Study Notes

Colossians 1:15-20


Paul's epistle to the Christians at Colossae is packed full of doctrinal truth that we all need to be aware of. This morning, we examine six verses that focus completely on the Person, Position, and Work of Jesus Christ.

Picking up the context from verse fourteen, where we left off last week, we saw that in Jesus we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

1:15-16 The Image Of The Invisible God

Image: In the Greek language, this word is "i-KONE", from which we get our English word "icon." It means "image, likeness, representation, or manifestation."

Jesus is the icon of God, Who we cannot see. Jesus shows us the true image and likeness of God. He represents God to us, and is in fact God Himself manifested in the flesh.

The author of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is...

Hebr. 1:3 the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature...

Jesus prayed to the Father,

John 17:6 "I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world..."

He was demonstrating and living the very nature of the Father. He pictured and personified the Father in every way.

While we could not comprehend God in His invisibility and His infinite glory, He lowered Himself, humbled Himself, emptied Himself, so that we could see and understand. That's why John wrote,

John 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

He showed us the Father's image so well that when...

John 14:8-9 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and {yet} you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father..."

Now many of the cults don't have a problem with the fact that Jesus represented God to us. But they don't believe that He was God Himself.

Again, the Scriptures are plentiful and clear. Jesus is the Word, and the Bible says,

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

It was not just the apostles who identified Jesus as God. Jesus Himself claimed to be God. He told the Jews,

John 8:56-59 "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw {it} and was glad." The Jews therefore said to Him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him...

Jesus claimed to be the eternal God, the "I am." He said,

Rev. 1:17 ..."Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last"

Isa. 44:6 "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.

Who is the Lord of Hosts? The first and the last. Who is the first and the last? Jesus Christ.

A basic question to ask could certainly be, "Who created everything?" We know that the Bible begins by saying,

Gen. 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Since God created the heavens and the earth, then we simply need to read the next verse here in Colossians for confirmation of the Deity of Jesus Christ...

Created By Him

All things were created by Jesus. If Jesus were not God Himself, then the Bible could not make that claim. The gospel of John says,

John 1:3 All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

Now again, the cults have some fancy word games to explain this away. They say, "Well, God created Jesus, and then Jesus made everything else." The easy answer to that is that "all things" cannot mean "all things except Himself." A second issue they have not answered is the simplicity of Genesis 1:1. It certainly does not say, "In the beginning God created Jesus, who then created the heavens and the earth."

Firstborn Of All Creation

If Jesus was not the "first thing created," then what does it mean that He is the firstborn of all creation? In Bible days, the first-born was the inheritor of the father's estate - everything the father had would be given to the son. The same is true for Jesus Christ. He inherited everything. Jesus said,

John 3:35 "The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand."

The author of Hebrews mentions another important point about Jesus being the first-born. When Jesus came to earth in the form of a human being, born of a virgin, the Father issued a command:

Hebr. 1:6 And when He again brings the first-born into the world, He says, AND LET ALL THE ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM."

Some of the cults claim that Jesus Himself is Michael the Archangel. If this were true, then the Father would have said, "And let all the OTHER angels worship him."

So Jesus is not a created being. He is not an angel. He is not merely a man who told us about God. He is God Himself - the Creator of all things.

Now, that job is not over, because once everything was created, it had to be maintained...

1:17 All Things Hold Together

In Him, all things hold together. Hebrews tells us that He...

Hebr. 1:3 ...upholds all things by the word of His power...

He's keeping every molecule in creation from blowing apart. He is the reason that the pew underneath you doesn't turn to sawdust. He is the reason that you don't melt into the basic elements out of which you're constructed.

However, a time is coming when He will let go. Peter wrote,

2Pet. 3:10 ...the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.

In that day, everything will be wiped out and erased. The next question Peter asked is,

2Pet. 3:11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be...

This is a good opportunity to ask yourself that same question. "If Jesus is holding me together right now, am I in rebellion against Him? If God is going to let everything blow apart and be destroyed, what kind of person am I? What does my life look like right now? Is my relationship with God one of peace, or one of rebellion?"

1:18-20 Peace Through The Blood Of His Cross

It's all about Jesus. He made everything, He holds everything together, He has inherited everything, and so He has first place in everything. Since it's all based on Him, then we should understand that if we're going to be reconciled in our relationship with God, it's all going to be about Him too.

It says here that He...

Col. 1:20 ...made peace through the blood of His cross...

When God wanted us to know Who He was, He came to earth in the form of a man. And when God wanted to save us from the penalty that our rebellion against Him incurred, He paid the price of that penalty by dying on that cross in our place.

Every one of us has rebelled against God.

Rom. 3:23 ...all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

That sin made us enemies of God

Isa. 59:2 ...your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God...

If you die while your sins keep you separated from God, you will die forever.

Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death...

But, if you allow Him to make peace between you, through the blood of His cross, you will have everlasting life. He paid the price of your death penalty. If you believe that and receive it, you will receive that life.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

God loves you and doesn't want you to die in your sin.

Rom. 5:8 ...God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

He has made peace through the blood of His cross. Will you receive Jesus Christ and enter into that peace this morning?

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