The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
How can you read these few verses and not just fall into one of those “Wow!” moments? Even if you only read the first sentence: Wow!
It is ‘content rich’ to say the least. Consider the first sentence, The Son of God, Jesus the Christ, is the image of the invisible God; let that sink in… People sometimes ask how they can know God, and the answer is to look at Jesus Christ; He was here, on this earth as a man. He is a historical figure, who left behind a written record of what He thought, said and did. He was a Teacher, so His teachings are there for all to see. He was the image of God, and He spoke directly to us, so if we want to know what God is like, learn what Jesus was like… and you will have it! Jesus, the Son, is also the firstborn of all creation− don’t skip that phrase! You and I are part of the Creation of which Jesus is the firstborn… yes, that means you and I are meant to have a relationship with Him, after all that is why He came to the earth in the first place. Oh, my, reflect on that for a while…
This is exciting!
Moving on, we see that in Him all things were created, both in heaven and on earth. Of course, we know that Jesus was present when God spoke the word and the universe came into being, but now it seems that Jesus might have actually done the talking. A careful reading of John 1 will confirm that Jesus was actually the Word itself! He is not only the firstborn, but the Word that created everything. All I can say is “WOW!”
Every single thing there was, is, or will be was created by, through and for Jesus Christ, including you, including me. There are certain times when the enormity of something makes it difficult to describe it with mere words, and honestly this is one of them.
Our Lord, the Son, is the head of the Body, which is the church of which all Christians are a part. Yes, you and I are a part of the Body of the One who created everything.
He is also the firstborn of the dead, which is to say that He is the first to die, and then to rise again in glory, but He is not to be the last, for you and I will also arise in glory in due course.
I hope that you will take a little time to reflect and pray on these few verses. As you do, please consider that this Jesus wants a relationship with YOU! He is there, He is calling your name, will you respond? No, that question was not for the unbelievers− It is directed by me to all of us, including myself, who profess to be His followers. Will we all join together to answer His call to relationship, with the One who created all, who arose from the dead to prepare our way; will we respond to His invitation, to pull up our chairs and listen at His side as He shares with each of us?
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 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.
In vv. 15-18 we see the “how” of Creation, in these two verses, we see the “why”. God, it must be said, had a reason for sending His Son to the earth:
First, notice how verse 19 begins: God was pleased to have all of His (God’s, the Father’s) fullness dwell in Him (the Son, Jesus). It seems telling to me, that this fullness of the reality of the Person of the Son is called “pleasing” to God; to me that sounds like purpose is involved here: God’s purpose. Everything about Jesus and His mission to earth is deliberate and purposeful, and Jesus mentioned this quite a bit as I’m sure you recall. God was definitely at work.
So, all of God’s fullness was dwelling in Jesus Christ, and through Jesus Christ, God was pleased to reconcile all things to Himself. Again, let’s just slow down and consider what this is saying. With God’s entire fullness dwelling in Him, Jesus does something to reconcile all things to God, thus pleasing God. All things, in heaven and on earth were reconciled… because Jesus made peace by shedding His blood on the cross.
Here’s a proposition to consider: If Jesus had to reconcile all things to God by “making peace” then a state of conflict must have existed prior to the cross.
Of course, we know that there was indeed a state of conflict from the moment that Adam entered into open rebellion against God back in Genesis 3. We often refer to “sin” as though it is nothing more than the violation of an ordinance, which is how the Law of Moses codified it, but “sin” was around long before it was so clearly defined, or codified. Sin is actually rebellion. We were in rebellion; God reconciled us by having Jesus make peace. Jesus made a Peace Treaty, and a Treaty is a kind of covenant. Jesus said, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt. 26:28) See how this comes together?
As we go through our day, what an amazing thing we have to reflect upon: God’s love for each one of us is so great, that He was pleased to send His Son, full of all of the fullness of the Father Himself, to die on the cross to make peace with us. Can there be a greater expression of boundless love than that?
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
There was a time when each of us was alienated from God; we saw ourselves as His enemy because of our evil deeds. I broke this into two parts, because I’d like us to think about two ideas here. First, we saw or thought (in our minds) that we were God’s enemies. In Scripture, God never made us His enemy; it is we who made the choices that headed us in this direction. It is (or was) our own attitudes that created the problems. It was never God; it was always us.
Second, “because of your evil deeds.” Which evil deeds do you think Paul is talking about? I would suggest that most people, certainly most preachers, would assert that Paul is referring to some sort of list of infractions, a Bill of Indictment, so to speak. I hope we might take a different approach, and hope you will give this a little thought. It isn’t so much a list of violations that Paul is talking about here; it is the very condition of being in rebellion against God that he is talking about. If we are in rebellion against God, then we are not in relationship with Him. If we are not in relationship with Him, what are the rules, anyway? Consider the Jews and the Gentiles. From the Jewish point of view in the Old Testament, a Jew was good or bad based upon his or her keeping the Law, the 613 laws of Moses. If they disregarded the law, they had problems, if they kept the law all was as it should be. The Gentiles on the other hand, weren’t even in the ball game. Nobody expected them to keep, or even to know the law. They had no covenant with God, they had no Law. How could they “get right” with God? Not an easy thing to do: The very fact that they were Gentile made them evil and unclean. We were enemies with God in our minds because of our evil deeds of rebellion against Him, and this transcends a rule book and petty violations.
“But now he has reconciled you…” (v. 22) Because of what Christ has done on the cross, everything is completely different. He made a peace treaty; you accepted its terms and signed on to it. Now you are in a whole new kind of covenant, and that covenant has made you as clean as though you had never sinned, in God’s sight. All of that rebellion is forgotten, expunged from the record− over.
Well, now we haven’t quite finished the sentence. This is a tough spot, beginning at verse 23 with the word “if.” You may agree with me, or you may disagree, but as I see it, the word “if” makes this a conditional statement. “…free from accusation— if you continue in your faith…” As I see it, and I think the rules of grammar back me up in this, we have the blessings of the promises in the New Covenant, unless we decide to totally renounce our faith in Jesus Christ and go off and follow other gods.
This passage ends with Paul pointing out two things, did you catch them? The work of Jesus Christ on the cross has established peaceful relations between God and Man; your sins are taken away and you are blameless before God. This is the Gospel, and it is the first point of summation. Paul has become a servant of this Gospel (and by extension, so have you and I). This is the final point of summation.
God loved us so much, while we were still thinking of ourselves as His enemies, that He went and did all of this. And not only that, but we are a part of the spreading of this awesome demonstration of the boundless love of our eternal God.
May He draw all of us closer to Him in His Word today. May He fill our hearts with glad assurance of the truth of His Word, and may He increase in our lives as we grow in our faith and in our desire to draw ever nearer to Him in everything that we do.