NIV Colossians 1:15-20
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
16 For in him all things were created:
things in heaven
and on earth,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through him and for him.
17 He is before all things,
and in him all things hold together.
18 And he is the head of the body,
he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things,
whether things on earth
or things in heaven,
by making peace through his blood,
shed on the cross.
- Paul in verse 12 began talking specifically about the Colossians’ salvation: “…the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.”
- In verse 13 he tells what the Father has done: “…He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,”
- Paul in verse 14 answers the question, “Why the Son?” by stating: “… in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
- Now in verses 15-20, Paul expounds in great detail how the Son is especially qualified to be the ruler and Lord of the kingdom in which God has placed the Colossian believers. There is no one higher than Christ–it would be impossible for anyone to be higher than he except God himself. (1 Corinthians 15:27) This lays the foundation for the admonition to them, which Paul speaks later in Colossians 2:4,8-10, 16-23.
I. Christ as Mediator
A. Through Creation of All Things and of the First Humanity–Christ the Creator: verses 15-17
B. Through the New Creation of a Second Humanity and Provider of Salvation–Christ the New Creator, the Lord in Reconciliation: verses 18-20
II. Christ Mediates Between Pure Spirit (God the Father) and Matter Before the Fall. He is the Creator: verses 15-17
A. Verse 15
1. Verse 15a, Christ reveals the Father: “The Son is the image of the invisible God,…”
b. Can we draw pictures of qualities such as beauty, happiness, might, love, or holiness? Of course not! Although we have concepts of these things, they are themselves invisible. In order to make an “image” of them, most likely we would draw pictures of concrete scenes that evoke or simulate those kinds of qualities. But Christ is very amazing–he is the likeness of all that his Father is. Christ bears the image of his Father, and he has capacity to make himself visible to us, first in his incarnation and secondly, in his resurrected body. Yet even before the incarnation, Christ was still the exact representation, the outward expression, of all that God is.
2. Verse 15b, Christ is the Creator: “…the firstborn over all creation.”
a. “Firstborn” can mean “born first” in chronological order.
b. “Firstborn” can also mean sovereignty of rank, as the translation “over all creation” indicates.
c. “Firstborn” can also refer to the one who has a special place in the Father’s love. See Exodus 4:22 as regards Israel, and the New Testament examples in Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:13b; Hebrews 1:6; and Revelation 1:5.
d. Meanings b and c seem to be what Paul intended. Meaning a is excluded, because the verse states that Christ created everything. If this were so, it would be impossible for him to be part of the creation that he himself created (O’Brien, 40-41; Wright, 74).
B. Verse 16, Christ the Creator: NIV Colossians 1:16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
1. What is included in this list?
2. What is excluded from the list?
3. The phrases, “in him…through him…for him”
♦ signify that creation lies within the realm of Christ’s power and is dependent on him
♦ that he is the agent through creation was created
♦ that he is the goal, the ultimate purpose of the whole creation and of history.
♦ Therefore, everything in the universe is subject to the authority and lordship of Jesus Christ, the carpenter of Nazareth, the crucified, risen, ascended, soon-to-be-revealed-in-glory Lord.
♦ Do we think the Colossians might respond, “What? Me worry?”
♦ How should we respond?
♦ Where should we go FIRST with a problem of any sort?
C. Verse 17, Christ the Sustainer: He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
1. Once again, Christ as Creator: He is before all things,… “before” once again meaning both in time and in precedence
2. …and in him all things hold together. Christ sustains all things. This is a great anti-evolutionary statement. The universe did not create itself nor pop of its own accord out of nothing (vs 16), nor does it maintain itself through natural processes and its own properties. Life is not evolving according to naturalistic principles. Christ who created in himself, through himself, and for himself also maintains everything. (See also Hebrews 1:2-3)
III. Christ Mediates Between God and All of Creation in the Reconciliation–the New Creation After the Fall: verses 18-20
A. Verse 18
1. And he is the head of the body, the church; Headship over the body refers to Christ’s preeminence over his people, as well as the dependence of the members on him.
2. …he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
♦ temporal (John 15:27)
3. …and the firstborn from among the dead,
a. This phrase may be a synonym for “beginning,” or an explanation of it.
c. As the Church is the body and Christ the Head (see above, number 1), the Church is organically related to Christ in a spiritual way.
