The preeminence, power, supremacy, and all-sufficiency of the Lord Jesus Christ are brought before us in the great doctrinal statement of Colossians 1:15-20. He is the image of the invisible God, Creator of all, Upholder of all, Head of the Body, the Church. He is the One in Whom all the fulness dwells, the One through Whom peace was made by the blood of His cross, and by Whom all things will be reconciled to God. These verses bring together wonderful truths concerning the Lord Jesus and constitute a beautiful outburst of praise by the apostle.
The Image of the Invisible God
The Lord is eternally the Son of God (John 1:1, 2; 17:5). In Him dwells “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9). He is “over all, God blessed for ever” (Rom 9:5), “the great God and our Savior” (Titus 2:13), “the true God” (1 John 5:20), “equal with God” (Phil 2:6) and the One in Whom “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3).
God is invisible (1 Tim 1:17), but the Lord Jesus Christ, Who is eternally God, became man. “God was manifest in flesh” (1 Tim 3:16). “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father)” (John 1:14 RV). He is the “image of God” (2 Cor 4:4) and the “express image of His person” (Heb 1:3).
The Lord, eternally possessed of deity, fully revealed God to men, and bore the judgment our sins deserved from the hand of God (Heb 1:1-3). He is the representation, manifestation, revelation, and reality of God (John 1:18; 14:9).
All Things Created by Him
The Lord is the “firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15 RV). Here the term “firstborn” does not refer to priority in time but to preeminence in rank, status, honor, and position. He is the Creator, not a created being. He is preeminent over all creation and heir of all (Ps 89:27; Heb 1:2).
The phrase “all things” occurs six times in Colossians 1:15-20, showing His preeminence: all things created by Him and for Him; all things in heaven and earth, whether they are visible or invisible (Col 1:16). By His power all things were created and He is supreme over all (John 1:3; Heb 1:2) He is the agent through Whom all things came into existence. He is Lord over all creation (Rev 4:11).
The apostle wrote that the Lord is “before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Col 1:17). We have order and not chaos in the universe because the Lord holds all things together. He maintains, directs, and sustains all by His infinite power.
Head of the Church
Not only is the Lord preeminent over creation, but He is preeminent over the Church. He is “Head of the Body, the Church” (Col 1:18). The Church is made up of all believers from Pentecost until the Rapture. As “the beginning, the firstborn from the dead” (Col 1:18), He is the Head of the Church, its originator and source. The Lord was the first to rise from the dead, never to die again (Rom 6:9; Rev 1:5), giving us the blessed assurance that all believers will rise from the dead (1 Cor 15:20-23; Rom 8:11). As Head, He sustains and directs the Church. The Church is the Body of Christ, united to Him. He is the Head and He exercises control over the Body (Eph 4:15,16). The body is composed of many members, to whom the Lord gives gifts to be used in the power of the Spirit, for the edification of the Church (Rom 12:4-8; Eph 4:8, 11, 12). It is the purpose of God that “in all things He might have the preeminence (Col 1:18).
The Lord Jesus Christ is the all-sufficient Savior, Head of all things, “For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell” (Col 1:19). In Him dwell permanently and eternally all attributes of deity (Col 2:9; John 1:12, 14).
Reconciler of All
The God of Peace “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col 1:20). Believers have been pardoned, their sins have been forgiven, and they possess peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 5:1).
Through the work of the Lord on the cross, and through that alone, it pleased the Father “to reconcile all things unto Himself” (Col 1:20). Although once enemies of God (Col 1:21), believers have been reconciled to God by the death of His Son (Rom 5:10). The Lord is preeminent in reconciliation because He carried out the work alone (2 Cor 5:18,19; Eph 2:16).
The entire creation was affected by Adam’s sin (Rom 8:22, 23), but it is by Him that “all things” will be reconciled to God, “whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven” (Col 1:20). Things under the earth, “infernal beings” (Phi 2:10 JND) are not mentioned here nor in Ephesians 1:10. Satan, demons, and unbelievers will not be reconciled to God but will be subjugated. God has exalted His Son at Whose Name, “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phi 2:9-11). God will be glorified and all created things will be subdued unto the Lord.
The Lord Jesus is the image of the invisible God. All things were created by Him and for Him. He exists eternally and by Him all things consist. He is the Head of the Body, the Church. All fulness dwells in Him, and all things in heaven and earth will be reconciled to God through Him. He is sovereign and supreme, the all-sufficient Savior. He is preeminent in all things, “fairer than the children of men” (Ps 45:2) and “altogether lovely (Song of Solomon 5:16).
Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished,” was His cry.
Now in heav’n exalted high
Hallelujah, what a Savior!