TO what heights of spiritual understanding are we conducted as we read Paul's rare unfolding to the saints at Colosse! Never had words set forth a clearer conception of God's purpose, or a deeper knowledge of the glories of Christ, both in retrospect and prospect.
But first of all he sounds a note of joyous thanks for our introduction into that wondrous kingdom wherein we see with unclouded eye. Aforetime, when estranged from God, and in the thrall of the authority of darkness, vague indeed was our vision, and many the false lights which lured. But when the Father, the One-making-enough, lifts us from our darkened state, ah, then, what deliverance is ours!
And how great the contrast. "Out of the authority of darkness...into the kingdom of the Son of His love." Now indeed, is there clarity of vision. And what thought associations in the contemplation of Christ! He is revealed in a greatness undisclosed till now. Think of it. Capture again the deep joyousness and appreciation which may have come to you when first you drank in the glory of such an unfolding. For, not only is creation through Him, but for Him.
Every beat and throb of creation's existence presages the time when it shall be altogether for Him. No part shall be for another. He is Heir of all. We look back, and see that, in the form of God, His voice was heard in Eden's bowers. As the visible and audible Elohim of old, His form and His voice were eagerly welcomed in its glades. And, though estrangement came, the grace of Elohim was such that He appeared again and again to the children of men. For were they not made in the likeness of Him Who Himself was the Image of God?
As the One Who creates, and is able to make anew, He appears to Abraham and Jacob, giving to each a name, and also a promise of precious import. At the burning bush, as the great I Am, He gives to Moses His memorable charge. Isaiah, too, sees His glory as the Effulgence, even as Jehovah, and presents Him as "the Holy One of Israel, the mighty One of Jacob". And Jeremiah sets Him forth as "the Hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble."
What wonderful thoughts inhere in such a retrospect! How great a Saviour was, and is, and shall be, the Ancient of days, the Daysman of Job's thought and vision, and the Sun of righteousness Who yet shall come with mighty, healing power.
Could Israel in their time of grace, have known Him thus, what light their oracles had revealed! How they testified of Him! He was the life of the lifted serpent, the water of the smitten rock, the sweetness of the falling manna, column of cloud, delivering angel, and enshrined presence of the sanctuary. And the faithful of old knew Him thus.
In what wondrous measure, then, should we know Him, who have the completed word of His grace and power! But language fails to voice to the full, the glory which was His before the orbs of space took form and course.
Each sped to its point in the boundless expanse,
And caught their first light from the light of His glance,
His power, in one moment, fixed each in its spot--
One moment remitted, they sink and are not.
How wonderful it all is! And to think that He Who is "carrying on the universe by His powerful declaration," should leave His high place for this lowly plane. Yet, insignificant as is our earth in God's great space, it was chosen as the scene for the most effective deed creation could know. The glorious Firstborn took human flesh and form. And in that form, with all the sensitiveness of spirit that only one so pure could know, He died. And He died "making peace through the blood of His cross."
He died for all. And, to bring us to God. Just that, but what a floodtide of grace ensuing from such a deed, the Father sends forth! And though now, in the rich interlude of such grace, comparatively few realize the blessedness of its lifting power, yet the time is coming when the whole of creation will avow its potent touch.
The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world's joy. The lonely pine on the mountain side cries, "Thou art my sun!" The violet lifts its cup and whispers with its perfumed breath, "Thou art my light!" And the grain in a thousand fields rustles in the wind and makes answer, "Thou art my warmth!"
And in that day when beings of every plane of life are conscious of the spirit-quickening sway of Christ, the ascendant thought and voice will be, "Thou art my God!" And for the great reason that "the universe is for Him."
The vast reaches of creation, as fashioned and refashioned by Him, are for Him. In the perfect form and state to which He Himself brings them, they are the true and fitting guerdon for the travail which He bore. The crucial and resolving point which assures all this, is the "peacemaking through the blood of the pale." And the preciousness of that blood is only rightly assessed as it is seen to affect all.
Here and now, the apprehension of its virtue for salvation, is by faith, and as of those who are not perceiving and believe. But then, in the long lengthened reign of Christ, even in God's rare and most blessed day, a wondrous eye- anointing perception will be experienced by all. They will see the marks of His dying in the glorified form of the Son of God. And before their eyes, it may be, will pass those who aforetime testified to the cleansing power of the blood, and to the grace of the Father glorious. For was it not, "by His body of flesh, through His death," they were reconciled.
It was even so. And "through His death," the decease accomplished at despised Golgotha, there lies the power and possibility of full reconciliation. A worthy servant of God glimpsed this nearly eighty years ago, as, in dwelling on the death of Christ, he used these words: "In it stood and by it was to be sealed, the immortality of the faithful before the flood, and it may be, the immortality of angels, of myriads of unfallen creatures, of all the intelligent populations that may be gathered together in unknown worlds. We tremble to place a limit to the blood of the cross, to its necessity, to its reach, to its actuating and pervading influence on all the moral arrangements of heaven."
A great unfolding indeed. An impressive past, an unclouded future, and a living present. And every epoch touched by some grace, some glory of their sovereign Lord! And for us whom "He now reconciles by His body of flesh, through His death," there is to be a holy, flawless, and unimpeachable life in His sight.
Whiteness most white. And some day bliss for bane,
For mortal frailty, immortal might;
Transcendent grace for guilt and every stain--
Whiteness most white.