The Supremacy of Christ in Redemption, part 1

Whereas the supremacy of Christ in creation reveals His transcendence, the supremacy of Christ in redemption reveals His immanence. Whereas the supremacy of Christ in creation reveals who He is, the supremacy of Christ in redemption reveals what He has done. Our list continues…

Jesus is the Head of the Church

In Colossians 1:18 we read, “He is the head of the body, the Church…” Yes Jesus is the great and glorious God we just made mention of who created all things and holds all things together, but whereas you might think such a God is aloof from the cares and concerns of ordinary people, Jesus’ great and glorious work is wonderfully personal. You see the great aim of His work was to glorify His Father by bleeding and dying on the cross for a specific people, the Church – this Church is His body no on earth, of which He is now the head. And just as we have seen in the previous verses that creation will always be upheld by the providential care of Christ and never fall into chaos, so too, we see now in this verse that the Church will always be upheld by the providential care of Christ and never fall into chaos or disorder. Why is the Church so secure? Be sure of this, the Church is not secure because of the wisdom and grace of any pastor or leader you’ll ever meet, not ever! The guaranteed successful future of the Church universal is secure and sure because of Jesus. He is infinitely strong in His wisdom and grace to build and keep His Church throughout the ages, regardless how strong the tide is against us. Jesus promised as much when he said in Matthew 16:18, “…I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Jesus is the Beginning

In Colossians 1:18 we read, “He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything He might be preeminent.” You may think this one item in Paul’s long list concerning Jesus is unnecessary because from the surface of things it seems to be a repetition of what he already said in 1:15, that Jesus is the firstborn. Wrong. Paul does use the same “firstborn” word to describe Jesus again but he means something different by it here in 1:18. In 1:15 Paul was referring to Jesus being the “firstborn of all creation” in relation to His inheritance from the Father. In 1:18 Paul is referring to Jesus being the “firstborn” in relation to His resurrection, because of the words “…the firstborn from the dead.” Meaning that, Jesus’ resurrection marks a change, a new beginning. As the first One to rise from the dead, never to die again, Jesus wins a victory that is then given to all who are united to Him by faith. So the resurrection of Christ anticipates and guarantee’s the future resurrection of all His brothers and sisters. In this manner Jesus is the beginning, because all believers throughout all time who are united to Him by faith will (Romans 6) rise from death just as He did.

But this verse has more to it doesn’t it? Paul goes onto show that there is a connection between Jesus’ resurrection and Jesus’ having preeminence (supremacy, first place). See it at the end of the verse? The reason Jesus has preeminence or supremacy over all things is that He was the firstborn from the dead. Here’s what Paul is doing here. Clearly we’ve already seen in this passage that the eternal Son of God had glory before the world was made with His Father. But by virtue of His resurrection Jesus gained a newer, higher, loftier standing; winning for Himself a greater name and greater glory than He had before, because by rising from death, Jesus demonstrated He was the Lord of the universe. The same universe, which He created, which He sustains, and now has redeemed through conquering death. Romans 1:4 says Jesus was “declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by His resurrection from the dead.”

Jesus is the Fullness

In Colossians 1:19 we read “For in Him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell…” Jesus is here said to contain within Himself the very fullness of God. Many people simply believe that Jesus was divine in the sense that He reflected God’s glory, or mirrored God’s glory to a certain degree, but this verse corrects our natural low view of Christ. Jesus didn’t merely reflect the glory of God, rather all that God is dwells in Jesus. The language Paul uses here is similar to the Old Testament language used to describe how God would fill the temple with His glory before the Israelites. That this same language is being applied to Jesus here means Jesus is therefore the fulfillment of the temple. We’re not waiting for a physical temple to be rebuilt one day over in Jerusalem, Jesus is our temple, and because Jesus is the temple and our faith unites to Him making us part of this temple as well – the new gospel temple is growing and will eventually fill the whole earth. This truth is why later in Colossians, in 2:9 Paul says, “…for in Him the whole fullness of the deity dwells bodily.” And it’s why Paul says in Romans 9:5, “…Christ…is God over all…” This is nothing less than a declaration of the deity of Jesus Christ, that though He appeared as a Man, and really was 100% human like we are, He was also 100% God. Jesus wasn’t a 50/50 mixture of divine/human, He was fully God and fully man at the same time.

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