Christ first, Family second, Church third – Really?

Christ first, Family second, Church third – Really?

 

priorities

 

Christian, what  place does the Lord Jesus Christ have in your life? Many have given a common answer indicating the order of priority, “Christ is first” and then they add, “my family is second, and the church is third”. Now I understand what most people mean they say that, but I want to make an important point. For the Christian, Christ is to be first, second, third and so on. What do I mean by this?

In his letter to the Colossians Paul wrote, “so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything” (Col. 1:18)  or as the New King James Version translates it, “in all things He may have the pre-eminence“. Notice that the pre-eminence and priority of Christ is not limited to a single place in life, it is  seen “in everything“. The pre-eminence of Christ in everything is a reality and it is His right. Why? Because of who He is.  Much can be said concenring who the Lord Jesus Christ is, but consider one profound title, He is the Head of the Church. As the Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ is supreme. He is supreme over the church because of who He is. There are many things we could talk about here, but I will limit myself to one text. In Colossians 1:18 Paul writes, “he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything“. In addition to being referred to as the head, the Lord Jesus Christ is given two Divine designations in this text. These titles provide us with a profound description of who Jesus Christ is and affirms His supremacy.

The Beginning
The first designation in verse 18 given to Christ affirming His supremacy is, “He is the beginning.” The apostle Paul pointed out earlier in this epislte that Jesus Christ was God’s Agent in creating the world (Col. 1:16), and in this verse we see that He is God’s Agent in salvation. The church exists because of Christ, and it is only in Him does the church find life. The Father “…chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4), and it is “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7; cf. Col. 1:14). Jesus is the originator of the church. The church is in existence because of Jesus Christ. He is Supreme in the Church because He is the Beginning of the Church.

The Firstborn
The final designation given to Jesus Christ in this verse is “the firstborn from the dead.” The term “firstborn” can mean first in the sense of chronological order (Matt. 1:25; Luke 2:7), or first in the sense of rank (Psalm 88:28 LXX). But the entire context of this passage affirms the second rendering. In this passage He is called the “the firstborn from the dead” in the sense that His resurrection from the dead is superior to any other. Clearly this is not referring to Christ being the first (in a chronological sense) to be raised from the dead. The Scripture contains accounts prior to His (Luke 7:11-14; Mark 5:41-42; and John 11:43-44). Instead, this is saying that His resurrection from the dead is superior and that He is supreme over death. How? Death could not hold Him down, for He rose from the grave and continues to live. It was His resurrection that made our future resurrection possible. The purpose of His resurrection was, “so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” The purpose is His supremacy and pre-eminence.

How do we respond to this? Because the Lord Jesus Christ is the church’s head, the church is to submit to Him. This ought to be an assumed reality. In Ephesians 5 after making mention of the wife’s role in relation to her husband (Eph. 5:22), he goes on to say that Christ is the head of the church (Eph. 5:23). Then in the next verse simply states, “now as the church submits to Christ…” (Eph. 5:24). Recognizing the headship of Christ must result in the submission of the church. 

A practical question we need to ask ourselves is, knowing that Christ is the pre-eminent One, do you submit to and acknowledge the pre-eminence of Christ in all areas of your life? It is not enough to say that He is first. He must be first, second, third and so on. In other words, in every aspect of our lives He is to be pre-eminent. First in our personal life, first in our marriages, first in our family, first in our church, first in our jobs. In all things He is to have first place. When it comes to the way we relate to our family members, Christ must have the first place. When it comes to how minister and serve in the church, Christ must have the first place. When it comes to how to how we function at work, Christ must have the first place. What does this mean? Whatever we do, public or private, Christ must be our priority. This will change they way we perform tasks and relate to people.

We need to get it out of our thinking that serving Christ is limited to one area of life. Serving Him is to be done in all areas of our life. What  place does the Lord Jesus Christ have in your life?

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