- Col 1:15 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.
Paul has just prayed for the Colossians that they would “be filled with the knowledge of [God’s] will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (vv. 9-10). Then, in verses 14-20, he gives us a Spirit filled revelation of amazing truths about Jesus Christ that are probably the most concentrated description of the glories of Jesus in the New Testament.
Let’s look at them briefly, but with awe and wonder:
- Verse 14: In Him we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
- Verse 15a: He is the image of the invisible God.
- Verse 15b: He is the firstborn of all creation—that is, the specially honored, first and only Son over all creation.
- Verse 16a: By him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. (We will come back to verse 16.) Verse 16b: All things were created through him.
- Verse 16c: All things were created for him.
- Verse 17a: He is before all things.
- Verse 17b: In him all things hold together.
- Verse 18a: He is the head of the body, the church.
- Verse 18b: He is the beginning.
- Verse 18c: He is the firstborn from the dead.
- Verse 18d: In everything he is preeminent.
- Verse 19: In him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.
- Verse 20a: He reconciles all things to himself, whether on earth or in heaven.
- Verse 20b: He makes peace by the blood of his cross.
This list is worth reading regularly and memorizing. Beloved, whenever your hearts grow cold or weary in the battle of life, read this list of the glories of The Lord Jesus Christ and ask The Holy Spirit of God to give you the heavenly affections that correspond to the description of His greatness.
God has given unto us a book to read, a mind to learn and The Spirit to reveal to us the majesty of His glory and the mystery of Who He is. The more we will be in awe of His majesty and greatness. The more that you learn about Jesus Christ, the more you will experience His love and peace. Jesus said, learn of Me.”
Remember, this description of Jesus Christ is THE ONLY true and accurate description of Who He is. But let us not be content with a mere academic understanding of these truths. May The Spirit of God grant unto a an understanding of Who Jesus is that stirs us up to worship Him more passionately, to serve Him with a deeper joy and to share the gospel that bears His Name with a love and boldness that glorifies His Name.
God is not honored by ignorance of Him. We are living in a day and age of spiritual deception, and the blurring of clear Bible truth. Many people are being deceived by the religious rhetoric that comes from world religions and pseudo Christian cults like LDS and JW’s who masquerade themselves as followers of Jesus Christ.
When a Mormon, or a JW, or a Hindu or a Muslim tells you that they believe in Jesus Christ, what they are saying is that they believe that an historical figure named Jesus existed. As you probe for more information about Jesus Christ, they will refer you to their inspired literature because the Bible is outdated and inaccurate. Then they will tell you who they really think Jesus is according the The Book or Mormon, or the JW NWT, or the Hindu Vedas or the Koran.
Satan is the author of confusion, for if you put together what all of these religious groups say about Jesus, here is what you come up with: He is a man who is divine but not God, He is the spirit brother of Lucifer, but he is not a devil. Because He was a disillusioned individual, He went up to the Himalayas and through transcendental meditation, He “discovered” that He was the Christ. Yes, there was someone who hung on the cross of Calvary, but it wasn’t Jesus Christ. Blasphemy!!!
By saying what I just said should not be interpreted to mean that I hate the people who are a part of these religious groups. Not at all! I am simply seeking to speak the truth in love and warn you as an under shepherd of Jesus Christ about these people who are talking about another Jesus and another gospel which is NOT true.
If you tell me that 2+2+5 and I tell you that 2+2=4, does that mean that I hate you? Of course not. It is the love of Christ that compels us to tell the truth.
Okay, back to verse 15. In response to the false teachers that challenged the true nature and deity of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God writes:
Jesus Christ is (1) the image of the invisible God, (2) the firstborn of every creature:
(1) Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, meaning by this, that it is in Jesus alone that God, who is otherwise invisible, is manifested to us, in accordance with what is said in John 1:18, No man hath ever seen God: the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, hath himself manifested him to us.
Christ is called the image of God on this ground — that he makes The Father, Who is Spirit, in a manner visible to us.
