and perfect gift, that God can be seen and known only in and through Jesus Christ, his Son. He is the exact likeness of the Father's substance; he carries in his own person every mark or identity of his deity or divinity.

Marks Of Divinity

One mark of divinity, one of those attributes by which we may know for a certainty that Christ of God, was the infinite wisdom of which he was possessed. The wisdom of God, the infinite wisdom of God, was manifested through Christ. When the Pharisees came to him with deceitfulness upon their lips and with evil in their hearts, the Son of God was not deceived. He read their thoughts. When Nathaniel approached him, Jesus knew who he was and what he was. He said concerning him, "Behold, an Israelite in whom there is no guile." He knew the hearts of men. He knew also the mind of God. He was familiar with all the universe of which man is a part; and he had all this knowledge from the very beginning. He was present when God said, "Let us make man in our image." He took part in the creation; and he knew the full course of human history from the very beginning. Nothing escaped his notice or his knowledge. He knew the past, the present, and the future. Paul says of him, "In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col. 2:8)

Not only was Jesus infinitely wise; he possessed also the attribute of holiness. This is affirmed of him by the writer of Hebrews, "For we have not such a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one who was tempted in all points like as we are, and yet without sin." (Heb. 4:15) Although tempted in every point, he yet lived without committing any sin. He was never guilty. He thus set the perfect example of living, and demonstrated for us the kind of life God would have us live. Peter declares this as follows, "For as he which hath called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living, for it is written, Be ye holy for I am holy." (1 Pet 1:15) In his sinless perfection Christ showed us how to meet sin and overcome it and to live, as God would have us live.

Perfect in wisdom, perfect in holiness, Christ was also perfect in justice. He had this attribute of God. Man cannot be in every instance completely and perfectly just. Our reasoning and our judgment prevent such perfection. Too many times we are moved by prejudice and circumstances over which we have no control. Feelings and propensities and emotions control and provoke us; but not so with God. And not so with Christ! God shall not allow the wicked to go unpunished; nor shall the righteous suffer. Justice means that the righteous shall escape the penalty of the law, while the wicked shall suffer it. That was the attitude, and the attribute, of the Son of God. He did not condone wickedness; he condemned it. When he found deceit and hypocrisy among men, he showed the divine wrath against such. When he found righteousness and holiness and faith, he gave praise and commendation. John quotes him as saying, "I can of mine own self do nothing; as I hear, I judge; my judgment is just because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which bath sent me." (Jn. 5:30)