Monday, February 6, 2012

Message from Jennifer Pellish, High School Teacher


Colossians 1:15-17 reads, “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.”

Keith Getty and Stuart Townsend penned the popular modern hymn, “In Christ Alone.” In its second verse, this hymn reflects on the wonder of the Incarnation: “In Christ alone / Who took on flesh / Fullness of God in helpless babe! / This gift of love and righteousness / Scorned by the ones He came to save. / Till on that cross as Jesus died / The wrath of God was satisfied / For ev’ry sin on Him was laid / Here in the death of Christ I live.”

Paul, too, exalted the full deity and humanity of Christ. Colossians 1:15–20 is often considered the climax of this epistle because of its doctrinal and poetic qualities. Paul might be quoting an existing hymn, but it’s also possible he composed the hymn or poem himself. In any case, he asserted that Christ “is the image of the invisible God” (v. 15). This means that although God is a spirit and cannot be seen, Christ became human and made it literally possible to see God. This is also a way of saying that Christ is fully God. Hebrews 1:3 similarly affirms, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.”

Christ is also “the firstborn over all creation.” “Firstborn” is a positional metaphor—that is, it doesn’t mean the Son of God began His life at a certain point in time (He’s eternal!), but rather indicates His position as ruler over the created world. This interpretation is confirmed and expanded in the next verse, where we learn that “in him all things were created” (v. 16). Christ’s relation to creation is not only one of authority, but also one of authorship. He spoke it into being and continually sustains it (cf. John 1:14). His preeminence covers the entire created realm, including supernatural beings, a truth that will be applied specifically in chapter two against the false teachings spread in Colossae (2:18–19). In summary, Paul wrote: “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (v. 17). Or as one commentator put it, “Things make sense only when Christ is kept at the center.”

Today’s passage takes us back to Genesis 1 with fresh eyes. Since Christ is the creator and ruler over all creation, then He is the One to whom we as stewards of creation must give account (Gen. 1:28–30). He made it all, and He will make it all new (Rev. 21:5). It can be invigorating and convicting to realize that He is the One holding everything together, that He stands at the beginning and end of history as its Alpha and Omega, and that in Him we actually see God.

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