He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And 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, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
- Christ is the image of God.
- God is invisible.
- Christ is the firstborn of all creation.
- Everything, whether on earth or in heaven or whether it is visible or invisible, was made by Christ.
- Christ establishes rulers and what they rule over.
- Christ establishes all authority.
- Everything was created by, through, and for Christ.
- Everything was created for Christ.
- Christ was before anything else.
- Christ sustains everything.
- Christ holds everything together.
- Christ is the head of the body
- The body refers to the church
- Christ is the head of the church.
- Christ is the beginning.
- Christ is the firstborn of the dead.
- In everything Christ is preeminent.
- The fullness of God dwells in Christ.
- God reconciled Himself to all things through Christ.
- God reconciled Himself to everything in heaven through Christ.
- God reconciled Himself to everything on earth through Christ.
- God made peace with everything through the blood of Christ’s blood.
- The Colossians at one time were alienated from God.
- The Colossians at one time were hostile toward God.
- The Colossians at one time did evil deeds.
- The Colossians were now reconciled to Christ
- The Colossians were reconciled in Christ’s body of flesh.
- The Colossians were reconciled to Christ so that Christ could present them holy, blameless, and above reproach before Himself.
- The Colossians were to continue in the faith.
- The Colossians’ faith was to be steadfast and not shift from the hope they have in the Gospel.
- The Gospel that the Colossians heard has been heard throughout creation.
- Paul is a minister of the Gospel.
Jesus is God. This section of scripture, like the first part of John 1, speaks clearly to the deity of Christ. Christ was a man. But Christ was also God. It was Christ who created everything. Everything means everything both that which we can see and that which we cannot see. He, Christ, created them. He was before all things meaning Christ existed before anything else. And He holds everything together. That is, it is Christ’s continuing work that keeps everything in existence. Christ is the creator and sustainer of everything.
Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and others committing the Arian heresy point to verse 15 as evidence that Christ was created. Christ is called the firstborn of all creation. This does not refer to Christ being created instead He has all the rights of the firstborn and He existed before all creation. If Christ were created He could not exist before all creation. This would be a self-contradictory statement. If Christ were created, he could not be before anything that was created. If He was created then He would be part of what was created. He cannot be before all creation and still be part of creation. He would have to be and not be at the same time and same relationship which is the classical definition of a contradiction. And contradictions are not and cannot be true.
Verse 18 has also been used to support the Arian heresy. Being the “firstborn” refers to being the first to rise from the dead to everlasting glory. Christ was not the first to be raised from the dead. For example, there was Lazarus. Christ raised Lazarus from the dead. But Lazarus died again. Christ rose and never died again. He ascended bodily to the Father.
Christ created all things. He has given authority and power to everything that has power. Every ruler, king president, prime minister, and judge. He has granted them their power. It is His to give and His to take away. Those to whom he has given such power are responsible for it. It is His power, not theirs or ours. That power is given for His glory.
All things were created for Him. We often confuse this. We think that everything was created for our benefit. We define “good” as whether or not it benefits us. We think if God is a good god He would only do those things which benefited us. There would be no hurricanes or tornadoes, no disease or sickness, our loved ones would never suffer and die. But we have it upside down. We were created for Him. God is not created for us. We blaspheme Him by making ourselves gods. We try to usurp His rightful place.
It is through Christ that we are reconciled to God. We cannot be joined to God without the work of Christ. Paul says, “Through Him”, that is Christ alone, we are reconciled. There is no other way. This excludes all other means. Therefore, it is Christ alone, by whom and for whom we have God’s favor towards us. It is through the “blood of the His cross” that Christ offered the sacrifice that appeases the anger of God for our rebellion towards Him. Therefore, Christ is the head of the Church. It is Christ and Christ alone we are to worship, not Mary or even the angels.
Paul says to the Colossians, “And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds…” He now turns from the general to the specific. From what Christ did for the world to what Christ did for the Colossians which, of course, we can apply to ourselves. We were once alienated. We were once hostile toward God. We were doing evil. We tried to make ourselves God by thinking God was there to serve us rather than the other way around. But He has now reconciled us, you and me, to Him.
He has reconciled us so that we can be presented before Him holy and blameless. We can be presented above reproach to the Father. The entire blessing of redemption consists mainly of these two things, the forgiveness of sins, and spiritual regeneration that is, we are made new.
This newness is only the beginning. We have received holiness but this holiness has only begun in us. Every day we make progress, but we will not be perfected until Christ comes to restore all things. Historically the Coelestinians and the Pelagians have mistakenly perverted this passage. In doing so they denied the grace of God in the forgiveness of our sins. They contended we can achieve perfection in this world which could satisfy the judgment of God. If that were possible God’s mercy would not be needed. Paul identifies the end of our calling, and the blessings Christ brings to us.
Verse 22 says, “he has now reconciled” which is what Christ has already done. Paul then encourages the Colossians to persevere in the faith. Faith is not simply believing or having an opinion. Those can be shaken. But Paul says to be stable and steadfast. That implies a reason or knowledge for the hope of the gospel. The gospel is something you can know. But knowledge requires study. Credulity takes no effort and is easily shaken.
Christ is the creator of all things. All things were created for Christ. All things include us. We often ignore or deny this. We feel we are the highest being. When we are faced with a dilemma, the criteria we use is, “From which option will I receive the greatest good?” Or if we are really righteous we ask “Which option would benefit the greatest number of people?” But both of these are the wrong questions. When faced with a dilemma the question should be, “What brings Christ the greatest glory?”
We think that everything was created for our benefit. We define “good” as whether or not it benefits us. Therefore, we conclude that if God is a good god He would do good things. This means He would do only those things which benefit us. There would be no hurricanes or tornadoes, no disease or sickness, and our loved ones never suffer and die. But we have it upside down. We were created for Him. God does not exist for our benefit. We then should be asking, “How can I bring glory to Christ?” Instead, we pray asking Him to give us stuff. The fact that each of us individually and all of us collectively are guilty of reversing this truth is demonstrated by how we are trying to make ourselves god. And as such are deserving His wrath for our rebellion.
Our prayers should be a plea for forgiveness and guidance in how we can bring glory to Him.