3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: All power is ours in Christ Jesus!


Colossians 1:11-20

The Apostle Paul has been speaking of his ceaseless prayer on behalf of the Colossians: that they might be ‘filled with the Knowledge of His will’ and ‘increasing in the Knowledge of God’ (Colossians 1:9-10). The fact of the matter is, that ‘all wisdom and spiritual understanding’ (Colossians 1:9); and living worthy lives, and pleasing God, and bearing fruit (Colossians 1:10) is all already readily available to us in Christ Jesus: and it is the possession of ALL Christians, not just a few ‘in the know’!

As Paul continues describing the content of his prayers for the Colossians, he next mentions the subject of their being “with all power” strengthened, according to the might of His glory. This again is something which we already have, and we need to learn how to tap into it. We have power for all patience, power for perseverance, the ability to remain joyful throughout (Colossians 1:11). ‘Miserable’ Christians is an oxymoron!

Furthermore, Paul celebrates the fact that the Father has already qualified us to receive the inheritance which awaits His saints. We are delivered from the power of darkness and have been translated into the kingdom of His dear Son (Colossians 1:12-13). This is not just ‘pie in the sky when I die’, but a present reality for all who trust in Jesus.

The evidence of an underlying drift away from the gospel is found implicitly throughout this epistle, in Paul’s answers to the perceived problems. This is why, for example, Paul laid so much emphasis on the deliverance which Jesus wrought on our behalf (Colossians 1:13; Colossians 2:15), and on the fullness of what He has accomplished (Colossians 2:10). This is all possible because of what Jesus did on the Cross: “in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins…” (Colossians 1:14). We need nothing added, nothing taken away: but rather to recognise what we already have in Christ Jesus the Lord (Colossians 1:9-14).

From talking about his prayers for the Colossians, the Apostle’s discourse passes seamlessly to the subject of the Lordship of Jesus, the sufficiency of His Person, and the adequacy of His Work (Colossians 1:15-20). This gives us the grounds for Blessed Assurance.

1. His Lordship over Creation (Colossians 1:15-17).

a) He is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15a), the manifestation of God to man (John 1:14-18).

b) He is the “firstborn” of creation (Colossians 1:15b), the Father’s heir (Hebrews 1:2). Not, indeed, created Himself, but the possessor of the birthright (for the significance of the birthright, see Genesis 25:31-33; 1 Chronicles 5:1-2).

c) He is the Creator of all things (cf. John 1:3), and therefore again, not created (Colossians 1:16). Creation exists for Him and must submit to Him.

d) All things have their source (Colossians 1:17), and their sustenance, in Him (John 1:4).

2. His Lordship over the Church (Colossians 1:18).

a) He is “head over the body, the church” (Colossians 1:18a; Colossians 2:19). This metaphor has echoes throughout the New Testament (e.g. Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 1:22-23).

b) The ‘firstborn of creation’ (Colossians 1:15b) is also the “firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18b). The resurrected Jesus is none other than, in the Greek, ‘the Author of life’ (Acts 3:15). Thus those who were ‘dead in their sins’ can be ‘quickened together with Him’ (Colossians 2:13).

c) There was a danger in Colossae that other things, such as the worship of angels (cf. Colossians 2:18) might be added to the worship of Christ. Yet even the angels must worship Him (Hebrews 1:6). To Him alone belongs the pre-eminence (Colossians 1:18c).

3. The sufficiency of His Person (Colossians 1:19).

The “fullness” of which Paul speaks is not a supplement which is lacking, such as some new teachers in Colossae were suggesting, but ‘the full complement’ which subsists in Christ. In Him all the fullness was pleased to (literally) ‘take up dwelling’ (Colossians 1:19). There are echoes here of the incarnation (John 1:14), but Paul goes a step further when he shifts the concept into the present tense (Colossians 2:9), and then into heaven itself (Colossians 3:1).

4. The adequacy of His Work (Colossians 1:20).

Given the fallen state of Creation, ‘peace with God’ (Romans 5:1) could only be accomplished by the blood of the Cross (Colossians 1:20). He wrought reconciliation for “all” in that He alone is able to reconcile any (1 John 2:2).

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