Summary: Jesus Christ is preeminent over the original creation and new creation. Christ Is Preeminent in the New Creation (vs. 18-20)
The Supremacy and Sufficiency of Christ, part 4
The Preeminence of Christ
February 8, 2015
We are in the midst of our series, “The Supremacy and Sufficiency of Christ,” based upon the letter the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossian church. Today we get to the heart of the letter where Paul paints a grand and compelling picture of Christ as preeminent in both the original creation and the new creation. He is the agent, the sustainer, and the goal of creation. He is at the center of everything! Paul's goal is to show us that Christ is enough for everything we need.
Big Idea – Jesus Christ is preeminent over the original creation and new creation.
Jesus Christ is Preeminent Over the Original Creation (vs. 15-17)
Jesus Christ is described as, “the image of the invisible God and the firstborn over all creation. ” The phrase 'the image of God' reminds us of the creation of the first man, Adam. The difference is that the first Adam was created in the image of God but Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. He is the better and last Adam and the visible revelation of the invisible God. And because he is invisible, Paul is talking about the revelation of God's character, attributes, and divinity. This is why, when the disciples ask Jesus to show us the Father, he responds, 'if you have seen me you have seen the Father.' If you want to know what God is like get to know Jesus! Not only is he the image of the invisible God, he is also the firstborn over all creation. Firstborn in the Jewish and Greco-Roman world meant rank and supremacy. For instance, David is called the 'firstborn, the highest of kings of the earth.' David was not literally the firstborn but was the firstborn in terms of priority, superiority, and rank. Paul is pointing to Jesus' unique relationship to both God and to creation. He is exalting Jesus as preeminent, the eternal son of God, 'by whom all things were created.' All things includes all that is in heaven and earth, whether visible or invisible. But he does not stop there, he includes all angelic beings, described as thrones or dominions or ruler or authorities. He is referring to angelic creatures, good and evil, and their potential influence upon the earth through political structures, organizations, and businesses. His point is that they are not outside or beyond his sovereign authority and control. Then he sums up Christ's role in creation, “all things were created through him and for him and he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Jesus conceived all things, created all things, and all things have their purpose in him. Jesus is the agent, the architect, the project manager, and the contractor in creation, and all things have their purpose and goal in him. This is a staggering idea. From the very beginning all things were created with Jesus in mind, including his incarnation and death and resurrection. When God conceived of and created everything, the fall and redemption and restoration were all part of the plan as the best of all possible worlds. Not only has he created all things but he sustains all things. He is the glue that binds all things together and he is the one who guides all things to his own end. Everything works this moment because of Christ - your ability to hear, the light switch that turns on the lights, gravity holding everything in place, and the sun shining. But because of humanities rebellion against God, sin has contaminated everything in creation and so not is humanity in need of reconciliation but all of creation is in need of reconciliation. That is why Jesus Christ is also preeminent in the new creation, so let's look at that for the remainder of our time.
Christ Is Preeminent in the New Creation (vs. 18-20)
Jesus Christ as the head of his body, the church, means at least three things. First, that he is the origin and the source of the relationship between God and his people, the church. It was his death that made the way for us to know God. Second, that it is because of his power and authority that the church survives and thrives. Third, that we are dependent upon him for our life and sustenance. This means we are spiritually nourished by being connected to his body. There is no such thing as a Christ follower not being connected to his body. He is the head because he is the beginning and the firstborn from the dead. Beginning points to his rank and superiority and supremacy and the origin of the church. Firstborn from the dead points to Christ's resurrection inaugurating the new creation and the source of our own resurrection to spiritual life and securing eternal life on the new earth. His resurrection also frees us from being under the condemnation of sin and the guilt of sin and the power of sin. The result is that again, he might be preeminent in everything. Then Paul goes on to tell us why Jesus Christ is preeminent, 'in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.' That is, the fullness of the divine nature became flesh in the incarnation of Jesus Christ yet without ceasing to be fully divine. The divine and human united in one person, Jesus Christ. The purpose of the incarnation was to reconcile all things to himself, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace by the blood of his cross, pointing to his violent death. This reconciliation includes all things. He will reconcile humanity to himself through redemption, by faith in Christ. Everything else, hostile humanity and hostile angelic creatures he will reconcile by subjugating them and pacifying them, rendering them powerless. This will happen like a military defeat, where enemies are defeated and acquiesce to their victors.