In lesson three in our Colossians Study, we read Col 1: 15-23. From these verses, Paul describes the following characteristics of Jesus:
1. Christ is the visible image of the invisible God (vs15). If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus. Similarly, the writer of Hebrews called Jesus the very character and nature of God imprinted (stamped) in human flesh (Heb 1:3).
2. … is supreme over all creation. The word supreme in verse 15 is the Greek word prototokos, which means firstborn (the one who inherits all of the father’s possessions and authority, like a prince who becomes king upon the father’s death) or the preeminent one. Jesus is preeminent over all creation. Only God can be preeminent over creation.
3. He existed before anything… (vs 16) Jesus existed before anything, therefore Jesus is eternal.
4. Through him God created everything. Everything that exists was created by God through Jesus. Likewise, the Apostle John says that Jesus created everything that was created (John 1:3). This verse also indicates the separate divine personality of the Son to the Father (the Trinity).
5. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see. Jesus created angels and all of the heavenly realms.
6. Everything was created through him and for him. Not only did Jesus create everything, everything that Jesus created is specifically for him and for his glory. Everything belongs to him. We belong to him. Only God can have this kind of authority.
7. He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together (vs 17). Jesus not only eternally existed before creation, Jesus holds all of creation together at this very moment. The reason we are alive at this moment and why anything that we know exists at all is because of Jesus. The writer of Hebrews says that Jesus upholds the universe by the word of His power (Heb 1:3). This kind of power is unimaginable; it is the power of God.
8. Christ is also the head of the church (vs 18). As the divine Son of God who willingly became a man in order to come to Earth and give himself to save human beings from the penalty of sin, Jesus is the head of the church and is the one who the church worships.
9. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. Jesus is described as supreme over all who rise from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection means that death itself and the power of sin is conquered and makes a believer’s resurrection possible.
10. So he is first in everything. Jesus is first and supreme in everything as creator, sustainer, and savior. Therefore, we should place Him first in everything.
11. For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ (vs 19). When Jesus came to Earth, he was both God and man, a perfect human being who had all the fullness of God in him.
12. and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross (vs 20). God took the initiative to save human beings from sin and make a way to pay the penalty of sin by means of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. God poured out his wrath for sin upon Jesus on the cross. The creator acted to make a way of salvation for the creation he made, and forever break the power of sin and death.
Jesus is the eternal creator and sustainer, the one who created us for his glory. He is the one who holds everything together and is the exact image of God. This is why there is salvation in no other. Because of who Jesus is and what he has done for us, he alone is worthy of our worship. Repentance and faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life, a life that only Jesus makes possible.
This past week in our Bible study, we read Colossians 1:9-14. In these verses, Paul prays for the Colossian believers who he is writing to - people he has never met but never the less has a great love for. In this prayer, Paul prays that the Colossians would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will, with wisdom, and spiritual understanding. Paul also prays for these specific requests for the Colossians:
This prayer reminds us that God wants to help us, his people, with our growth as believers. Scott Duncan mentioned a video with Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Scott Hamilton, who tells his story of how God helped him through times of suffering with cancer and brain tumors. The video is below:
Last Saturday, we began our new study guide in Colossians. Paul wrote the letter to the church in Colossae from a Roman prison. The church in Colossae was founded by Paul’s friend Epaphras, who Paul describes as a faithful co-worker and a faithful servant of Christ.
In the opening verses, Paul describes the Colossians using these terms:
As Scott Duncan asked us: how strong is your faith? If Paul were writing to you today, how would he describe you?
We completed our Galatians Study Guide. Below are the review/recap questions for our table groups on Saturday, January 14:
This past Saturday, Scott Duncan challenged us with this statement:
“As we repent and confess our sins, God works in our lives in powerful ways. Change is from the inside out.”
Our final lesson in Galatians 6: 1-18 is about sowing to the spirit, as opposed to sowing to the flesh. The term “sowing” is a term for planting seed, and is used here to describe what we invest our lives in. If we invest our lives in the spirit, we will reap or harvest the grace and knowledge of God and the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives as God changes us. On the other hand, if we invest our lives in selfish, worldly desires, then we will only reap those things, and not exhibit any spiritual fruit or have the benefits and hope of God’s grace and knowledge.
How will we know if we are sowing to the spirit? As my table group partner Rodney McClellan said on Saturday:
“It will show as you grow, so others will know.”