THE RICHES OF CHRIST
"To me, less than the least of all saints, was this grace given to announce to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ as the gospel."
The reason that believers today are burdened with depression and fear is that they honestly do not know what they have in Christ. What, dear reader, do you possess in Jesus Christ? Do you really know? And if you know, do you really believe it? I suppose that's the real question, do we believe? First, we need to see what we have in Christ, and then we need to believe and act upon it. If we know who we are and what we have, then we will no longer be insecure people.
However, the riches of Christ are so vast that it is very difficult for us to grasp them with our minds. That's why I am going to use the illustration of a bank account. That's something that most of us can understand.
God has a bank account. That's right. God, the Father, has a bank account that He has been depositing into since before eternity. That bank account is His Son. Yes, it's the Bank of Christ! The Father has made His Son the sole object of all His investments. He has invested everything He has into His Son.
So I am going to take a passage in Colossians and show you how and what God has deposited into His bank account. The Colossians had forgotten who Christ was. They had forgotten who they were and what they had in Christ. So Paul needed to remind them.
"He is the image of the invisible God . . ." Col. 1:15
This passage is so overwhelming that I think the best way to approach it is by breaking it down into terms we can understand. Let's think of it as a bank account. God, the Father, has opened a bank account and now He is going to begin to invest by depositing into this account. This account is His own Son! The first thing He deposits into this account is His image.
God, the Father, is invisible. He has always been invisible and always will be invisible. However, He wants to be made visible in this realm. He is made visible, tangible, by His Son. What does this mean? It means that God expresses all that He is and all that He has by and through His Son. Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God. This is why He is called the Word of God in John, chapter one.
The Word means expression. You and I express ourselves by using words. God expresses Himself by using one word: Christ! The Son of God is the Living Expression of the Father. This is why He says that if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father. He is the image of God. The Father has deposited His own image into this bank account of Christ.
". . . the Firstborn of all creation . . ."
Why is Christ called the Firstborn of all creation? It's because:
". . . in Him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and unto Him."
Now what does that phrase "all things" mean to you? Does it not mean EVERYTHING? All things visible and invisible were created in Him, through Him, and for Him. What a wonderful Christ we have! Look at all that the Father has deposited into Him. The bank account now grows again. And now it includes all things in creation! All of this has been deposited into the Bank of Christ! See how the Father honors the Son? See how much the Father has invested in Him?
"And He is before all things, and all things cohere in Him . . ."
Obviously, our Lord existed before creation. He is eternal and before all things. Paul goes on to tell us that all things hold together in Him. He is the "glue" that holds all things together. Remember, this means everything! He holds everything together. Nothing is together unless He keeps it that way. Think about that for a moment. Every atom, every molecule, every particle of matter and energy; it's all held together by Him. Here again, is the Father depositing into the bank account of His Son. That account is becoming greater and greater, and fuller and fuller.
". . . and He is the Head of the Body, the church . . ."
We all know this. We preach this. Jesus Christ is the Head of the church. But do we practice this? Do we practically allow Him to be the actual, living Head of the church? Sadly, organized religion has been running under the delusion that someone else can be the head. But the fact remains that Jesus Christ is still the only read Head of the church!
God, the Father, has given His Son all authority in heaven and earth. He is not only the authority, He is also the Life, Brains, and Direction for His Body, the church. He is the All in all. Indeed, the bank account is growing.
"He is the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that He Himself might have the first place in all things . . ."
We already saw that He is the Firstborn of all creation. This refers to the old creation, that is, everything that God created in Genesis one. Now, He is called the Firstborn of the dead which is referring to the resurrection and the new creation. Through His resurrection, Christ brought into being a whole new creation, or race, also called the Second Adam. This new creation included the Head and the Body of a whole new man. Paul calls this new man: Christ.
He, Jesus Christ, is the Head of this new creation, therefore He has the first place. He also is the Firstborn from the dead and the Beginning of this new race. Can you see that the Father's bank account just keeps growing and growing? Has not the Father invested much into His Son?
"For in Him all the fullness was pleased to dwell . . ."
All the fullness of what? All the fullness of God! The Father placed all of His fullness into Christ. Everything that the Father is and everything that the Father has done was placed into His Son. Is this not a full Christ? My! How this bank account has increased!
". . . and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself . . ."
The word "reconcile" means to bring back or restore. Have you every tried to reconcile a bank statement? What you are trying to do is bring back the balance of your checkbook to match the balance of the bank. What you say and what the bank says must match. If the balances don't match, then you know something is wrong.
The "balance" of the old creation went out of whack during the fall of man. It wasn't just that man fell, the whole creation fell with him. Our checkbook balance got way off! So God sent His Son to bring reconciliation. But God has invested so much into His Son that His bank account is huge. How could we ever measure up to that? Our bank accounts had fallen to sub zero levels!
But now we see that God has done something that is so amazing that we cannot ever grasp it with our mortal minds.
"And you, though once alienated and enemies in your mind because of your evil works, He now has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and without blemish and without reproach before Him . . ."
Do you see what our God has done? He has taken His bank account, His investment, and that into which He has placed everything and put it to death! He invested everything into His Son and then He put Him to death! Why would He do such a thing? So that the balances could be reconciled!
But He did this in a way that no one expected. He did not increase the balance of your bank account. He did not add money to that old account to make it match His. Instead, He deleted your account altogether! Your account was hopeless. Your account was beyond repair.
He deleted your account and then placed you into His account!
He reconciled you to God by bringing you into God. You no longer have your own account so quit trying to measure up! You now have a "joint account" with the God of the universe! (Romans 8:17) You are Joint-Heirs with Christ!
The Fullness of Christ
Now, do you remember all that God the Father placed into His Son? Do you remember all that He invested into this bank account?
The image of God
The firstborn of all creation
All things in creation (visible and invisible)
The Headship of the Body
The Preeminence over all things
The firstborn over the New Creation
The Fullness of the Triune God
All of these things have been placed into Christ. Are you still wondering what you have in Him? Are you still wondering what things you possess?
Then Paul goes and makes this one incredible statement that blows us all away.
"And He subjected all things under His feet and gave Him to be Head over all things to the church, which is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all." Eph. 1:22, 23
Do you see what happened there? God put all things into Christ. He subjected all things under His feet. Then He gives all those things to the church! Then the church becomes the fullness of Christ. This Christ, who fills all things with Himself! She, the church, the body, is the fullness of Christ. Think about that. The more literal translation of the word "fullness" is actually "completion." The church is the completion of Christ! We make Him complete because we are His body.
Dear reader, the full bank account of the Father lives inside of you. Everything that He is and everything that He has done is living in you. Not only that, but you live only inside of Him (Col. 3:3). This means that you now possess a "joint-account" with Christ. All things are yours because all things are His. There is no need to ever be depressed or fearful again! You own the unfathomable riches of Christ!