Colossians 1:15-23

Through Jesus Alone

That in everything [Jesus] might have the supremacy. Colossians 1:18

Who is Jesus? That may be the most important question we ever ask. Our answer determines whether we will spend eternity in heaven or hell (Acts 4:12; Romans 6:23).

In this section of Colossians, Paul responds to a lie that was gaining acceptance in the church at Colosse—the lie that Jesus was not who He said He was.

In Colossians 1:5-6, Paul urged the Colossians to hold on to the “word of truth, the gospel that has come to you.” In verses 15-22, he reminded them that the foundation of the gospel is the person and work of Jesus Christ.

First, Paul shows the relationship between Jesus Christ and everything else: “all things were created by Him and for Him … and in Him all things hold together” (vv. 11-12). Jesus created everything, from the largest star to the tiniest microbe. There is no life apart from Him.

Second, Paul clarifies Jesus’ relationship to His followers: Jesus “is the head of the body, the church” (v. 18).* No teacher, missionary, or prophet has more authority than Jesus. He alone leads the Church (all Christians), and He alone should be exalted in a church (specific group of Christians).

Third, Paul emphasizes the deity of Christ: In Him all the fullness of the Godhead dwells (v. 19). Jesus was not merely a human teacher or prophet—like those who were spreading false doctrines in Colosse. Jesus was God in the flesh; therefore His teaching has preeminence over every human opinion or trend.

Fourth, through Jesus alone—through His blood shed on the cross—all things have been reconciled to God the Father. Through His death and resurrection we have become holy in God the Father’s sight, “without blemish and free from accusation” (v. 22).

How should we respond to these truths? We should continue in the faith given to us by God (Ephesians 2:8-9) and proclaimed in Scriptures such as Colossians 1:19-22. That faith, “established and firm,” will help us resist false doctrines (Colossians 1:23).

Are you clinging to the gospel you first heard, the truth about Jesus proclaimed in the Bible? Or have you allowed other convictions, causes, and concerns to weaken the supremacy of Jesus Christ in your life?

DIG DEEPER:

Read Matthew 24:4-14. What is Jesus’ warning about deceivers and false teachers? What is His promise in verse 13?

Read John 16:33. How does Colossians 1:19-22 explain what Jesus meant by “ in me you may have peace” and “ I have overcome the world”? How does that encourage you?

Read 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. What is the essence of the gospel according to this passage? Why do you think Paul repeated the phrase “according to the Scriptures”? Do you weigh the value of every teaching on the scale of the Scriptures?

Denise K. Loock

*Note: In verse 18, Paul also used a Greek word meaning “firstborn.” In this case, it refers to first in rank not in birth, as indicated in the rest of the verse: “that in everything he might have the supremacy.” See Vine, W. “Dictionaries :: First-Begotten, Firstborn.” Blue Letter Bible. Last Modified 24 Jun, 1996. http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm

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