♦ totally dependent on him (John 15:5)
♦ as united with Christ, the Church also is united with God (John 17:21-24)
♦ Christ is the Mediator between God (pure Spirit) and humanity (material and spirit)
4. …so that in everything he might have the supremacy. Supreme in Creation and supreme in Resurrection–the New Creation
B. Verse 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, (his Son, his Beloved, the Son of his love)
1. ALL that God is–Spirit, Word, Wisdom, Glory, and everything else–is perfectly displayed eternally in Christ.
2. Christ is the ONE Mediator.
3. God was pleased to express himself this way. Christ is not a usurper, as Satan is.
C. Verse 20, Christ the Reconciler of everything
2. whether things on earth or things in heaven,
a. Every hostile spiritual power and earthly power has been subjugated.
b. Some will bow the knee in awe and reverence and others because they have no choice. (Philippians 2:10-11)
3. by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. All of the above is the “glory” of the cross. Because all three Beings of the Trinity gave themselves this way, and Christ as the actual one who died–for this reason he has earned the name which is above all other names (Philippians 2:5-11).
♦ Does knowing all this about Christ change how we think about what it means to be “created in his own image“? (Genesis 1:27)
♦ At what level are you in even beginning to comprehend the nature and stature of Christ? How do you apply this knowledge to your day by day life? To each and every problem that you face?
♦ If the Colossians grasped what Paul was saying, would they still find it necessary, as some have said, to listen to and obey (submit to) false teachers who were telling them that in order to live a full Christian life they needed to obey such and such a teaching or to go to such and such an expert to find a further, fuller deliverance than what Paul had shown them was already theirs in Christ?
♦ If Christ is everything Paul says he is, do we think that Christ might find a way to communicate with even the most thick-headed (etc., etc.) of his children? Are we able to rest in Christ and to surrender our spiritual growth and education to him, or do we feel we need to go here and there anxiously seeking out an “expert” for a bit of knowledge or some bit of “power” we feel we lack?
♦ Do these verses help us to understand why reading the Bible for ourselves is important?
Colossians 1:13 who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love;
James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
“To the child of God who is walking in the light of God’s Word and firmly rejoicing in our Lord’s victory over them, believing God’s promises of triumph, there need to be no fear of demons. They are spirits of darkness and we are children of light. There is not enough darkness in the whole world to put out one little light. Let us ‘walk in the light, as he is in the light’ (1 Jn 1:7)!” (Foundations of Pentecostal Theology, 505.)
Colossians Life Group Week 9: Colossians 1:13a
ASV Colossians 1:13 who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love;
I. What is the “power of darkness?”
“3. authority, absolute power Mt 21:23, 24, 27; 28:18; Mk 2:10; Ac 26:12.—4. power or authority exercised by rulers, etc., by virtue of their office—a. ruling power, official power Lk 7:8; 20:20; 17:12f.—b. domain, jurisdiction Lk 4:6; 23:7; Eph 2:2; Col 1:13.—c. bearers of authority in the state, authorities, officials, government Lk 12:11; Ro 13:1, 2, 3; cosmic powers above and beyond the human sphere but not unrelated to it 1 Cor 15:24; Eph 1:21; 3:10; Col 2:15.” (Gingrich and Danker, 177)
1. Minor children who live at home are under the “power” of their parents. The parents’ household is their domain, their jurisdiction. Parents have parental power to enforce their will upon the children.
2. Each state in the US licenses its own drivers and has its own vehicle code that governs the road. Let’s pretend I am driving in California with a driver’s license from the state of Maine, which is okay to do for a short while in California. Let’s also pretend that in Maine it is illegal to turn right on a red light after a complete stop. So, here I am in California and I turn right on a red light. Assuming the police in Maine somehow were able to see me doing this, would I be liable for a ticket when I return to Maine?
3. Let’s say I broke a Chinese law while I was visiting there, and when I got back to California, some Chinese people chased me and wanted to prosecute me while I was still in California. Would they be able to do so? Under what conditional procedures might they be able to prosecute me? [legal extradition]
II. In verse 13, what does “delivered us out of” mean? ___God saved us, rescued us, delivered us, so that we are no longer in the jurisdiction, the realm, the domain of authority, of darkness. In the sense of this definition, the rulers, authorities, spiritual powers of darkness have no hold or legal claim on us. PLUS, we are now in the domain, realm, kingdom, of Christ, who is our Protector in every sense of that word.
“save, rescue, deliver Mt 6:13; 27:43; Lk 1:74; 11:4 v.l.; Ac 5:15 v.l.; Ro 7:24; 11:26; 15:31; 2 Cor 1:10; Col 1:13; 1 Th 1:10; 2 Th 3:2; 2 Ti 3:11; 4:17f; 2 Pt 2:7, 9.*” (Gingrich and Danker, 70)
III. From Duffield and Van Cleave (Foundations, 491-505)
A. Demons—what are they?
Answer: Demons appear to be fallen angels stronger than men but much, much weaker than Christ.
