He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:15-16 NASB)
Christmas includes trees, it includes presents, it even includes parties and songs but Christmas is truly not about any of those things. Christmas is about the moment in time when the very Creator of the universe entered into His own creation.
Many liberals and progressives attempt to tie Christ's birth to some sort of political narrative or agenda in this day but they are certainly crossing over into a very heretical path when they try to do so. Christ did not come to redistribute wealth, He did not come to allow for illegal immigration, and He certainly did not come for any type of social justice. As much as progressives would love to hijack our Savior for their own political means, the Bible speaks very loudly and very clearly on this subject. Christ came to die and to save sinners!
The last blog post in the Colossians series entitled, "Does Christmas Really Matter?" I addressed verses 13-14 of the 1st chapter of Colossians when Christ's true mission to earth was addressed.
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14 NASB)
Christ's mission was to save sinners. His mission was a rescue mission to save His people from their sin by making the perfect, sacrifice for sin in their place. Jesus Christ did not come into this world for political reasons but for eternal reasons. Without the Creator of the universe entering His creation to die on the cross, there would be no salvation from sin.
In this post, I want to talk about this Creator and why He is the only qualified person to make that atoning sacrifice. I want to talk about how Jesus is perfectly qualified to be the Savior of the world.
Before we dig into the verses here in Colossians, let's take a look at some other passages as well.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. (John 1:1-3 NASB)
The first 18 verses of the book of John is one of the best testimonies to the Deity of Christ in all of the Bible. For in it we have it established very clearly that Jesus Christ is not only eternally God but is also the very Creator of the universe. It is this very Creator that is in view in our main text in Colossians chapter 1.
These first 3 verses here in John make it abundantly clear that Jesus Christ, who John refers to in his writings as the "Word," is not only eternal by being in the beginning, was with God Almighty in this beginning, but was also God Himself. This is why many including myself will say the best proof of the doctrine of the Trinity is in the Incarnation of the Son of God, the Creator of the universe.
This "beginning," spoken of in verses 1-2 do not refer to an origin point in time but speak of the fact that this beginning is eternal in nature; meaning that as far back as you can go, the Word is still in existence because He has no origin point in time. For the creation to have a beginning point, then someone or something that is spaceless, timeless, and immaterial that was already in existence would have to be the uncaused first cause of all things that have come into existence.
This is the shift you get when you arrive at verse 3. It states that all things that have come into existence owe their origin to this one that John calls the "Word." Verse 3 of John chapter 1 clearly states that nothing would exist were it not for this eternal Creator that we know to be Jesus Christ.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NASB)
This Word that John speaks of, this eternal God became flesh. The Creator entered His creation and dwelt (tabernacled) among us. He is the unique, the one and only Son of God. He is the full and complete explanation or exegesis of the eternal God which brings us to Colossians chapter 1 where we will pick up in verse 15.
He is the image of the invisible God.
Jesus Christ is the eternal God now made visible in human flesh. To see Jesus is to see the Father. In the incarnation of Christ you have the infinite Creator entering finite creation. In the incarnation of Christ you have the Trinity on display as the 2nd person of the Trinity has made Himself manifest. Jesus Christ did not cease to be Deity in His incarnation but simply added human flesh to His Deity and set aside His independent use of His Deity in submission to the will of the Father while on earth.
The firstborn of all creation.
This does not mean that Jesus was the first thing created. While the Greek word translated "firstborn" can mean chronological order it does not mean that here. The immediate context and the context of the larger scope of Scripture does not allow for this interpretation. Rather, it draws on the other meaning of the word which means "chief, preeminence." This has the idea of rank or authority meaning that of all creation Christ is the preeminent one, He is the chief of all creation because He created everything as the first chapter of John and other Scripture tells us including Colossians.
Take into consideration the immediate context directly following this verse when it states:
For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things have been created through Him and for Him. (Colossians 1:16 NASB)
If the term firstborn meant that Jesus Christ was the first created of all the created order then the consistency of the book of Colossians would be completely lost at this point and you could not trust anything the author wrote because the author would have just said that Christ was created but then turns around in the very next verse and says that Christ created everything that exists.
Paul, the author of Colossians, makes it abundantly clear that Christ is the preeminent one, He is the chief of creation because He created everything. Everything that exists in heaven or on earth including all rulers, authorities, and powers owes their existence to the same Creator.
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.
Not only is Jesus Christ the Creator of the universe and the true reason for Christmas but He is also the very power that holds everything together. The reason you don't ever see the creation just falling apart or going to ruin is because it is sustained by the very power of Jesus Christ.
He is also the head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (Colossians 1:18 NASB)
Because of who Jesus is, because He is the Creator, because He is the One who died for sinners, because He is the One who is God incarnate, because He is the One who by His power the creation sustains and persists, because He is the One who was raised from the dead and is eternal life Himself, He is also the rightful head of the New Testament church.
The church is Christ's church because He is the one who died for it. Jesus came to earth, came into His own creation to die for the sins of the ones who will place their faith in Him, so He is the rightful head of the church that is constituted of those believers.
He is also the firstborn from the dead meaning that He is the first to have an eternal, glorified body fit for the Kingdom of God. This body He received when He rose from the dead. This is the same experience we look forward to when we will experience the resurrection of the dead when Christ returns.
It is because of all this and more that it can rightly be said that Jesus Christ has first place in all things. All things are summed up in Christ. Jesus is the preeminent one! There is nothing that would exist outside of Him and without His sacrifice on the cross, no flesh would be saved.
This Christmas I am eternally grateful to my King, my Savior, and my God who created me and died for me so that I can have eternal life through faith in Him. He is the eternal God! He is the Creator that entered His creation on that first Christmas day.