Summary: the 3rd message of 13 in an expository series on the book of Colossians.
The Supremacy of Christ
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And 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. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and 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.
I A Scope of the Supremacy of Christ
A Christ and Deity
Verse: 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Cross: 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. Jn. 1:1-4
1 Christ is the Exact Representation of the Godhead
Word: image (eikon) from which we get our English word icon (made in someone¡¦s likeness referring to a statue, coin, or portrait.
While man is made in the image of God, he is not a perfect image of God. Man is a triune being (body, soul, and Spirit), but he is not perfect in his moral attributes nor does man possess any incommunicable attributes such as omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence, or immutability.
Jesus though, is the exact representation of God in substance and purpose. He is the representation and manifestation of the Godhead ¡V the full, final, and complete revelation of God. Jesus is God in the flesh.
Idea: Paul offers this treatise to combat the heretical view that Jesus was one among the lesser spirits inferior to God. Understanding that the Colossian heresy viewed matter as evil and spirit as good, Paul attacks this teaching by stating that Jesus is God (equal in spirit) in the flesh (good in matter). And to think of Christ in any other terms is blasphemy.
2 Christ has Authority Over All of Creation
Cross: 1In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. Heb. 1:1-2
Note: From the Arians to modern day cults including the Jehovah¡¦s Witness, this passage has been misinterpreted and misunderstood attempting to state that Christ was a created being.
Word: Firstborn (prototokos) while prototokos can mean firstborn chronologically (priority in time) its reference in this text primarily refers to position or rank (supremacy in position).
At no time should one conclude that Christ was a created being, but rather that he was before creation and given authority over it in rank and dignity.
B Christ and Creation
Verse: 16For by (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 were created by (through) him and for (unto) him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Cross: ¡Kand through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God¡¦s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word¡K Heb. 1:2-3
1 The Author of Creation
Idea: As the physical representation of the Godhead, all creation derives its existence, sustenance, and purpose in Christ alone. This is an additional statement to thwart the erroneous teachings of the Colossian heresy that matter is evil. No only is Christ God in the flesh, but all of creation has its being and purpose because of Him. He is not a lesser created spirit, but the perfect and holy God of creation. And as the creation story accounts in Genesis 1, all of His creation (physical and spiritual) is good.
a by (in) Him (en)
Idea: Creation occurred from within His person and power. All creation comes as a result of His ministry within the Godhead ¡V the act of creation rested upon Christ.
b by (through) Him (di)
Idea: Christ was not only the originating center of creation, but he was also the mediating agent. The word used for through is often used of Christ¡¦s redemptive mediation between God and man. In this text though, the entire universe is mediated from God through Christ.
c for (unto) Him (eis)