Divine Pre-eminence of Christ
Colossians 1:12 – 20
By pre-eminence we mean supremacy, superiority, incomparableness. Christ is beyond everything. I would say that words cannot describe who he is and the entire adjective in the superlative degree in the English language still fall short of what or who really He is. Paul to combat the Colossian Heresy wrote this letter to tell the believers the all sufficiency of Christ and His position as the preeminent Saviour.
I. Jesus Christ is King and He rules (v. 13)
A. God the Father has delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear son. The saviour is the Father and says here that the son has a kingdom. That means Jesus is King.
B. If Christ is king, how is presented in the scriptures?
1. Pilate wrote that he is the King of the Jews. John 19:19.
2. Nathaniel calls him King of Israel. Jn. 1:49, and so are his followers. Jn. 12:13
3. He Himself admitted and declared that He is a King. Mt. 25: 34 Jn. 18: 36-37.
4. The Book of Revelations tells us of His supremacy over all kings. Re 1:5; 19:16.
5. A King who shall overcome His enemies. Ps 110:1; Mr 12:36; 1Co 15:25; Re 17:14.
My king was born king. The Bible says He is the seven-way king. He is the king of the Jews. That’s a racial king. He is king of Israel. That’s a national king. He’s a king of righteousness. He’s a king of the ages. He’s the king of heaven. He is the king of glory. He’s the King of kings and Lord of lords. Now that’s my king. —-Dr. S. M. Lockridge, Dallas, Texas
II. The Redeemer from Our sins. (v. 14)
A. By His shed blood we have “redemption”
1. Redemption means deliverance and freedom from the penalty of sin by the payment of a ransom–the substitutionary death of Christ. .
2. Redemption pictures the Lord Jesus Christ paying the awful price required by our sin. Jesus Christ came into the slave market of this fallen world and paid the full price to redeem men by His blood and death.
B. By His shed blood, we have forgiveness of sins
1. In the OT forgiveness means “to cover”, “to lift away”, and “to send away”
2. In the NT is the separation of the sinner from his sins thru the sacrifice of Christ and upon the ground of pure grace” —-R. Lee.
3. Mark 2:7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? See also Eph. 1:7
Only God can forgive sin, but Christ forgave the sinner in many occasions like in Lk. 7:49. His powers to forgive sins show his superiority and pre-eminence.
III. The image of the invisible God (v. 15).
A. The word image means representation or manifestation. Jesus represents the Father.
1. If we have seen Jesus, we have seen the Father (Jn. 1:14, 14:9). In Christ God became visible to man (Jn. 1:1, 14, 18).
2. Jesus is the express image of God (Heb. 1:3). He does not merely resemble but represent God (Rom. 8:29, 1 Cor. 15:29) in all His fulness and perfection. As the image of God, the invisible God, He is therefore God.
3. Jesus has all the attributes of God, eternal, unchangeable, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. We see God in the person of Christ.
IV. The first born of every creature (v. 15)
A. First born in Greek means highest priority of position. It does not speak of time but of title. First born sons automatically become the heir and manager of the family.
1. Adam was the first man and is also called son of God (Lk. 3:8) but he is not the first born. Adam became unfit to retain authority over the world so the Second Man, Christ became the first born.
2. Israel was called first born in Ex. 4:22 though definitely they were not the first nation.
3. In many instances in the Bible the one born first was set aside and the rights of the first born was given to another. Look at Ismael and Isaac, Esau and Jacob, Manasseh and Ephraim.
4. First born of every creature or overall creation was the term use by Paul to emphasize that Jesus Christ’s unique and exalted position, over all creations.
