The Superlative Role of Christ Jesus in God’s Purposes
TO FIRST-CENTURY Christians in Corinth, Greece, the inspired apostle Paul wrote: “For no matter how many the promises of God are, they have become Yes by means of him [Christ Jesus]. Therefore also through him is the ‘Amen’ said to God.”—2 Cor. 1:20.
How is it that all of God’s promises become “Yes” by Christ Jesus and that “through him is the ‘Amen’ said to God”? The answer to these questions helps us to appreciate the vital place that Christ Jesus fills in God’s exercise of his sovereignty.
Jehovah God saw fit to make his firstborn Son the central or key figure in the outworking of all His purposes. All of God’s promises recorded in the Sacred Scriptures become “Yes” through Christ Jesus because it is by means of him—by what he was as a person and by what he did—that all these promises find fulfillment. Romans 15:8 tells us that, to the nation of Israel, “Christ actually became a minister . . . in behalf of God’s truthfulness, so as to verify the promises He [God] made to their forefathers.” By means of his Son, God has cleared away any possible cause for doubt, uncertainty or ambiguity in the minds of those serving Him and putting hope in His promises.
THE “AMEN” SAID TO GOD
This was true not only of the promises and prophecies Jesus fulfilled during his lifetime as a human. He also assured the fulfillment of God’s promises of all future blessings as well. Why was it that Jesus was able to fill such a key role in matters? Why was it that what he did during his earthly lifetime was of such critical importance? It was because this provided the legal basis for Jehovah God to carry out those promises and bring the promised blessings. Jehovah God, being a God of holiness, justice and righteousness, arranged for his Son to provide this legal basis through his laying down his human life as a ransom for sinful humans. This supplied the needed factor for God’s having dealings with imperfect humans and for canceling their sins on a righteous basis. (Compare Romans 3:23-26.) That means that the restoration of righteous conditions on earth in a new order, the resurrection of the dead, the removal of sin and imperfection and the bringing about of human perfection, health and everlasting life are all possible because of what Jesus did while on earth.
It is because of this also that “through him [Christ Jesus] is the ‘Amen’ said to God.” The word “amen” means “surely,” “truly,” “truth.” The person using this word thereby declares the certainty of what has been said (or is going to be said) and shows that he subscribes to and supports wholeheartedly its truthfulness. Jesus Christ is himself called the “Amen . . . the faithful and true witness.” (Rev. 3:14) It is by him that God has given us the verification and guarantee that all His promises are true and bound to be fulfilled. Thus, because of Jesus’ person and work there is real force to the “Amen” we say to God at the close of our prayers—prayers that are made ‘in Jesus’ name.’—1 Cor. 14:16; John 14:13, 14.
Yes, it is good for us to ask ourselves: What if God’s Son had not come to earth to be born as a perfect human, had not served as the “faithful and true witness” concerning God’s purposes, and had failed to maintain his integrity to God in the face of Satan’s attacks, dying a sacrificial death on the torture stake? Without him how much would our “Amen” at the close of our prayers mean? How much confidence would we have in our own relationship and standing with God and in our approach to Him if it were not for the ransom sacrifice that Christ Jesus provided, by means of which our sins are forgiven? How great could our hope of life everlasting in a righteous new order be if it were not for God’s having “furnished a guarantee to all men in that he has resurrected him [Christ Jesus] from the dead”?—Acts 17:31.
ALL FULLNESS DWELLS IN HIM—HOW?
What an ideal choice God made in selecting this firstborn Son of his! When the life of that Son was transferred to earth so that he could be conceived and brought forth as a perfect human, he already had an unequaled record of service to God evidently stretching back over millions of years. For he had been with his Father from the beginning of creation, being himself the “firstborn of all creation.” (Col. 1:15; John 1:1, 2) Through him every other creation—angelic creatures, starry heavens, sun, moon, planet Earth, seas, land, trees, plants, flowers, marine creatures, birds, land animals and man himself—was made. As Paul writes: “He is before all other things and by means of him all other things were made to exist . . . He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that he might become the one who is first in all things; because God saw good for all fullness to dwell in him, and through him to reconcile again to himself all other things by making peace through the blood he shed on the torture stake, no matter whether they are the things upon the earth or the things in the heavens.” (Col. 1:16-20) How is it that “God saw good for all fullness to dwell” in Christ Jesus? What is this “fullness” found in God’s Son?
The apostle himself clarifies the matter in saying later, “it is in him that all the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily.” (Col. 2:9) The apostle John, too, contributes to our understanding when writing that “the Word [Jesus in his prehuman state] became flesh and resided among us, and we had a view of his glory, a glory such as belongs to an only-begotten son from a father; and he was full of undeserved kindness and truth. For we all received from out of his fullness, even undeserved kindness upon undeserved kindness. Because the Law was given through Moses, the undeserved kindness and the truth came to be through Jesus Christ.”—John 1:14, 16, 17.
Yes, Jesus was so filled with the knowledge and the divine qualities of his Father, as well as so full of the fruitage of God’s spirit, that he could say that “he that has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:9) But not only this. By making Jesus the means by which all His purposes are realized, the one in whom all the prophecies find their true meaning and significance, God has caused to be “carefully concealed in him . . . all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” (Col. 2:2, 3) Without learning all that God’s Word tells about this Son, we can never come to a full understanding of the Scriptures and their prophecies, of God’s will and purpose.
It is through Jesus that God’s promises took on definite form and substance; by his life course Jesus Christ was used to cause these promises to be, not just words, but reality. So truly “the fullness of the divine quality dwells bodily” in him. He was more than a symbol or type foreshadowing something eventually to come. He was not a shadow Messiah but the real thing. He was no shadow high priest. He was, in substance and fact, the true one prefigured. As the apostle says of the provisions of the Law covenant given through Moses, “those things are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality belongs to the Christ.” (Col. 2:16, 17) Yes, ‘all fullness dwells in him’ also in that God has granted to his Son full power to carry through the divine purpose to completion. The resurrected Christ Jesus therefore could tell his disciples: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” (Matt. 28:18) He is made “the head of all government and authority” to rule as King in God’s new order of righteousness. (Col. 2:10) He is God’s “Chief Agent of life,” whose administration of the life benefits of his ransom sacrifice is the only God-provided way for any of us to gain life everlasting.—Acts 3:15.
Because of this vital role that Christ Jesus plays in God’s purpose, how true and free from exaggeration was his statement: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”! (John 14:6) Have you learned all you can about God’s Son? Are you seeking now to avail yourself of the benefits his vital role can bring you? Do you give him the honor due him by submitting fully and willingly to his headship in your daily life? Do you rest all your hopes for the future on God’s provision through him as the Chief Agent of life? Do so now and receive “out of his fullness, even undeserved kindness upon undeserved kindness” from Jehovah God, the Father of Christ Jesus.—John 1:16.