John14:8 Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Jesus Christ is ‘the image of the invisible God’ not only because He is man made in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–27; 1 Cor. 11:7), but also because he has the same nature as God (Heb. 1:3), being co-eternal with him.
Heb 1.3 being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men
For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2.10).
It is in Jesus Christ alone, that we may behold The Living God as in a mirror. For in Jesus Christ, we see a revelation of the righteousness, love, goodness, wisdom and power of God in human form. This is great news. When it comes to God, if you want to know who God is, if you want to know what He’s like, if you want to know what His tone is, how He behaves, how He feels, how He responds, you don’t have to speculate, you don’t have to play children’s games; you can find out. You study, you look at and you watch Jesus Christ. Jesus is the image of the invisible God.
Jesus Christ is the exact imprint of the nature and glory of God, which means if you want to know who God is, if you want to know what God’s like, if you want to know how He’ll respond to you, if you want to know what His tone is, if you want to know what stirs up anger in Him, where He extends mercy, you have to look at the person of Jesus Christ. If you want to know who God is, Jesus is the key. To know the nature and character of God, you go to Jesus Christ. If you go anywhere else, you’re going to get off. We know about the nature and character of God through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
(2) Christ pre-existed with the Father before the world was created as ‘the first-born over all creation’. The word “firstborn” (see definition 4416) comes from the Greek word prototokos and signifies “preeminence” rather than first in order of birth being the Father’s heir. This phrase does not refer to the creating of Jesus Christ before the rest of creation, as the Arians and the Unitarians teach, but to His eternal divine existence. Firstborn here refers to His preeminent state above all of creation, because He is Lord of all creation.
In verse 18, we will see that Jesus is called the first-begotten from the dead, because it is by Him, the Resurrection and the Life that we all rise again.
Jesus is the express “image of the invisible God”. He is not some distant, inferior reflection of God. He is not simply divine. He is not simply an avatar. Jesus is the Great I AM! The Mighty God from everlasting to everlasting.
- 16 For (1) 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:
Jesus Christ is the Agent is all creation. ‘For by him all things were created.’ This shows that all things owe their origin to Jesus Christ. He is the divine agent in Creation and made all that we see and all that we do not see. He created matter and spirit. This is a restatement of His deity and a declaration of his glorious power.
The Trinity was active in the work of Creation (Gen. 1:1; Heb elohim, speaks of a compound unity, not absolute oneness). The words ‘by him’ show that God the Father works by the Son. Everything in this physical, visible universe came into being out of nothing by His power (Heb. 11:3; John 1:3).
‘All things … created that are in heaven and … earth’ includes the whole of the spiritual creation, angels and archangels; and the whole of physical crecreation, angels and archangels; and the whole of physical creation, visible and invisible.
Listed here are some of the things we don’t see with our natural eyes: ‘thrones or dominions or principalities or powers’. These words describe the world of angels both holy and evil (Col. 2:10, 15; Eph. 1:21, 3:10; 6:12; 1 Cor. 15:24).
Since the JW’s teach that Jesus Christ is a created being who is divine, but not God, this explains why the Jehovah’s Witnesses in their New World Translation they felt constrained, for doctrinal reasons, to make the unwarranted addition to the Word of God at this verse by adding “other” so as to read “all other things.” The implication of course is that Jesus Himself is a created being as well. Blasphemy!
‘All things were created through Him and for Him’. Jesus Christ is not only the Agent of all creation, He is the very purpose of all creation. The Bible clearly teaches us that all of creation exists for the Son of God. As mind boggling and glorious creation is, creation itself is not the ultimate, because creation exists for something higher, and that something is the glory of Jesus Christ.
In Romans 8, we are given a description of things which in the future will reveal Christ’s glory to all fallen creation at his Second Coming (Rom. 8:19–23). At the end of time every knee will bow to him as Lord (Phil. 2:10) and there will be a wedding feast when Jesus will possess all things (Rev. 19:1–16).
