World English Bible translation
1:15who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 1:16 For by him were all things created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and to him.
Today’s scripture falls in the middle of Paul’s hymn to the Lord Jesus Christ. This section of the Letter to the Colossians had begun with Paul telling the Colossians that they should give thanks to God for bringing them out of darkness and into the kingdom of His Son. Paul writes that in this kingdom there is redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Yesterday’s lesson concerned the next phrase, that Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. Today’s lesson concerns this creative element of Jesus Christ.
"For by him were all things created…" We typically do not think of Jesus being actively involved in the creation of the world. We read of His birth in the manger of Bethlehem and though we are told of His pre-existence that wonderful story of His birth tends to cause our minds to start right there in thinking about Him. But what we are told in the Gospel of John and the Epistle to the Hebrews and here in the Letter to the Colossians is that Jesus Christ existed long before Bethlehem. From the foundation of the world, Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.
Here we are told that not only did Christ exist before the incarnation, but also He significantly contributed to the creation of the world. The person who we know as Jesus Christ created everything that we have ever experienced. We can see this concept in reality through the miracles that He did. When Jesus told His disciples to put out their nets, the fish that filled them were created to fill the nets. When Jesus fed the five thousand on the hillside in Galilee, the bread and the fish were created from the same creative substance that parted the seas and hung the moon.
"…In the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers…" As Christians, we believe that there is not just a physical reality that exists in the world. There is also a spiritual reality that is just as substantive. Spiritual beings exist that serve God and others exist that oppose His will. Paul often refers to these spiritual beings as principalities and powers. It is quite possible that thrones and dominions are opposed to principalities and powers here in the same way that visible and invisible things are compared in the earlier phrase.
Paul's purpose is not to inform us of the existence of these spiritual beings. In his world, no one would have doubted their reality. What Paul is trying to tell the Colossians is that all of these spiritual beings are subservient to Jesus Christ. All created beings are responsible to Jesus Christ for their existence. All of them exist at His discretion. Our relationship with Jesus is with the Supreme Being of the universe. There is no higher person that we may worship or serve.
"…All things have been created through him, and to him." The purpose of creation is so that the person of Jesus Christ might be revealed to the world. From the beginning, God's purpose was to reveal His mercy and His grace. The purpose of this world is to acknowledge His existence and supremacy. When we acknowledge Christ as our Lord and our Savior, we are accomplishing that which we were created to achieve. There is no higher goal and purpose of mankind than to believe in the Son of God.
Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your creator as well as your savior? Do you believe in the invisible world of the heavens, of principalities and powers? Do you acknowledge Jesus Christ as the Supreme Being of your world?
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