"What is thy Beloved more than another beloved?" is a question asked in the Song of Solomon. What say you, dear fellow-believer, to this question? It is an important one, for in the answer to it lies the true reason of the Christian’s confidence and hope. The Apostle Paul would doubtless have replied in some such words as he wrote to the saints at Colosse, in the verses we have just read. In one way the epistle to the Colossians is greater than the epistle to the Ephesians, for while in the latter the wonderful workmanship and structure of the church, the body of Christ, is described, in Colossians the glories of the Head are predominant; and it is the greatness of Christ the Head which fills the body, this being formed for the display of His pre-eminence.
The Word of God reveals various titles and honors that belong to our Lord, and these may be likened to the cutting of a beautiful diamond with its numerous facets. The skill of the diamond cutter has been exercised so that the beauty of the stone may be admired. Every name, every title of Christ is like a fresh angle upon the diamond, designed to bring out His inherent beauties, that we may view them in the light of God, whose delight they are. Some of these are gathered up in the chapter before us.
In verse 13 He is spoken of as "God’s dear Son," or more expressively "the Son of His love"; this I will venture to call
THE GLORY OF RELATIONSHIP
We have been translated into His kingdom, but for the moment let us leave aside the consideration of this blessing, and gaze at the glory of God’s beloved. Its resplendence sets Him far, far above all those whom men may call beloved; none can compare with Him in this respect, He is the Son. In the past ages of eternity He dwelt in that holy, blessed relationship.
His eternal place was in the bosom of the Father, knowing all the secret purposes of love, knowing all the depths of the Divine counsels, all the good pleasure of God’s will. It is in that character the Son has come forth to make the Father known, and the disciple who pillowed his head on the bosom of his Master, has said, "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." We beheld it, said John; we discerned it, when others saw no beauty, that they should desire Him. We saw His glory as the beloved Son, the One indeed in whom all the Divine counsels found their center, for whom every thought of God had its purpose, which ranged forward into an eternity as limitless as the eternity in which He had ever lived in the Father’s love.
But pass on to verse14 and behold the glory that He, the Beloved of the Father, has won, its brilliance heightened by contrast with that which we have been considering. It is
THE GLORY OF REDEMPTION
Think of all that Christ was to God, and then turn your thoughts to the darkness and woe of Golgotha. Think of the eternal glories of the Son, and then of His precious blood shed that we might live. We may well be amazed at the journey that brought Him ever downward, until He could go no further, for there was no further to go, He had reached the bottom. There indeed was the love of God told out in the depths, in all its magnificent extent. Never will the realms of glory, the breath and length and depth and height of the vast universe of bliss, express the love of God, like the cross of or Lord Jesus Christ. There was a glory that was set before Him in the past eternity, and He won it by the blood of His cross, won it in shame and dishonor, in darkness and death. Alas, that today so many are disposed to slight the cross, but to do so it to take the fairest gem from His crown, to hush the chorus of eternity, to silence the song of the redeemed. Hark, as it bursts forth, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us in His own blood." When the saints surround Him in glory, the first note that reaches His ear will be in praise of His redeeming love.
But the glory of redemption far exceeds our needs, for it involves the whole question of sin as it affects the nature and majesty of God. When our Lord was about to leave the supper table for the garden of Gethsemane, we hear Him saying, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him." Pause a moment; do you understand His words? What is glory? Perhaps the simplest definition of it is, the shining, or showing forth of excellence. Take all the excellence of whatever you please, and display it, that is its glory. Hidden in the rosebud is the scent and color of the flower, but when it opens in the sunshine, then is displayed the glory of the rose and its excellent fragrance is manifest. So was the excellence of God hidden, until the glory of redemption was won after such a fashion, that all the attributes of God, His love, holiness, truth, majesty, judgment, the rights of His throne, were perfectly displayed, without any contradiction between them. I venture to say that this alone makes our Beloved excel every other. All man’s schemes of salvation are based upon the contradiction of the attributes of God. They set His justice against His love, His mercy against His holiness. But not so when the Son of God won the glory of redemption, for then every quality that is in God was shown forth in absolute and perfect balance.