Let me say this about things that are invisible before we move on. People make two errors when it comes to spiritual forces. They either make way too much of them or they don’t consider them enough. Those are the two big errors. There really are angels and there really are demons. There really are spiritual authorities and spiritual powers. All were created by Christ and they all also obey Him.
Jesus Christ has all authority over all angelic beings, good and bad. Do not believe lie that Satan and Jesus are opposites. Satan is a created being with limited powers and authority. In fact, in Revelation 20, another created angel lays hold of and binds Satan in the pit for 1,000 years.
- 17 And (1) he is before all things, and (2) by him all things consist.
We see here the glory of Christ in His pre-existence. ‘He is before all things and in him all things consist’. Jesus was not part of Creation but He was before it. The Nicene Creed (A.D. 325) says ‘there never was a time when he was not’.
(1) He is before all things. John 1.1-3
(2) The word consists here means, “continue, endure, exist, hold together“. This literally means that Jesus is the power that binds the universe together. The only reason the planets and stars follow their prescribed orbit is because He holds them in place. The only reason the molecules that make up our bodies, and the world around us don’t fly off into space is because He holds it all together! Don’t think for a minute that we don’t need Him! He is sovereign over the entire universe which He has created! It is Jesus Christ that is giving you and me our very next breath!
The doctrine of the pre-existence of Christ from eternity is taught in several places (John 1:1; 8:58; 17:5; 2 Cor. 8:9). He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last (Rev. 22:13). He did not pre-exist in human form but became man at the Incarnation (Phil. 2:6–8), Emmanuel, God with us.
Everything is held together and sustained by him (Heb. 1:1–3). Through Him the cosmos is prevented from falling into chaos and the principle of coherence (unity) is found in him. The only thing that can hold your marriage together, your life together, your family together is The Lord Jesus Christ….thus, if any of those things are falling apart this morning, the Only One that can put you back together is a full blown, no nonsense commitment to Jesus.
Jesus Christ Is God
Which is why the writer of Hebrews 1 can take Psalm 102:25—27, which refers to God the Creator, and apply it to the Son―for the Son is God. So he says in verses
- “10 Thou, Lord, in the beginning didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the works of thy hands. 11 They will perish, but thou remainest, and they all will become old as a garment, 12 and as a mantle thou wilt roll them up, as a garment they will also be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years will not come to an end.””
Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe. He is God. He is to be worshipped.
All things were created by Him and for Him
Beloved, we were created for His pleasure, not ours (Rev 4.11).
- Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
We are transformed from one degree of glory to the next by beholding God. How do you behold God? WE behold the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is Lord over the New Creation
- 1Ti 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.
- John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
- Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jesus Christ, The Lord of all creation, became a man in order that through His perfect and sinless life, He would provide through the shedding of His blood on the cross, the one and only acceptable sacrifice for sin forever. Sin is a debt that man cannot pay, thus Jesus the Creator died for His creation, Jesus the sinless One died for sinners, Jesus the righteous One died for the unrighteous, Jesus the godly One for the ungodly, Jesus the holy One or the unholy. But atonement accomplished is not to be interpreted as atonement automatically to me apart from faith in Him.
- Here is the difference between religion and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Religions says, “Forgive your brother, feed the poor and be a better person, then you and God can talk.” The gospel says, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It’s not, “Clean up, then come,” but rather, “Come when you’re tired and come when you’re weary. Come now, and I will give you rest. Come to Me.”
God is not in love with some future version of you. Do you understand that? He’s not in love with some future version of you. You’re not in time-out right now. He’s not like, “One day, you and I will get together and chat, but for now, to be honest with you, you bother Me. So four or five years from now, we’re going to be tight, but right now you’ve just got way too many issues to be in My throne room.” That’s now how this works. He says, “Come to Me now, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Jesus IS Lord, but He is not your Lord until you repent of your sin and self righteousness and turn to Him and Him alone for salvation.
- John 1:2 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Come as you are, and come now.
In our next post, Pastor Ben Hiwale is going to pick up where we left off. God has blessed this body with many gifted teachers.