Colossians 1:15-18 is the verse used by Paul to refute the errors that are going on during his time. These verses can also be used to refute Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, Iglesia ni Cristo’s, etc. which denies Jesus Christ of His full glory and deity. This phrase is not to be understood as Jesus being the first creation. False teachers taught that Jesus was the highest angelic level next to the high god. It must be interpreted in its Jewish OT setting. Jesus was God’s unique son (cf. John 1:18; 3:16,18; I John 4:9), yet Jesus was always God (cf. 1:17; John 1:1; 5:18; 10:30; 14:9; 20:28). He became a human in time, at Bethlehem, so that fallen mankind could comprehend and understand God (cf. John 1:14,18).
V. The Creator of all things (v. 16- 17a).
A. John 1:3, and Heb. 1:2 says that Jesus Christ created “all” things. That includes the world we live in and the whole universe. It also includes material or immaterial things, heaven and earth, the visible and invisible things. Things we see and cannot see.
B. The words “thrones”, “powers”, “ruler”, and “authorities” probably refers to angelic beings, hierarchy of angels whether good or evil. They are under control and power of Jesus. False teachers included worship of angels in their teachings.
C. The term “created by Him” means He is the agent or the instrument of creation. Jesus Christ is the God of creation.
D. “For Him” means the creation is designed for the purpose of the glory of Christ. He created everything for His glorification.
E. As the creator of all things, we can say that He was already there or He already existed before anything was created, that is why in verse 17, He is before all things.
VI. In Him all things consist (v. 17b)
A. The term here means “to hold together”. The whole earth and the whole universe were in order because Jesus Christ holds them together by His unlimited power, his omnipotence. Heb. 1:3 says “upholding all things by the word of his power”
B. The law of gravity, the laws of physics, are not only scientific laws but I consider them Divine law also. If Christ can manage to hold everything together, the sun, the moon, the stars, planets, asteroids, meteors, atoms, molecules, etc., He can manage our lives.
VII. The Head of the body, the church (v. 18a)
A. A New Testament church is an organized assembly of baptized believers who band together for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission
B. The human body is used as a metaphor for the church, in which Christ is the head.
C. Paul uses this to tell that Christ has the supremacy, authority, control of the church.
D. As the head directs and controls all the activities of the human body, so Christ directs and controls all the activities of the church (1 Cor. 12:12, Eph. 1:22).
VIII. The beginning, the first born from the dead (v. 18b).
A. It is interesting to see that there are two very distinct first born here, first born of every creature which means literally first born of all creation because He is the creator, and first born from the dead.
B. Firstborn from the dead means “He is the first to rise from the dead, never to die again.
C. There were three people in the NT who were raised from the dead. The daughter of Jairus, the son of the widow from Nain, and Lazarus. They were raised from the dead, lived and died again. But Jesus when He rose from the dead, he lived forever.
D. Jesus Christ is the first to have resurrection body, a glorified body, that is why he is the “first fruit of them that slept” ( 1 Cor. 15:20, 23). He is the firstborn from the dead. Again supremacy and pre-eminence.
IX. In Him should all fulness dwell (v. 19).
A. I would interpret the word “fullness” here as referring to the “fullness of God”. That all the attributes of God and qualities of God’s divine essence are in Christ.
B. Not only that these attributes and divine essence “dwells” in him or resides in Him permanently.
C. Paul summarizes this in Col. 2:9 “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”.
X. Ministry of Reconciliation (v. 20)
A. Through Christ’s shed blood on the cross, we have reconciliation
B. Reconciliation is to change from enmity to friendship; to restore a relationship (Mt 5:24; 1Co 7:11.
C. The reconciliation of man to God is the blessed character of God’s present ministry towards the world (2Co 5:18-20).
Jesus Christ is surely preeminent or superior to anybody. He is God. He is our King, our Savior from our sins, the image of the invisible God, the first born of every creature, the creator of all things, the sustainer of all things, the head of the body the church, the beginning, the first born from the dead, the fullness of the Godhead, and the reconciler of all things. I hope this is more than enough for you to appreciate the person and work of Christ. Come to Christ, be saved, serve Him, and be blessed beyond your imagination.
Preached: 17 Feb. 2013