In light of the coming day, that is Sabbath, Sunday, the Lord’s Day, I thought it would be nice to give a small exposition of a passage and close with a great worship song.
On Wednesday of this week we had another leadership training session at church and the passage Pastor highlighted comes from Colossians, and as the group was in discussion I was writing down some thoughts about this particular passage of holy Scripture, so lets get to it.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For 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. 17And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And 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. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1.15-20.
I italicized some words and phrases in the text, go back and look at them closely, carefully. Lets just walk through them. In verse 15 I emphasized that Jesus is the image of the invisible God. This is significant, because we know that God is invisible, and he tells us to make no image to worship, Exodus 20.4 and other places. If you look around, we have Jesus hanging on the cross, but we really do not know what he looked like. We can assume from Isaiah 53 that he was not an attractive man, and despite many children’s books I have seen, he did not have blonde hair and blue eyes. So, we are told not to worship images of anything created, but Jesus was not created, he has always existed in the Godhead with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Also, it is not as though we worship the cross, the cross points to the one who is hanging upon it, we worship the God who died in our place. In a strong sense, the symbols of Christianity are reminders, or sign posts pointing to something beyond themselves. One more thing here, I may be wrong, but I am quite sure that Christianity is the only religion where God the Creator is murdered by his creation, and that very creation worships him for it by being reminded of that day by having a cross somewhere in their possession. I count at least four in my apartment.
Verses 16 and 17 we can take together. By, through, and for. This is one of the most significant things about Christianity that sets it apart from other religions, and makes it hard for many people to accept. Everything, and I mean everything, daisies, puppies, trees, lakes, oceans, mountains, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, meteors, black holes, everything was created by, through and for Jesus Christ to show his glory. This means that everything, even thrones, dominions, rulers, and authorities were created for the glory of Christ. This means that genocide, mass murder, spiritual warfare, demonic possession, evil, are for his glory. Can you swallow that? This is where many people turn off the belief switch and try to make the Bible say something it doesn’t. I admit, it is hard to accept, shrouded in mystery, and unfathomable. I do not know how God is holy and blameless, and yet ordains evil to happen, but this is the very thing that happens. Read the two books of Chronicles and you will see just how much calamity God causes. We are told countless times in the New Testament, by Jesus and Paul, that to bear the name of Christ, we will suffer. There will be pains and tribulations, and death for those who love Christ. Can you see why it is necessary to believe that it is all for his glory? If it were not permitted by God, the pain, the martyrdom of believers would be for nothing. God uses it for a few reasons, discipline, purification, and to shine the glory of Christ.
If I am to suffer for my King, I am comforted by the fact that it is for my good, and from the Father’s hand. He may allow Satan to torment me, read Job, but He still has control of Satan, because Satan could not act until God gave him permission thus, Satan acts within parameters set by God. At the end of the book of Job, God comes down in a whirlwind to talk to Job, and there is no mention of Satan at all! God calls Job out, here is a taste of what God says to Job,
4“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
7when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb,
9when I made clouds its garment
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10and prescribed limits for it
and set bars and doors,
11and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stayed’? Job 38.4-10
In this debate we have no room to argue, only trust. This has profound implications for Christians. Yes the annoying person next to you at work was put there by God, for discipline, for purification, for the glory of Christ. Yes the hurricane destroyed homes, killed people, washed away lives, for the glory of Christ. Yes, you are jobless, running out of funds, and seemingly alone for the glory of Christ. Yes terrible things happen, but it is why and how they happen that creates the solid foundation of faith necessary to endure trials and persecution. Someone reading this might shake their head side to side and say, “I can’t accept that a loving God would ever do this.” Then I would say that you limit God’s love for His creation. In His infinite wisdom He saw all that would ever take place, and by permitting the Fall, the sin, He ordained it to be so, and if God ordains and permits then there must be a purpose to it all. God is never without His purpose. I urge anyone who disagrees with Scripture on this point to pull God out of your mental box of human love, for God transcends all things, and love is not the only characteristic of God.
29“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29.29
This is why, in him all things hold together, for it could not be any other way. I am grateful for this kind of God, this security, this promise. Humbling, isn’t it? Reconciled by the blood of his cross. Think about it.
Listen to this song and praise God!