Colossians 1: 18 – 29 (NLT)
“18 Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body.
He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead. So he is first in everything.
19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.”
Yesterday we looked at Jesus the creator, the one who created everything and holds it all together. Today, we see Jesus at work in our world. Christ is the head of the church!
We definitely belong to Jesus; we are his body. The second part of verse 18 is sometimes misinterpreted. The Bible tells accounts of people being raised from the dead, even in the Old Testament. So how is Christ supreme over all who rise from the dead? He is the first to rise from the dead and stay alive. Others were brought back to life, only to die again later. So Christ is the first to rise and stay alive, just as all believers will when someday we experience eternal life with him.
These verses also talk about Christ being fully human and fully God at the same time – something that is very difficult for us to comprehend. But it is the truth – “God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ.” That is why Christ’s death completely reconciles us to God – only God’s perfection was good enough to take the punishment for our sin.
Let’s look at all those verses again. This is who Jesus is. This is what Jesus has done. Isn’t it amazing that Creator God would do all that for us?
“15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
16 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world. Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.”
“18 Christ is also the head of the church,
which is his body. He is the beginning,
supreme over all who rise from the dead.
So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness
was pleased to live in Christ,
20 and through him God reconciled
everything to himself.
He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth
by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” Now we’ll finish chapter 1:
“21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.
Paul’s Work for the Church
24 I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.
28 So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom
God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to
Christ. 29 That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.”
Paul repeats what he said in those hymn-like verses. We can be in God’s presence “holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault”. Isn’t that incredible? When I think about all the pathetic things I’ve done and said, it seems impossible that I can stand before God without feeling totally ashamed. Yet, this is truth. Paul says – “you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it.”
This is so important for us to believe. It’s easy to get side-tracked and think we need to do something, give something, etc. to be accepted by God. Some churches even preach that. We need to be so careful not to get pulled into believing that we must do something. Jesus did it all. If you find that hard to believe, post verses 15 to 20 someplace where you can see it. Read it over and over, and ask God to help you to trust him completely.
Hebrews 1:3 (NLT)
“The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honour at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.”