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Self-government


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Jerald Finney
Copyright © December 26, 2017


Self-government or individual government was the first government ordained by God and is simply control or direction over oneself.

On the sixth day, God created man in His own image, “male and female created he them.”[1]  After creating the man, God created woman out of one of Adam’s ribs to be an “help meet” for him.[2]  God brought the woman to Adam and marriage was instituted: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”[3]

After creating them, God blessed them and told them to “be fruitful and multiply, and replenish” and subdue the earth. He gave them dominion over all living things. He put them in the garden of Eden to “dress it and keep it.” And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”[4]

Thus, God, , made a covenant with man and woman, the first of eight great covenants of Scripture which condition life and salvation, and about which all scripture crystallizes.[5] The covenant God made with them has seven elements. The man and woman in Eden were responsible:

  1. To replenish the earth with a new order—man;
  2. to subdue the earth to human uses;
  3. to have dominion over the animal creation;
  4. to eat herbs and fruits;
  5. to till and keep the garden;
  6. to abstain from eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil;
  7. the penalty—death.”

God, in the Garden of Eden, gave man an opportunity to operate under self-government, under the constraint of only one simple rule. Man failed. Man was tempted by Satan to disobey the one small rule God had laid down, and mankind failed.[6]  Satan came to woman and misquoted the Word of God: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”[7]  Eve quoted the Word of God back to Satan, but added to it: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not  eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”[8] Satan then directly challenged the Word of God: “Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”[9]

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”[10]

At that point, God judged the serpent (the devil), the woman, and the man. [11]

God gave another covenant, a covenant conditions the life of fallen man—conditions which must remain till … “the creation also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the sons of God” (Ro. 8.21). The elements of that covenant are:

  1. The serpent, Satan’s tool, is cursed (v.14), and becomes God’s illustration in nature of the effects of sin—from the most beautiful and subtle of creatures to a loathsome reptile.
  2. The first promise of a Redeemer (v.15). Here begins the “highway” that leads to Christ.
  3. The changed state of the woman (v16). In three particulars: (a) Multiplied conception; (b) motherhood linked with sorrow; (c) the headship of the man[12] (cf. Gen. 1.26, 27). The entrance of sin, which is disorder, makes necessary a headship, and it is vested in man (1 Tim. 2.11-14; Eph. 5.22-25; 1 Cor. 11.7-9).
  4. The earth cursed (v17) for man’s sake. It is better for fallen man to battle with a reluctant earth than to live without toil.
  5. The inevitable sorrow of life (v17).
  6. The light occupation of Eden (Gen. 2.15) changed to burdensome labor (vs. 18, 19).
  7. Physical death (v19; Rom. 5.12-21). See ‘Death (spiritual)’ (Gen. 2.17; Eph. 2.5, note).”

God continued to hold man individually responsible for his spiritual decisions. We see this first in the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4.

Satan is still successfully deceiving man as to God’s authority and God’s government by manifold attacks on the inerrancy of the Word of God, by the same “Yea, hath God said” strategy he used in the Garden of Eden. This course will show how he has deceived untold millions of Christians with regard to the issue of separation of church and state by misquoting and misinterpreting the Bible.

Thus man makes a choice of his own free will as to how he will respond to God. The principle of freedom of conscience or free will is found throughout the Bible.[13]

Love requires a choice. Without free will, man has no choice and God would be, by force, taking some people to heaven and some to the lake of fire at His discretion. Admittedly, one can do no work to earn his way to heaven, but faith is not a work. “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”[14]

All other governments, except God’s supreme government, are made up of individuals. God desires the individual(s) who lead(s) a church government, a family government, or a civil government to confine that government to the principles laid down by God for the administration of itself. If a civil government will point individuals, families, businesses, and other institutions to God’s principles without infringing the God-ordained limitations to its authority and the freedom of conscience of individuals to choose God, god, gods, or no god at all, that civil government will guarantee liberty and will be operating in God’s will, as will be shown.


Go to a more in-depth version of “Self-Government” by clicking here.


Endnotes

 

[1] Ge. 1.27.

[2] Ge. 2.18, 21-22.

[3] Ge. 2.23.

[4] Ge. 1.28-29; 2.15-17.

[5] Id.

[6] Ge. 3.1-13.

[7] Ge. 3.1.

[8] Ge. 3.2-3.

[9] Ge. 3.4-5.

[10] Ge. 3.6-7.

[11] Ge. 3.14-19.

[12] Ge. 1.26, 27.

