“I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you” (1 John 2:26, ESV).
In the Apostle John’s letter entitled, 1 John, he writes it seemingly to address false teaching and specifically a heresy theologians have named “Gnosticism.”
Gnosticism is is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems that had their roots in the first century but became a more serious problem in the second century.
This religious philosophy held that matter is evil and spirit is good. The solution to the tension between matter and spirit was knowledge, or gnosis, through which humans advanced from a natural state to spiritual state. Gnosticism led to two false theories concerning the person of Christ: representing Jesus as a spirit and making Jesus a dual personality at times human and at times divine.
I don’t want to enter into a theological discussion about Gnosticism or Christology as John offers a simple and straightforward argument for a correct understanding of the humanity and divinity of Jesus. Besides, that discussion is well above my pay grade in these meditations!
But, I want to highlight an important matter embedded in John’s symphonic discussion in this letter that has just as much relevance for the Church today as it did when John wrote the letter in the first century.
“He takes away the first to establish the second” (Hebrews 10:9, HCSB).
The Hebrews writer explains how the sacrifice of Christ on the cross replaced the Old Testament system of blood sacrifices and burnt offerings.
The Hebrews writer says that the Old Testament law was a representation of God’s reality, not the reality itself: “The law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of these realities” (vs. 1).
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together. Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross” (Colossians 1:15-20, NLT).
In the series of short declarations in these verses, the Apostle Paul presents a concise yet comprehensive theology of Christ–a Christology–that you don’t have to be a biblical scholar or theologian to understand and appreciate.