Author: Ron Graham
Having considered, in our study of Colossians, the principle of God’s Full Pleasure, we now enter into the second principle: Christ’s Full Divinity.
There are a number of ways in which "Christ is all and in all" (Colossians 3:11). One is that all things came into being through him. Or to put it another way, all things owe to Christ their very existence.
Paul makes three related statements about Christ and the universe (Colossians 1:16-17). First, all things were created by him; second, he is before all things; third, in him all things hold together. They are the points of our lesson...
Paul very carefully defines the fullness of Christ’s work, power, and function as Creator.
First, Paul says that "all things were created by Christ" —and later adds "...through him and for him." (Colossians 1:16). All things were created by Christ, through Christ, and for Christ. That doesn't leave any room to detract from Christ’s creative work or his part in Creation.
Second, The scope of Christ’s creation was all things "that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible" (Colossians 1:16). Paul makes sure we do not think that Jesus was the Creator of merely physical and visible things.
Third, Paul includes all authorities, "thrones or dominions or principalities or powers" (Colossians 1:16).
Christ himself has no Creator. He created, and has dominion over, all creatures: angels, gods, devils, human beings, animals, mountains —or anything else supposed to have dominion.
However great any dominion may be, Christ is its Creator and that makes him greater, the supreme Ruler over all. This supreme authority was recognized by God (the Father) when he "delivered us from the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Colossians 1:13).
Paul says that Christ, in his death and resurrection, "threw aside principalities and powers, and made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them" (Colossians 2:15).
We could have implied from Paul’s description of Christ’s part in creation that Christ is eternal —but Paul tells us anyway, "He is before all things" (Colossians 1:17).
Paul does not say that Christ was the first created being. Rather, he "is before" all creation. Christ had no beginning. He himself is called "the beginning" (Colossians 1:18).
Everything created exists by causes outside of itself and before itself. But Christ is the Original Cause, whether it be of a grain of sand, or of our very life and salvation.
Paul says, "in him all things hold together" (Colossians 3:17). Christ is not just the Starter of creation, but is involved in its every process and development. "Christ is all and in all" (Colossians 3:11).
As a parallel, Christ didn't merely start his church (his new creation), but continues to be involved in its process and development, right down to every part.
One view of the cosmos is that everything that is caused becomes itself a cause, and so things develop in complexity over time. Furthermore, the original cause becomes more and more estranged from the subsequent causes as the progression continues and differences compound over time.
Paul, however, sees Christ not only as the original Cause, but the One who holds all things together —at all levels he connects one cause to another such that order rules, and chaos is defeated.
Common sense or the natural wisdom would see God’s Son seated with his Father at the ultimate seat of authority, far removed from the daily details of life among lesser beings —and beneath him there's a descending order of authorities and powers, from spiritual down to mortal, each power controlling the one below.
This is a case where natural wisdom gets it totally wrong. Paul replaced the natural view by preaching the "mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations but now has been revealed to his saints" (Colossians 1:26).
This revelation is the world’s biggest surprise, and a happy surprise indeed. Once you get hold of this knowledge and wisdom, your world view is completely changed.
Most certainly, Christ is the "head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:10). He is the controller of the controllers. Moreover, he is the Creator of them all, "thrones and dominions, rulers and authorities" (Colossians 1:16).
Christ may not agree with all that the powers and authorities do, and they may even oppose him. Paul was a prisoner of the state "in chains" (Colossians 4:3,10) Nevertheless, Jesus Christ created all powers, and he is before them all and over them all (Colossians 1:17).
It is certainly not true, however, that Christ rules over a multi-level system, one principality or dominion beneath another, with him at the top and us us buried near the bottom in a dominion completely isolated from him. Not so.
Christ is certainly the "head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:10) but he is also "head of the body, the church" (Colossians 1:18). These are not the same thing, but two quite different things.
There are many principalities and powers, but this "body the church" is not composed of them. This “church” is nobody’s kingdom except Christ’s. It has no throne in it but God’s. It is a separate, unique, transcendent kingdom.
All other dominions and kingdoms, whether earthly or spiritual, are outside of and inferior to this kingdom of heaven. Those other kingdoms are not necessary to our relationship with Jesus Christ, because we were directly "translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son" (Colossians 1:13). where there is "neither Greek nor Jew... barbarian nor Sythian" (Colossians 2:11).
In that kingdom or church, we are "partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light... chosen of God, holy and beloved" (Colossians 1:12, 3:12). In other words we have an extremely high status far above anything a mere mortal might expect.
There is a marvelous principle in all of this. We don't need to go through agencies or multi-levels of authorities to reach the Controller of the Universe. We have direct access. We don't need any secret knowledge to gain audience; not even a password; only Christ’s authority.
We can present a request at any time directly to Christ at His Father’s throne! "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2). Christ responds personally. He does not pass his response down through endless channels.
"In him everything is kept together" (Colossians 1:17) —he's got the whole world in his hands. He can do directly what needs to be done.
A word to his Father; a word to an angel standing before him; an adjustment to the fabric of space-time; an idea directed to someone’s mind; whatever it takes, and whatever is most wise, he will do it for you and bring order out of chaos.
Christ is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities —all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Colossians 1:15-17, ESV)