Colossians: Chapter 1 Tension

(Welcome back! Today we’re continuing with our study of Colossians 1.)

Today we’ll be working, line by line, verses 15-20.

The Son is the image of the invisible God…

We are a creation who was made in the image of God…however, for the entirety of Humanity, until Christ, God was invisible. A select number of people were invited to speak with God…though, they had to do it on God’s terms, and under strict guidelines.

But with Christ coming to earth, fully human, and fully divine, we saw a perfect image of God, of his likeness, personality, and love.

the firstborn over all creation.

One theologian says it’s better translated as: “The first begotten of all creation.” Which  means, Christ isn’t just the oldest, rather he’s the One prior to, and supreme over all creation. Firstborn is equivalent to “Only begotten” which is a Jewish term meaning “uncreated.”

Christ isn’t just like us…created by a God within time and space. Rather, he is part of eternity. He’s before all of creation. And he’s

For by him all things were created

By him literally means, “In him.” In can indicate instrument or means. It was by our through Christ that all of creation was made. This is reinforced a few words later when we read “all things were created by him and for him.” Christ wasn’t a product of Creation…he was a party to, necessary for, creation.

It is because of this, because of his relationship to creation, that we know that all beings, and all creation are subject to him and his rule. All things seen, unseen, in the heavens, on earth or under the earth. All spiritual beings, all physical  beings, are under the dominion of Christ.

He is the first and final cause of Creation.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

And he is not just creator…this idea of a man who builds a clock, winds it, and let’s it run its course. He is so intimately involved in his creation that he is the actual glue that holds all of creation together. When Christ is the center, he brings fullness and completion to a broken world.

He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn among the dead.

He was, is, and will forever be the head of the Kingdom of God. He cannot just be part of our faith, rather he must be all of it. He is faith completed. He is the mediator, the representative between God and us.

He is the only one who has ever conquered death and risen from the dead.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

Part of the teaching the Colossians were receiving was that Christ was only a tool…temporarily occupied to accomplish his task and then left once again.

However, Paul is here stating that Christ was, and will forever be the place in which God takes up residence. All the attributes and activities of God- spirit, word, wisdom and glory- are perfectly on display.

and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

It was in Christ that God reconciled, or brought to him, all of creation. Through Christ’s sacrifice, his blood and death on the cross that sin was once and for all defeated.

All of creation, both in the heavens and on earth, the things that are broken, and the things that are doing alright…they all find their rightful place in Christ. They find a place to belong.

It is through Christ’s blood that we all are able to belong…because, let’s face it, there isn’t one of us that is worth of life.

Backbone of our belief

This idea of Christ, of his divinity, and of his supremacy is the base for which all of our beliefs are hinged. You cannot take away from Christ, and hold to the Christian faith. You cannot say he was just a good man, a good teacher, or a good leader, and leave it at that.

Christ is either everything, or he is nothing.

A modern-day translation of the Bible reads like this:

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God’s original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. And when it comes to the church, he organizes and holds it together, like a head does a body.

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so roomy, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding…….

Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

So where does this leave us?

Belief is extremely important. Head knowledge won’t transform you. Just memorizing facts, or saying you think one way, doesn’t lead to heart change. Saying you know who the Queen of England is, doesn’t make you British.

It just means you know who the Queen of England is.

In the same way, to say you know that Christ is King isn’t what is going to save your…change you…or bring you resolution and completion.

The question that needs to be posed, or needs to be asked is, “What do you do with the knowledge of the supremacy of Christ?”

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