God’s Form And Function

God’s Form And Function

Gary Pollard

After showing us that Jesus is our only true hope, Paul gives some information about the one who saved us. This is one of the most straightforward descriptions of God’s form and function that we have in scripture.
God the father is invisible (1.15). No human has ever seen the father (Jn 6.46). The only visible form of God visible to human eyes is Jesus. This verse uses an interesting word: εικων (eikon). This means that Jesus is the form of God that we can see; or, he’s the “body” of God. This is clarified by 1.19, “God was pleased for all of himself to live in the son.” It’s repeated in 2.9, “I say this because all of God lives in Christ fully, even in his life on earth.”
We’re all familiar with Genesis 1.1, “In the beginning God created the sky and ground.” We know from John 1.1ff that that was done through Jesus. Col 1.16 reaffirms this by saying, “Through Jesus’s power all things were made: things in space (ουρανοις) and on earth, visible and invisible — all spiritual rulers, masters, powers, and authorities. Everything was made through him and for him.”
So why does Paul describe the physical makeup of the father and son? Because of 1.20, “Through Jesus, God was happy to bring all things back to himself again — things on earth and things outside of earth. God made peace by using the blood sacrifice of his son on the cross.”
This is because we were separated from God because of our moral impurity (21). But he made peace with us through the death of Jesus (22). What’s very interesting in these two verses is the emphatic use of two different words for a physical body — σαρκος (sarkos) and σωματι (somati)! He just said that Jesus is the physical form of God, then emphasizes this by using two words for physical body.
Jesus had form before he became fully human — he was the Angel of the Lord in the Old Testament. But he became fully human so that he could feel pain, feel emotion, and bleed out for our sake. He did this so we’d be special and blameless in God’s eyes.
In 1.23, Paul summarized why he said all that stuff — “You must not let anything cause you to give up the hope that became yours when you heard the good news.”

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