By Him All Things Were Created
Passions of a Godly Life
As we have been wandering around in the book of Colossians, we have found many different aspects of our faith that tell us that this life we have in Christ is anything but dull and boring. Rather, it is a life that is lived each day with vibrant life, joy, and an expectancy of fullness in Christ.
Faith with Passion (Colossians 2:6-7)
~ rooted, built up, and established
Prayer with Passion (Colossians 4:2-4)
~ steadfast, watchful, with thanksgiving
Suffering with Passion (Colossians 1:24-29)
~ rejoicing, filling what is lacking
Fullness with Passion (Colossians 2:8-14)
~ vigilance, fullness, barriers removed
Church with Passion (Colossians 1:1-8, 2:1-4, 3:12-17)
~ bearing fruit, forgiving, teaching, singing, thanking
Family with Passion (Colossians 3:17-24)
~ everything in Jesus name, pleasing the Lord, revering the Lord, living for the Lord
Living Powerfully with Passion (Colossians 1:9-14)
~ knowledge, wisdom, understanding, fruitful, thankful
Today, I want to prepare our hearts for Communion by looking at why it is we can have passion in our Christian lives. What we will see today is an amazing description of our Lord Jesus. When we begin to see Him, in light of what He has done for us, it is a tremendous motivation for passionate living. Let’s read our text and pay close attention to the descriptions used here. The word “He” in verse 15 is referring back to Jesus, the Son of God in verse 13.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 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. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 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. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Jesus Our Passion (Colossians 1:15-20)
What a powerful description of Jesus and who Jesus is. There is much theology here and we could spend several weeks just on these verses, but we are going to just brush the surface and I hope it intrigues you to dig deeper. First, we see that Jesus is an eternal representation of God.
~ Eternally God (v. 15)
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
“Image” is translated from the Greek word εἰκών (eikon). Similar to our English word “icon,” it means a representation, copy, or likeness. Often it is used as an artistic representation, such as on a coin or an image in a statue, but other times, as it is here, it is used as an embodiment or living manifestation of something. Simply put, Jesus is God in flesh. Jesus is called Immanuel in Isaiah 7:14 and we are told in Matthew 1:23 that Immanuel means “God with us.” Philippians 2:6 tells us that Jesus is in the “form” of God.
When Jesus was born in flesh as a human baby, He was God becoming flesh and dwelling among us according to John 1:14. This is such an important aspect of our faith in God and I hope you don’t miss it. If we do not believe that Jesus was God in flesh, sinless in His nature, then we really have nothing. If Jesus was just another human being, He couldn’t have died for our sin. We must wrap our heads around what it means that Jesus was fully God and fully human, yet without sin. Without that understanding, Jesus was only a good man who died an unnecessary death.
Jesus is the image of God and the first born of all creation it says! Now sometimes this word “first born” gets construed to mean that Jesus was not eternally God but came into existence sometime differently than God Himself. However, though the word “first born” is used often for the birth of the first child in a family, it is also used as one who is preeminent. For instance, Israel is the firstborn nation, they were not the first nation to exist, but they are the preeminent nation of all nations. Jesus is first born in that He is preeminent, He is highest in rank and power, not first created. Jesus was not created, He has always existed and existed eternally before everything He created. Hebrews 13:8 tells us that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is eternal.
Jesus is eternally God and we know that because Jesus is the Creator of all things.
~ Creator of All Things (v. 16)
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.
The word “for” in verse 16 tells us that what follows is the answer as to why Jesus is the first born or preeminent One from the previous verse. Why? Because Jesus is the agent through which all things were created in heaven and on earth. We have been studying the magnificence of God’s universe in our Sunday morning adult class. The word “heaven” is sometimes used in Scripture in reference to the atmosphere around the earth where the birds fly. Sometimes is means the universe outside our atmosphere where the stars and planets exist. And sometimes it refers to the place where God and His angels dwell. Here, I believe it is used in a general sense of everything created that is not the earth.
The reason I say that is because of what he says next in verse 16; “visible and invisible.” We cannot see to the end of the universe, we cannot see God’s place of residence with His saints, and we cannot see the angels that He has created. We can see some of the planets and star systems, but certainly not all of it. We can see the earth which he created, but even there we are limited when it comes to seeing very deeply into the earth’s crust and even into some of the deepest crevices in the ocean.
