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Ponder and Praise

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“Christ is the head of the church” (Eph 5:23). The Lord Jesus is Head of the Body—such is His relationship to the Church; and how is He head of the Body? Not because He is the firstborn of all creation simply, nay, not because He is Creator of all, nor His headship of all creation as the “Heir of all things” (Heb 1:2) would in themselves give a sufficient title to be the Head of the Body.

The distinctive character is that He is “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead”—not merely the firstborn of, but the firstborn out of. He is the firstborn from among the dead (never to die again—NC), as well as the Head and firstborn Heir of all subsisting creation. Thus it is that He rises into a new condition, leaving behind that which has fallen under vanity or death through its sinning chief, the first Adam.

The Lord Jesus has annulled the power of him that had the power of death (being the first introducer of sin - Jhn 8:44; Heb 2:14)—that word so terrible for the heart of man, and most surely foreign to the mind and heart of our Father, but a stern necessity that came in through rebellion. Where sin brought man, grace brought the Lord Jesus. The glory of His person enabled Him in grace and obedience to go down into depths never before fathomed; and out of the whole scene, not of a rejecting guilty world only, but of the realm of death (and such a death) the Lord Jesus emerged.

Now, He is risen from the dead, the beginning of a new order of existence altogether; and as the Head, so the Church is His Body—founded, indeed, on the Lord Jesus, but on Him dead and risen. As such—not born merely, risen from the dead—He is the beginning. All question, therefore, of what existed before His death and resurrection is at once excluded. He who believes this would understand that it was still an unrevealed secret during the Old Testament times.

The OT dealings of God were not only not on the principle of a body on earth (Body, Church, heavenly not earthly—NC) united to a glorified Head, once dead and risen, but incompatible with such a state of things. Thus the believer knows and is sure by divine teaching that the Lord Jesus was not merely the highest of that which had been already, but the beginning of a new thing and its Head. This He was pleased to begin in resurrection from the dead.

It was in no wise the old thing, elevated by the glory of Him who had designed to descend into it, but a totally new state of things, of which the risen and ascended Lord Jesus Christ is both the Head and beginning; as it is said, “who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” “And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col 1:18; 2:10).

—Wm Kelly (1821-1906)

From MJS’ “None But the Hungry Heart” devotional:

"As you by faith in the positional facts realize that you are in the Father’s presence, you will not try to depend upon any sense of His presence. You know His presence because you know that your position in the Christian life is a life of faith in the facts—nothing else. That the Father forces you to live by faith so as to draw you into His presence—not you, by sense, trying to draw Him into yours." -M.J.S.

"We are, naturally, suspicious of any offer to make us happy in God. Because our moral sense, our natural conscience, tells us of our having lost all right even to His ordinary blessings. But in the Word of our Father, faith reads our abundant title to be near to Him and happy with Him, though natural conscience and our sense of the fitness of things would have it otherwise. Faith feeds where the moral sensibilities of the natural mind would count it presuming even to tread." -J.G.B.

"The moment we walk by sight we are outside of faith. The Father would never have us outside of faith; hence, even in answering faith, He so answers it that we need it again the next moment, even while we are enjoying the results of it." -J.B.S.
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