[13] See, e.g., Jn. 3.16, 18 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life…. He that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.); Re. 22.17 (“And the spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”).

[14] Romans 4.5.

Lesson 2 on Colossians: Christ the Head of the Local Church

Person of Christ and Objective Work of Christ for Sinners – Colossians 1.15-23
(10 questions with answers following)
Added on  April 29, 2017

Click here to go to the “Bible Studies on the Doctrine of the Church” (Has links to all lessons)
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Answers at the end, following the questions. Those who disagree with anything please see the note at the end. Reasoned dialogue is encouraged and any Bible or fact based comments, if made in a Christian manner in an attempt to get to the truth will be considered.

This is an open book quiz meant to challenge the Bible believer – the saved person who believes the Word of God rather than the person who tries to fit particular Scriptures into a system of interpretation meant to validate one’s desired view of how things should be by philosophizing, allegorizing, or spiritualizing chosen Scriptures. The literal meaning, taken in its immediate context and within the context of all related Scripture is the basis for these studies. It is presented for the glory of God.

Colossians directs our attention to the head of the body who is Christ. The body itself is secondary. Christ is the theme. He is the center of the circle around which all Christian living revolves. Christ is the fullness of God. The dominating thought is that Christ is all I need; He is everything. He is the primary object, and the thought passes downward to the church as the body of Christ.

Colossians was written to the local church at Colosee (with the principles to be applied by all local churches and believers) to counteract the heresy of Gnosticism, the first heresy in the church. There were many forms of Gnosticism, and in Colossee there were the Essenes. There are three points of identification for this group: (1) They had an exclusive spirit. They felt that they were the people—they had knowledge in the jug and held the stopper in their hands. Thus, they felt that they were super-duper in knowledge and knew more than anyone else, including the Apostles. (2) They held speculative tenets on creation. They taught that God did not create the universe directly, but created a creature who in turn created another creature, until one finally created the physical universe. Christ was considered a creature in this long series of creations.  Paul refutes this in Colossians 1:15-19. (3) They practiced asceticism and unrestrained licentiousness. They got the asceticism from the influence of Greek Stoicism and the unrestrained licentiousness from the influence of Greek Epicureanism. Paul refutes this in Colosians 2.16, 23 and 3.5-9.

See, J. Vernon McGee, Colossians for more on this.

Colossians 1:15-19 [PERSON OF CHRIST] “15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. 19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;”

Colossians 1.20-23 [OBJECTIVE WORK OF CHRIST FOR SINNERS] “20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. 21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 22 In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 23 If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”

Questions:

PERSON OF CHRIST : COLOSSIANS 1.15-19:

  1. Paul is specifically attempting to answer one of the oldest heresies of the church, ____________. Other heresies included Arianism. Arius of Alexandria said that the Lord Jesus Christ was a creature, a __________ being. Socinus later propagated the heresy that Jesus was not God and that mankind did not need a Saviour from _____, that man is not totally ___________. This is the basis of Unitarianism and some of the ________, including Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  2. There are here ______ marks of identification given here which make Him different from and superior to any other person who has ever lived:

