Scripture Notes.

p. 193.


Colossians 1:18.

The expression, "that in all things He might have the pre-eminence," refers to the two spheres of the glory of Christ, of which mention has just been made; viz., creation and the assembly; and it simply means that it is God's purpose that Christ should have the "first place," the absolute supremacy, in both. The proper glory of the person of Christ, or rather of the Son, is the special subject of this epistle; and, in addition, His acquired glory through His death and resurrection is unfolded. Thus the moment the apostle touches redemption in the words, "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins," he proceeds to say, "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature" (or, "before all creation"). And we learn that He takes the pre-eminence in creation (He who was "before all things," eternally existent as the Son) on the ground of being Himself the Creator. If all things, whatever their degree or glory, were created by Him and for Him, and if all things subsist in Him, by the very rights of His own person He must have the place of supremacy in all the circles of created existences. But there is another sphere - a sphere outside of creation - which has been revealed in connection with the counsels of God in redemption; viz., that of the assembly, as the body of Christ. Of this we learn that He is head. For if God has brought the first man, Adam, to his judicial end in the cross, Christ in resurrection is the "beginning," God's commencement of His new order in the person of the Second Man. It is true that He was the Second Man in incarnation, but He was not in the condition of the Second Man until he was risen and glorified; and hence it is that He, as glorified, is presented as the model to which all the redeemed are to be conformed. He is, moreover, "the beginning" as the "firstborn from the dead"; and it is as such also that He has become the Head of the body, the church, of which believers have been, through grace, made members in virtue of the indwelling Spirit. In this circle also Christ must therefore be necessarily supreme; and happy is it for us when we practically and habitually acknowledge His pre-eminence in "all things." The following remarks may be further helpful: "One of these pre-eminences depends on His divine rights as Creator, the other on His work and on the power displayed in His humanity in the act of resurrection. He holds all as Man and all by divine glory; but in some sort it may be said that one part of His glory depends on His divinity, the other on His victory as Man."


Matthew 7:13-14.

While the main subject of the Lord's discourse on the mount pertains to the kingdom (see Matt. 5:3, 10, 19, 20, etc.), much of it, and indeed all its moral principles, will abide for all time. Thus the "strait gate" and the "broad" way are true of every dispensation - up to the reign of Christ during the thousand years. For man being what he is, alienated from God, is ever in opposition to the truth, to God's testimony however presented. The terrors of the law, as well as the attractions of grace, only serve him for an occasion to find fault with, and to condemn, the messenger. (Luke 7:31-34.) The consequences are twofold; first, the mass travel in the broad road (for all the influences of this world favour the enmity of their own hearts), which leadeth to destruction; and, secondly, the few who are wrought upon by the grace of God, and have their eyes opened to their state and need, find that both the gate, and "the way" which leadeth unto life, are strait and narrow. Repentance and faith constitute the entrance (the gate), and God's will, the Lord Himself indeed, is the way of life. Every Christian should know that the closer he keeps to Christ, the more faithfully he treads in His footsteps, the narrower is his path; whereas the multitude, following only the bent of their own desires and inclinations, roam and wander without restriction. Bearing this in mind, it is easy to interpret the Lord's figurative language.


Romans 14:20; 1 Corinthians 8:10-11.

Both of these scriptures present the same truth, and bring out in a very striking way the solemn responsibility of guarding the consciences of our brethren. It is impossible, as we all know, to "destroy" a child of God, for none can pluck even the feeblest out of His hands. On our side, however, we may, by our conduct, do our best to destroy a saint, and we might even succeed in doing so, were it not for the preventing and sustaining grace of God as the fruit of His faithful and unchanging love. Hence, when the apostle says, "For meat destroy not the work of God," he speaks of what has been aptly termed "the bearing of the act," i.e., the tendency of our action is to cause, as said in Corinthians, our weak brother to perish, one for whom Christ died. And the addition of the last clause shows out, in the most forcible manner, the character of indifference to the peril of a weak believer. Christ died for him in order to save him, whereas one who would act, as here described, because of his superior knowledge, would, for the sake of maintaining his own liberty, exhibit the most culpable carelessness of his brother's eternal welfare. It may be added, not as interpretation, but as offering a further consideration, that, while we cannot cause a brother to perish, we may destroy him morally, and consequently his testimony in this world. Both passages are, with the context, very instructive, and their teaching should be much heeded in the mixed state of things in which we are found.

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The Scriptures. - The Scriptures have a living source, and living power has pervaded their composition; hence their infiniteness of bearing, and the impossibility of separating any one part from its connection with the whole, because one God is the living centre from which all flows; one Christ, the living centre round which all its truth circles, and to which it refers, though in various glory; and one Spirit, the divine sap which carries its power from its source in God to the minutest branches of the all-united truth, testifying of the glory, the grace, and the truth of Him whom God sets forth as the Object and Centre and Head of all that is in connection with Himself, of Him who is withal God over all, blessed for evermore. J. N. D. (Synopsis)