B. What do demons do?
1. They oppose the saints: Ephesians 6:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:18. “Our fight is against” them; and “Satan hindered us.”
2. They seek to cause us to leave our faith in Christ.
a. “some shall depart” 1 Timothy 4:1
b. the antidote: “abide in me” John 15:5
3. They encourage “formalism and asceticism” as a result of false teaching; therefore, they seek to inject false teachers into the pure teaching of the word.
“there will be false teachers among you.” 2 Peter 2:1
4. They lurk behind idols and idol worship in its many forms, tempting saints to worship.
“for forty days he [Jesus] was tempted by the devil.” Luke 4:1-13
5. They cause physical afflictions.
6. Demons sometimes accomplish God’s purpose when they function as instruments in God’s plan to punish the ungodly, and even to chasten the godly.
Peter, Job, the incestuous Corinthian believer (1 Corinthians 5:5) and Hymenaeus and Alexander (1Timothy 1:20) are examples of God’s use of demons for his own ends.
C. What does the Bible say about casting out demons? (Foundations, 495-96)
1. Jesus cast out many demons Mark 1:34
2. Demons were cast out in the early church: Mark 16:15, 17 “go ye into all the world…cast out devils”
3. The apostles cast out demons Acts 5:16
4. Paul cast out demons Acts 16:16-18
5. Others cast out demons Acts 16:13-16
6. Toward the end of the age demons will be cast out 1 Timothy 4:1
IV. More Questions Concerning Demons
A. Does demon possession differ from demon influence?
1. Answer: “All demon activity does not result in demon possession. There is a vast difference between demon possession and demon influence.” (Foundations, 496)
2. In demon possession the demon enters a body and exerts dominating control.
3. Demon influence is warfare from without (suggestion, temptation, and influence). Example: the fiery darts of the evil one in Ephesians 6:16
B. What is the relation between demon possession and sickness?
Answer: “All sickness…is not caused by demon possession…Thus the practice of some, who in ministering to the sick always try to cast out a demon, is not biblical procedure.” (Foundations, 496)
C. Is there demon possession today?
Answer: There is demon possession today, although a Christian cannot be possessed, or indwelt by a demon. A demon may only harass a Christian from the outside.
D. What about casting out of demons today?
“While it may be possible to cast out a demon, very often a person needs more than this…It is the will of a man which makes a way in for the devil, and therefore repentance is required as well as exorcism…demon possession is not the cause but the result or symptom. It is wrong to assume that a particular evil in a [wo]man’s life is the result of demon control. It is more likely that the evil was there first, permitting the entry of Satanic power.” (Foundations, quoting George Canty, 500)
“…the power of the Word of God. The preaching of the gospel is deliverance—it is the power of God in itself ‘unto salvation’ (deliverance) [salvation = deliverance]…It would be absurd to think of a great conversion of a man leaving him with demons still in his heart. Can a man be saved through faith in the gospel and then need a second experience to save him from Satan? [expects a “no” as answer] From what was he saved in the first instance? ‘The anointing breaks the yoke.’” (Ibid.)
[In other words, there is no second experience necessary to save someone from Satan. There are NO demons in a person’s heart after salvation. A brand new baby Christian, and older Christians, may be harassed from outside by a demon, but never from within. Christians already have all the spiritual equipment necessary to fight successfully against such harassment, and where they appear too weak or uninformed to do so, other Christians within the Church may pray and help them in this. It is not necessary and would contradict Scripture to try to exorcise a demon from a new Christian, or from an older Christian. The best way to fight in this situation is by a firm grounding and faith in the written Word of God. Ephesians 6:14–the belt of truth]
“[in Scripture]…nobody was ever given a special gift for ‘exorcism,’ only for discernment, as part of the protection of the church, chiefly against false teachers with lying and deceitful doctrines of demons. Nobody manifested a ministry exclusively for dealing with demons. This would draw attention more to Satan than to Christ. Preoccupation with this sphere of things is a kind of tribute to the power of Satan. ‘The end of our conversation’ says Hebrews 13:7-8, is ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and for ever,’ which hardly can be said of some whose continual thought is about ‘the power of darkness.’” (Foundations, quoting George Canty, 500)
“That the Church will be called upon more and more to cleanse people from foul spiritis may be likely, but the preaching of the gospel is the main means, and this should be the prior activity of all God’s servants.” (Ibid., 501)
E. Can a Christian be demon possessed?
1. Answer: No. (Foundations, 503)
“While one should not blind himself to the presence and power of demonic forces in the world and be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), he must not underestimate the great salvation and deliverance which God has wrought for him in Christ Jesus. Colossians 2:15; Acts 26:13; Colossians 1:13.” (Ibid.)