In verses 15-17 Christ is seen as "the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature." To him belongs
THE GLORY OF CREATION
The title "first-born" does not mean in any wise the first who was born, but that He is pre-eminent in excellency of dignity and power. For because by Him all things visible and invisible were created, the first place must belong to Him in the sphere He has formed. The importance of this is that among the intelligent beings that fill this creation, He, the image of the infinite unseen, makes God known, and this is the great end for which He holds it together. Verse 16 should read, "In Him were all things created," then "all things were created by him," and lastly, they were created "for Him." He did it by Himself; creation is the work of the Son. He did if for His own pleasure and purpose, and in doing it, He did it in Himself, that is, He put His own stamp and character upon it. As an artist leaves upon his work the evidence of his own individuality so that it is at once recognized as his, so creation bears witness of its Creator, the Son of God. Men have not eyes to see it now, but when the day of display comes, every whit of it will utter glory, as Psalm 148 clearly show.
Yet another glory rises before our gaze in verse 19 -
THE GLORY OF REVELATION
It pleased the Godhead, that all the fullness should dwell in Him; this is an assertion of His absolute deity, but also of revelation, for compared with at similar verse in chapter 2:9, we see that the fullness dwells in Him bodily.
None but One who is God could reveal God, and abiding in flesh here on earth, in mercy, in compassion, in suffering, as He laid His hand upon the leper, as He unstopped the deaf ears and opened the blind eyes, the Son of God has expressed by word and deed the very heart of God. The light of what God is like shone for every man. Alas, those men should have seen and hated both the Son and the Father!
But He is also, verse 18, "the first-born from the dead," and in this title we see
THE GLORY OF RESURRECTION
Surely the most wonderful victory ever achieved was when the Prince of life, the Son of the living God, shattered the forces of death, led captivity captive, and tore the scepter of the domain of death from the grasp of him who had so long possessed it, and today He stands in the glory of risen life, with the keys of Hades and death in His pierced hand. The absolute authority in the realm of death belongs to Christ. None enter that domain but at His word, and when He pleases. He can take out of it whom He will.
Then, lastly, we are brought to the top stone, verses 20-22 -
THE GLORY OF RECONCILIATION
The Godhead is working through the Son, in order to reconcile all things to itself. The great day for that has yet to dawn, when sin will be banished for ever from the universe of God, never again to dishonor His name throughout the history of eternity. God will be all in all, and the Lamb of God will have the glory of accomplishing it. Meanwhile the power of it in evidence, in those already reconciled in the body of His flesh, through death, already joying in God, having received the reconciliation (Romans 5:11).
What was it that brought your soul into harmony with God? Was it not this, that like the man who was born blind, your eyes were opened to see the Son of God as the sent One of the Father? In this lies the secret of rejoicing in the Lord always, in this the power of eternal life, and by this great fact Christ will accomplish the reconciling al all things. For He is Head of His body, the church, and through His church He is going to reap the answer to His request of John 17:23, "I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one, that the world may know that Thou has sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me." The glory of God that shines forth from the city, the bride, the Lamb’s wife, is the witness that the Father sent the Son. The universe will see it, the world will behold it, the nations will walk in the light of it, the kings will bring their honor to it, and heaven’s hallelujahs will resound in praise of the marvel of marvels that in the fullness of Divine love, "the Father sent the Son."
Blessed results must follow for those in whose hearts these glories of the Lord are enshrined. There will be the filling with the knowledge of God’s will (v. 9); then fruit will be produced in the daily walk, and growth in the knowledge of God (v. 10); then in connection with the glorious power of the Head, there will follow strengthening unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness (v. 11); and lastly, worship will rise to the Father who has called and fitted us for such an inheritance (v. 12).
Is the question answered for you, "What is thy Beloved more than another beloved?" Have you learned to know Him in these glories? If so, His name to you is above every name, He is the chiefest among ten thousand, yea, He is altogether lovely.