Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. (NKJV)
Jesus is amazing. And THAT is the understatement of the century. What can be discovered about the Lord is limited only to the amount of time and effort you want invest.
In less than half a dozen verses in Colossians, chapter 1, we find that Jesus is the superior Being of the Universe, subordinate only to God the Father, but in all ways equal to Him (trying to get a handle on that fact alone will shrivel a few brain cells!). It is a testimony to the Apostle Paul’s incredible writing skills inspired by the Holy Spirit that so much truth can be encapsulated in such a few number of words.
As we go over these statements about the Lord Jesus,
try to make it more than just a “study”.
Make it personal. He is YOUR Savior.
What do I mean by that? Okay, imagine this… think about a friend or family member that you are extremely close to, and that you have an intense love for. Now, pretend that I come to you and say “I know your loved one very well. I have some wonderful things to tell you about them”. At this point, would you be listening to me as if I was passing on information about my neighbor’s garage sale? Or would you be listening with all your heart hoping to hear and discover something new about the precious person you love?
Let’s listen to the Apostle Paul now, longing to hear and discover something deeper, something new or something fresh about our precious Lord and Savior who freely gave Himself so that we might be saved….
Jesus Bought Us Out of Hell
Colossians 1:14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
To redeem means to purchase out of a situation for a specific purpose. It means to buy back something which was previously held; or to release something in exchange for some form of payment.
Here’s the ugly truth: we deserve hell. And unless someone buys us our freedom, we are going there. And there is nothing unfair about it. We have all sinned and violated the standard of a Holy God (Rom 3.23). It is a universal law that sin brings death (Rom 6.23). It started with Adam and Eve (Gen 2.17) and will not end until this creation is consumed in fire and the new creation is complete (2Pet 3.10).
We were headed for hell. Jesus went and bought our way out. He paid the price necessary to free us. He paid the only price that could be paid; a price that only He could pay; and it was the ultimate price. He didn’t have to. But He did because of love (John 3.16).
1 Corinthians 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (NKJV)
You belong to Christ now. He purchased you. Jesus is a slave trader… and be glad for it. You were a slave to sin, a slave to “your father the Devil” (John 8.44); destined for eternal torment and never ending separation from God (2Thess 1.9). And along came your Savior and purchased you; you are His slave now. But unlike human slave masters, Jesus is merciful, patient, loving and kind.
You WANT to be a slave to Jesus
because He is the perfect Master.
Jesus the Redeemer… He paid the price that God required to keep us out of hell; to have our sins forgiven; and to buy us back from the slavery of sin. If that doesn’t put a little “hitch in your giddy-up”, I’m not sure what will.
Jesus is First in All Creation
Colossians 1:15-17 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (NKJV; emphasis mine)
Jesus is FIRST. He is preeminent in all things which means “of the utmost importance”, the highest rank and having “paramount dignity” (paramount means dominant, supreme or ultimate; dignity is the quality or state of being worthy, honored or esteemed).
Jesus is the “firstborn over all creation”. Firstborn doesn’t mean that Jesus was “born first” because of course He is eternal (Rev 5.13-14); He was never born in the sense that humans are (the result of human intercourse and life appeared where no life previously existed). Firstborn in this context means the first in line, in the highest place or the first chronologically. The idea in verse 15 is when all that exists is examined by the Father, Jesus is the “first”. Why? Verse 16 tells us:
- All things in heaven and earth were created by Jesus
- All things whether you can see them or not, were created by Jesus
- All things, whether the thrones of kings or angels; whether the offices of royalty or government on earth or in heaven; whether powers of men or angels… all things were created by Christ
Jesus is firstborn. All things were created by Him,
for Him, through Him, after Him and exist because of Him.
JESUS IS FIRST.
Now notice the comprehensive nature of this fact. The Apostle Paul leaves no wiggle room. Any religion, society, cult or man (Christian or otherwise) who attempts to make Christ less than what He really is, speaks of “another Jesus” because the Bible leaves no doubt as to Who and What Jesus is. To say that Jesus is just one of many great Teachers (which many people do) is to degrade Him. To say that He is an “enlightened being” (which many non-Christian religions do) is to rob Him of His true nature.
To say that Jesus was the first “born again” man to reach his full potential in God (a large and growing segment of evangelical Christianity is teaching this doctrine) is to pull Jesus down to our level (while elevating us to His because we can be born again just the same as He was. The Biblically alert Christian will quickly realize that this is the same lie Satan told Eve – Gen 3.4; the foundation of all false religion).
Several VERY prominent Christian personalities today teach that Jesus “never claimed to be God”. He claimed to be “like” God; the “image of God” (which of course He most certainly is; but He is much more than that as well). To say the Jesus is the “image of God” but NOT equal and the same with God Himself constitutes preaching “another Jesus”. Why would someone teach this? Simply… to make humans equal with Christ. To make us like God.
Follow the supposed “logic” of this dangerous teaching :
- Jesus “never claimed to be God”;
- Jesus was the “image” of God, just like man (Adam first) was created in the image of God;
- Jesus was the first “born again” man; we are “born again”.
- Jesus “tapped” God’s power and we will do “more and greater” than Jesus (incorrectly supported with John 14.12).
- So the conclusion is that we are equal to or greater than Jesus…. or in others we are equal to God. We are gods.
Very, very, very dangerous stuff. We have a segment of prominent Christianity who openly proclaim that we are “gods (little ‘g’)”. This teaching is becoming more and more popular, so beware. By the way, this is not a new false teaching; it’s as old as the human race:
Genesis 3:5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (NKJV)
All non-Christian religions can be traced back to the ancient idea that man is god. If you think about it, there are only two choices: either God is God and all that He proclaims is true; or man is the highest intelligence in creation and therefore he is god. If man is god, there is no need for the true God. That is why Satan works so hard to convince men that we are “gods”…. little ‘g’.
It is important that you are aware that this is being taught in major Christian circles. It’s not a simple matter of a differing opinion, or just disagreements about Bible interpretation. This teaching is flat-out proclaiming a different Jesus than the Biblical One. And salvation is only available through the one true Son of God, preeminent, firstborn, creator and God. So it is an issue of salvation.
Wow, there is so much more that follows in this section of Scripture (Col 1.9-29)… but that’s enough for today. Tomorrow we will look at Jesus the PeaceMaker, and the Jesus the Reconciler.
Lord, Help us to see Your Son for who He is. Help us to worship and adore Him as first, preeminent, creator and sustainer. May we never rob Him of the honor that is His. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Contemplation: What is your opinion of Jesus? Have you ever really contemplated just who He actually is? Do value Jesus to the same degree the Bible does?
Application: When all of life is boiled down, only one thing really matters: are you going to heaven or going to hell when you die? There is only one way to heaven, and only one Door (Jesus) through which you can enter. Be careful, cautious and diligent in examining what you hear taught about Jesus Christ. Be alert for any teaching that lessens Jesus (even subtley) and elevates man (except in the Scripturally correct way where man is valuable, worthy or loved because of what Christ has done).
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?