    (1) He is “the ________ of the invisible _____.” He (God) was born flesh. (See Jn. 1.1, 14). If He were not _____, He could not have been the image of the invisible _____.
    (2) “He is the ____________ of every __________.” This reveals His relationship to the Father and His position in the Trinity. His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Mic. 5.2). The child (Jesus) was born, but the son is given (Is. 9.6). Paul is destroying one of the ______________ of that day—that God created a creature, then that creature created a creature, etc.; until finally a creature created this universe. Paul is answering that and saying that Jesus Christ is the firstborn of all ____________; He is back of all ___________. The Greek word is prōtotokos meaning before all creation (See Jn. 1.1-3). God the Father is the ______________ God the son is the _____________ son. The Lord Jesus is called the ____________ from the dead (Col. 1.18). This is what the psalmist spoke of in Psalm 2.7 and explained by Paul in his sermon at Antioch of Pisidia (See Ac. 13.32, 33). Christ ___________ all things. Other verses that make clear that Christ was not a mere creature include Hebrews 1.3 (the second person of the Godhead); Hebrews 1.7, 8 (Speaking of Jesus: “Thy throne, O _____ is for ever and ever….”); Matthew 16.16 and Luke 1.35 (He is the _________, the Son of the living God).
    (3) “By him were all things __________” (verse 16). Thus, he was the one who did the ___________. There are two kinds of creation, the __________ and the ____________. Paul mentions different graduations of rank in spiritual intelligences: __________, ____________, _________________, ________. Our spiritual enemies, Satan and his followers, have different gradations of rank.
    (4) All things were created “for _____.” This all shows that this is _____’s universe. And we are ______________ with the Lord Jesus Christ!
    (5) “He is before all things.” All _________ dwells in the preincarnate and the incarnate _________ (Col.2.9).
    (6) “By him all things consist.” He holds everything together. He maintains and directs __________. He is the Elmer’s Glue of the ___________. See also, He. 1.3.
    (7) “He is the head of the body, the church.” In Ephesians, the emphasis was on the fact that a church is a _______________ _______. In Colossians, the emphasis is on the _______ of the body, the person of the _______ _________ ____. In Philippians we see a church with feet, walking through the world—we see the experience of a church, of a believer. “The firstborn of from the dead.” When a saved loved one dies, the _______ is put to sleep, but the _______________ has gone to be with the Lord. The body, sown in _______________, will be raised in __________________ (1 Co. 15.42) on the basis of His _______________. We shall be as He is (1 Jn. 3.2).
    (8) “That is all things He might have the preeminence.” God is moving toward one goal—to put _________ on the throne of this world which is today in rebellion against _____. He will achieve that goal (See, e.g., Ps. 2.6).
    (9) “It pleased the Father that in him should all the fullness dwell.” In Philippians, Christ __________ Himself of His glory, not his ________, and became a __________. Here, we see that Jesus was _____% God.
  3. Another way to outline Colossians 1.14 -20 would be:

    (1) Christ’s relationship to the __________—verse 15
    (2) Christ’s relationship to __________—verses 16, 17
    (3) Christ’s relationship to the __________—verses 18, 19
    (4) Christ’s relationship to ________—verse 20

    OBJECTIVE WORK OF CHRIST FOR SINNERS: COLOSSIANS 1.20-23:
  4. “Having made peace through the blood of his cross” means that by His paying the penalty on the cross for your _____ and my _____, peace has been made between God and the __________. “Therefore being justified by ________, we have ________ with God through our _______ __________ __________” (Ro.5.1).
  5. “By him to reconcile all things unto himself.” Reconciliation is toward _____; redemption is toward _____. 2 Co. 5.28-20: “18 And all things are of God, who hath _______________ us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of _________________; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, _______________ the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of ____________________. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye _______________ to God.” God is _______________. He is asking man to be _______________ to Him.

    “Reconcile all things.” The “all things” is limited to all things that are to be _______________, those which are appointed to __________________.
  6. “Whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Notice that Paul does not mention things _________ the earth as he did in Phil. 2.10. The things _________ the earth are not reconciled to Him at all. Notice that __________ must also be reconciled.
  7. (See v. 21) God reconciled us to Himself when

    a. our good works outweighed our bad works
    b. we were in rebellion against God
    c. we were baptized and started going to church
    d. we were doing wicked works
    e. a and c
    f. b and d
  8. “”The body of his flesh.” Christ suffered in a real ______.
  9. “To present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” _______________ means without blemish. _______________ means unaccusable or unchargeable. He is able to present us unblameable because:

    a. we are righteous.
    b. He took our place.
    c. we do good works.
    d. we have good character.

    Explain your answer. Sample explanation given in answer below.
  10. If you are a _______ of God today, you will ___________ in the faith grounded and settled. The “if” in verse 23 is the “if” of argument. It means that something was if something else is true. Paul’s point is that we have been ______________—it is an accomplished ______.

Answers

PERSON OF CHRIST: COLOSSIANS 1.15-19:

  1. Paul is specifically attempting to answer one of the oldest heresies of the church, Gnosticism. Other heresies included Arianism. Arius of Alexandria said that the Lord Jesus Christ was a creature, a created being. Socinus later propagated the heresy that Jesus was not God and that mankind did not need a Saviour from sin, that man is not totally depraved. This is the basis of Unitarianism and some of the cults, including Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  2. There are here nine marks of identification given here which make Him different from and superior to any other person who has ever lived:

