This portion of Pastor C.R. Stam’s commentary on Colossians is very relevant to the study that we are continuing in Colossians, as well as the recent response to criticism that I recently posted.
Do We Belittle Christ
by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
Again, as with the crucifixion and resurrection, the Old Testament presents Christ, the Son of God, only in veiled phraseology and in types. The Trinity is only hinted at. This is one reason why the Jew insists there is but one God and that He did not, and will not, have a Son. True, Psalm 40:7 says: “In the volume of the book it is written of Me” but, again, who is the “ME”? We do not find out until some time after the Son of God has appeared incarnate.
The glory of His person is not revealed even in His ministry on earth, for from birth to death He suffers humiliation. The stable, the swaddling bands, the weariness, hunger, and thirst. He has no place to lay His head, the multitudes throng Him, the leaders plot against Him, Martha rebukes Him, Peter denies Him, Judas betrays Him. His Deity is veiled by His humanity, His glory is buried under poverty and shame.
After His baptism by water He spoke of another baptism; that of the Cross:
“But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how I am straitened till it be accomplished” (Luke 12:50).
Thank God we know Him no longer after the flesh (II Cor. 5:16) for, as one has said, how could a Christ in straitened circumstances mean so much to us as the Lord of glory, dispensing the riches of His grace and the merits of Calvary?
Even in resurrection His glory was still veiled, else His disciples could not have beheld Him. Probably the greatest display of His glory, while on earth, took place at the transfiguration when, appearing with Moses and Elias, His face shone as the sun and His raiment was white as the light. Yet Peter could say: “Lord it is good for us to be here…, let us make here three tabernacles; one for Thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias” (Matt. 17:4).
Compare this with that light above the brightness of the noonday sun, which blinded Paul as the glorified Lord appeared to him (Acts 26:13–16).
Once more it is Paul—and no one until Paul—who says:
“Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we Him no more” (II Cor. 5:16).
In his letter to the Colossians alone he presents Christ in His glory as all the other Bible writers together do not present it.
There he presents Chriat as the Head of all creation—not the material creation alone but also things “visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him” (Col. 1:15, 16).
There he presents Him also as the Sustainer of all, for “by Him all things consist [cling together]” (1:17).
There he presents Him as the Head of the Body and the Master of death (1:18).
There he declares that in all things Christ must have the preeminence and that “it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell,” that He should be the Fount of every blessing, the Source of all supply (1:18,19).
There he presents Christ as the sole Medium of reconciliation to God (1:20) and unfolds “the riches of the glory of this Mystery among the Gentiles, which is CHRIST IN YOU [GENTILES], THE HOPE OF GLORY” (1:27).
There he shows Him as the One “in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (2:3), as the One in whom dwells “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily,” and in whom the believer stands gloriously “complete” (2:9,10).
Little wonder he warns us lest any man “rob” us, “judge” us, or “beguile” us (Col. 2:8, 16, 18) of the appropriation and enjoyment of our position and blessings in Christ.
And we have but begun with the Colossian Epistle. Delve more deeply into all the chapters and then read all that Paul says in his other great epistles as to the glory of Christ, and see if we belittle Christ by insisting upon the distinctive character of Paul’s apostleship.
To those who foolishly suppose that the words of Christ are found only in the so-called Gospel records and that the so-called Great Commission contains His last words, we say: look again and learn that His most important words were spoken from Heaven to and through the Apostle Paul.
It is with regard to his First Epistle to Timothy that the Apostle says by inspiration:
“If any man teach OTHERWISE, and consent not to wholesome words, EVEN THE WORDS OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST….He is proud, knowing nothing” (I Tim. 6:3,4).
And in even sterner tine the apostle speaks to the Corinthians:
“if I come again, I will not spare:
“Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me” (II Cor. 13:2,3).
No, we do not belittle our blessed Lord by recognizing the distinctive character of Paul’s ministry, but we do belittle Him by failing to recognize it, since Paul was the chosen vessel to and through whom His heavenly glory is revealed. And if we turn a deaf ear to his words we shall have to give account to Him who instructed Paul to say:
“I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Rom. 11:13).
Perhaps our brethren who have been minimizing Paul’s office and the glorious truths he was sent to proclaim, will yet reconsider their position and join us in preaching the Lord Jesus Christ “according to the revelation of the Mystery.” God grant it!
Stam, C. R. (2002). Chapter 3. In Commentary on Colossians (pp. 69-72). Stevens Point, WI: Worzalla Publishing Company.