15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 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. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. - Colossians 1:15-19
Having thanked God for the church at Colassae and the Christian traits they exhibit, and having prayed for for further knowledge and power, Paul now turns to a passionate description of God the Son. He gives us an example of what Christ means in his life, for Christ is no mere historical character or abstract category. Paul mentioned Christ in his prayer for knowledge and power and it is as if, once he mentioned Him, he could not contain His enthusiasm for His Lord.
He praises Christ as God, the Creator of “heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them (Psalm 146:6)”. The Psalmist seems to imply the heavens of the sky, filled with birds. But in referring to the invisible, Paul is describing heaven where God dwells, surrounded by cherubim and seraphim, also created by Christ. We might consider what an insult it is to this Almighty Creator to attribute his deliberate and marvelous work to random chance or natural laws on auto-pilot. Rather than attempt to dethrone Him with naturalistic explanations about origins, we should be quick to praise Him in His work of Creation.
Paul further talks about thrones, dominions, rulers and authorities. Not only does Christ not fear these earthly powers, He is sovereign over them, having created them; they hold no power save what He has granted them. So even when the world seems a chaotic and dangerous place, as His people we can have hope and peace and comfort, knowing that the Lord is in sovereign control or all things.
For not only has He created all things; He sustains all things, too. In Him all things hold together, from the various social forces that keep worldly leaders on their seats of power to the very bonds that hold together every part of every molecule and atom.
Finally, Christ is Head of the church. For this reason alone we should never underestimate the significance of the church. It is not an optional add-on to the Christian life. It is not an out-dated, human institution. The Head of the church is the firstborn from the dead. In Him all the fullness of God dwells. And it is His will to use the church to reconcile to Himself all things, making peace by His blood. As those He has reconciled, as we love Christ, we must love the church. And as the church, we must love and worship our Creator, Lord and Savior.
Biblical Reflection by Tom Hoffman