Paul says that Jesus created the “thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities.” These are various categories of angels whom Christ created and rules over. There is no comment regarding whether they are holy or fallen, since he is Lord of both groups. Whatever their rank, whether holy or fallen, they are mere creatures, and their Creator is none other than the preeminent One, the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The purpose of his catalog of angelic ranks is to show the immeasurable superiority of Christ over any being that He has created. Why? “All things were created through Him and for Him.” So, Jesus is not only the agent of creation, He is the goal of creation! Jesus created all things for His glory, for His pleasure.
Jesus is eternally God, an exact representation of God. Jesus is the Creator of all things and now in verse 17, we see He is the Sustainer of all things.
~ Sustainer of All Things (v. 17)
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Jesus existed before any of creation existed. We have already been told that Jesus created all thing through His power and for His glory. But since He existed before all things and then created all things, He is the one that holds all things in its existence. He makes sure all things in this created universe continue to function in the way He designed it to function.
In our Sunday morning Adult Class we have been learning about how this universe operates. Our planet rotates a 1,000 miles an hour and we orbit the sun at 67,000 miles an hour. The gravitational pulls between the sun and planets keep everything orbiting in perfect sequence. If the One who designed it and created it, also sustains it, we can believe that the sun will appear on the eastern horizon tomorrow morning at the allotted time even if we can’t see it due to a cloud cover.
Jesus sustains His creation. Christ sustains the universe, maintaining the power and balance necessary for life’s existence and continuity. Jesus is eternally God, Creator God, sustaining God, and if that is not enough, we find in verse 18 that He is preeminent God.
~ Preeminent (v. 18)
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.
Jesus is the head of the body of believers called the church. In 1 Corinthians 12, we find the different members of Christ’s Body, those who are believers in Jesus, pictured like body parts in a human body working together as a whole. All those who are a part of the body of Christ, called the church is under the governance of Jesus as the head. Jesus is the beginning. In other words, it was through the work of Jesus that the church began. Jesus came, lived a sinless life, but died a sinner’s death for us.
If that were the end, we would have nothing in which to place our faith. But praise God, it’s not the end of it! Jesus was the first born from that death. Jesus rose in victory over sin, death, and hell. Now all who believe in Him will experience this same resurrection to a new life. Hallelujah!
Thus, Jesus has preeminence not only in the creation of all things, in sustaining all things, but in resurrection life. In other words, there is nothing that Jesus is not a part of that He doesn’t have the preeminence. Jesus has first place; he holds the highest rank. Unfortunately, we often do not hold Jesus as preeminent in our lives, but that is the place He should have. He should be first place, the most important aspect of our lives. Why? Why should Jesus be the first and most important thing in my life? Verses 19-20 answer that.
~ The Fullness of God (vv. 19-20)
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.
Why is Jesus preeminent? Because all the fullness of God dwells in Him. I like the word translated “fullness.” It is the word πλήρωμα (pleroma) and it means to have been filled or given a full measure to the point of overflowing. In other words, Jesus is completely and fully God! All that God is, is found in Jesus. Jesus is the totality of God’s divine power and attributes. Jesus is the full revelation of the character of God. The divine fullness of God means that Jesus is God. This does make sense, since Jesus is Creator, Sustainer, and preeminent!
But what is even more spectacular is that it is through Jesus, God reconciles a sinful world to Himself. As sinners, we are the enemies of God. We are separated from Him and need reconciliation. Without a way of reconciliation, we are doomed to eternal death, eternal separation, eternal punishment. But through the sacrificial blood of Jesus on the cross, Jesus made reconciliation possible. But this is only possible if Jesus has the fullness of God.
God, who cannot die, sent Jesus His Son to become human flesh, so that He could die for sin, though He never committed a sin. He died taking the penalty for your sin and my sin. Then by His resurrection from that death brought eternal life in victory over that sin. When we accept the extended invitation of forgiveness of sin, God sees you and me as forgiven and purified. We stand as righteous before the Father. We are reconciled to Him.
Because Jesus is the fullness of God, we can be restored to a right relationship with Him. Not only us, but one day all of this physical heaven and earth that we see will be restored to where it was before the curse of sin. Hallelujah!
Turn with me to Hebrews 1 as we get ready for Communion. The writer of Hebrews says almost the same thing only a little differently. Jesus is eternally God, Creator, Sustainer, and has the full attributes of God as He makes a way of salvation for you and me.
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,
2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
Do you know Jesus? I don’t mean know about Him. Do you know Him in a personal way? Remember from two weeks ago, the difference between knowledge, wisdom, and understanding? It is one thing to know the facts, but to wisely integrate what we know into our lives in practice brings it all together in understanding. Have you accepted His offer of salvation? If not, why don’t you receive Him today?