    (1) He is “the image of the invisible God.” He (God) was born flesh. (See Jn. 1.1, 14). If He were not God, He could not have been the image of the invisible God.
    (2) “He is the firstborn of every creature.” This reveals His relationship to the Father and His position in the Trinity. His “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5.2). The child (Jesus) was born, but the son is given (Isaiah 9.6). Paul is destroying one of the philosophies of that day—that God created a creature, then that creature created a creature, etc.; until finally a creature created this universe. Paul is answering that and saying that Jesus Christ is the firstborn of all creation; He is back of all creation. The Greek word is prōtotokos meaning before all creation. See John 1.1-3. God the Father is the everlasting God the son is the everlasting son. The Lord Jesus is called the firstborn from the dead (Col. 1.18). This is what the psalmist spoke of in Psalm 2.7 and explained by Paul in his sermon at Antioch of Pisidia (See Ac. 13.32, 33). Christ created all things. Other verses that make clear that Christ was not a mere creature include Hebrews 1.3 (the second person of the Godhead); Hebrews 1.7, 8 (Speaking of Jesus: “Thy throne, O God is for ever and ever….”); Matthew 16.16 and Luke 1.35 (He is the Christ, the Son of the living God).
    (3) “By him were all things created” (verse 16). Thus, he was the one who did the creating. There are two kinds of creation, the visible and the invisible. Paul mentions different graduations of rank in spiritual intelligences: thrones, dominions, principalities, powers. Our spiritual enemies, Satan and his followers, have different gradations of rank.
    (4) All things were created “for Him.” This all shows that this is God’s universe. And we are jointheirs with the Lord Jesus Christ!
    (5) “He is before all things.” All fullness dwells in the preincarnate and the incarnate Christ (Col.2.9).
    (6) “By him all things consist.” He holds everything together. He maintains and directs creation. He is the Elmer’s Glue of the universe. See also, He. 1.3.
    (7) “He is the head of the body, the church.” In Ephesians, the emphasis was on the fact that a church is a spiritual body. In Colossians, the emphasis is on the head of the body, the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. In Philippians we see a church with feet, walking through the world—we see the experience of a church, of a believer. “The firstborn of from the dead.” When a saved loved one dies, the body is put to sleep, but the individual has gone to be with the Lord. The body, sown in corruption, will be raised in incorruption (1 Co. 15.42) on the basis of His resurrection. We shall be as He is (1 Jn. 3.2).
    (8) “That is all things He might have the preeminence.” God is moving toward one goal—to put Jesus on the throne of this world which is today in rebellion against God. He will achieve that goal (See, e.g., Ps. 2.6).
    (9) “It pleased the Father that in him should all the fullness dwell.” In Philippians, Christ emptied Himself of His glory, not his diety, and became a servant. Here, we see that Jesus was 100% God.
  3. Another way to outline Colossians 1.14 -20 would be:

    (1) Christ’s relationship to the Father—verse 15
    (2) Christ’s relationship to creation—verses 16, 17
    (3) Christ’s relationship to the church—verses 18, 19
    (4) Christ’s relationship to the cross—verse 20

OBJECTIVE WORK OF CHRIST FOR SINNERS: COLOSSIANS 1.20-23:

  1. “Having made peace through the blood of his cross” means that by His paying the penalty on the cross for your sin and my sin, peace has been made between God and the sinner. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ro.5.1).
  2. “By him to reconcile all things unto himself.” Reconciliation is toward man; redemption is toward God. 2 Co. 5.28-20: “18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” God is reconciled. He is asking man to be reconciled to Him.

    “Reconcile all things.” The “all things” is limited to all things that are to be reconciled, those which are appointed to reconciliation.
  3. “Whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” Notice that Paul does not mention things under the earth as he did in Phil. 2.10. The things under the earth are not reconciled to Him at all. Notice that heaven must also be reconciled.
  4. (See v. 21) God reconciled us to Himself when

    b (we were in rebellion against God) and d (we were doing wicked works)
  5. “”The body of his flesh.” Christ suffered in a real body.
  6. “To present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” Unblameable means without blemish. Unreproveable means unaccusable or unchargeable. He is able to present us unblameable because:

    He took our place.

    Sample explanation: 2 Co. 5.21: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
  7. If you are a child of God today, you will continue in the faith grounded and settled. The “if” in verse 23 is the “if” of argument. It means that something was if something else is true. Paul’s point is that we have been reconciled—it is an accomplished fact.

Should you disagree with an answer given, please explain why you disagree in the comment section below the article. All reasoned comments will be published, perhaps with reply. The purpose of this website is the Glory of God. God cannot be glorified by shutting out honest disagreement in the search for truth. The author would be interested in your explanation. The comments are required by the website to be approved or disapproved. The author is very busy with many matters and may or may not immediately notice your comment. He will address it as soon as he notices it. He almost always approves comments presented with a godly spirit. He never alters comments. Sometimes, he replies to comments.