“To become Christian is to turn from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.” (Ibid.)
2. The Holy Spirit is the One who accomplishes this turning in us during the process of our being called to God in Christ.
4. Scripture teaches that Christians are God’s temple. God would not tolerate a demon to dwell in his temple. 2 Corinthians 6:15-16; 1 Corinthians 6:19.
5. Once again, the best defense against outside attacks of demonic harassment and temptation is to have a thorough grounding in the Word of God. Cinch yourselves up tightly with the Word of truth. (Ephesians 6:14)
F. More on spiritual warfare: Faith + Obedience = Abiding in Christ
“Disobedience and persistent waywardness provide the enemy grounds from which He can attack and influence the Christian.” (Foundations, 504) (Ephesians 4:27; Acts 5:3)
“The great conflict within us is not between the Holy Spirit and demons, but between the indwelling Holy Spirit and the flesh (that is, all the sensory apparatus that tends toward sin).” (Foundations, quoting an Assemblies of God publication, “Can Born-Again Believers Be Demon Possessed?” 505)
V. CONCLUSION: “Demons Thrive on Publicity.” (Foundations, 505)
“To the child of God who is walking in the light of God’s Word and firmly rejoicing in our Lord’s victory over them, believing God’s promises of triumph, there need to be no fear of demons. They are spirits of darkness and we are children of light. There is not enough darkness in the whole world to put out one little light. Let us ‘walk in the light, as he is in the light’ (1 Jn 1:7)!” (Foundations, 505)
Within the context of this letter, the main point Paul is saying to the Colossians is that Christ is sufficient for all their needs, every single one, both large and small. They have no need to go anywhere else or to anyone else for anything—just turn to Christ and abide in him. God has already given us everything we need in Christ. God gave us a Community of Believers to help us do just this. We are not alone. Christ’s credentials to be the Church’s sole leader are spelled out in Colossians 1:15-20.
Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (NKJ)
Many children are born from the physical expression of love between their parents, often planned, and perhaps as often, not planned. The Bible teaches in Colossians 1:13 that Jesus Christ is the Son of his Father’s love. God in his love planned his Son from all eternity past, since they both co-exist eternally, along with the Holy Spirit:
John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
Colossians 1:15-17 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
God’s love for Christ his Son and for the humanity he created in the world surrounds and lives within the incarnation of Christ. Both the Father’s love for his Son, his beloved Son, and his love for people are the fountainhead, the source, the driving motivation of the incarnation, the divine humanity of Christ on earth. Christ is the full expression of his Father’s love. The love of the Father birthed the Son, and Christ is “the Son of his [the Father’s] love,” both in eternity past and in the incarnation.
First, Christ is the outspoken word which reveals the Father’s nature and character of love.
John 1:18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave…
his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 8:39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Hebrews 1:3a He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature,
Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love
Second, Christ is the beloved Son, the one whom his Father loves.
Matthew 3:17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Mark 9:7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
Where Does This Leave Us?
Believers are in Christ, in the Beloved.
1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
John 17:23 I in them and you in me– that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.
Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love.
Everything concerning us is motivated and dominated by God’s love.
Romans 5:5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Romans 8:38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Ephesians 3:19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Colossians 1:13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,
What difference does this make?
The difference is that we once lived under the authority of the darkness, and God transferred us into a different kingdom, a different realm of reality, a kingdom of light in which Christ rules, that very Christ who is the Son of the Father’s love. Chains are broken, bondages are collapsed, the prisoners are free. We no longer owe allegiance to what causes our own destruction, and we have one fighting for us who is greater than death and darkness itself. God is love! And he is our God.
Love rules for us, within us, and through us. Love has become the new expression and protection of our being. We are safe at last. We no longer need to worry, nor to plan out our own futures. Jesus Christ reigns in our hearts and lives. Love rules our day. The one who is stronger than everything else in the universe claims us as his own. We are his. We can live our lives without fear. We can turn and face our enemies and in the name of Jesus Christ the King command them to leave. And at the end of the day, a great big no matter what, we are loved in Christ.