For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. — Colossians 1:16-17
The nucleus of an atom consists of positively charged and neutral particles, called protons and neutrons respectively. That nucleus is surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged particles, called electrons. When the atomic nucleus is split, a violent explosive power is suddenly released. This power can be used to perpetrate massive destruction or provide tremendous amounts of energy. Scientists tell us that if we were to split the atoms in one softball, we would unlock enough energy to burn up several square miles of earth. However, there is an unknown aspect of the physical properties of the atomic nucleus. What holds protons, neutrons, and electrons together?
Science does not know the answer, but the Bible reveals it to us. We read that by Jesus Christ “all things consist.” Just as sides of an hourglass restrict the sand inside it to a certain space, the Lord Jesus holds all life and substance in His hands to order as He wills. If Jesus did not hold every atom together with His omnipotent power, the universe would be obliterated.
When we ponder the power that exists in our universe, we begin to realize the power our Creator possesses. It was God’s design that all this fullness of power and glory would dwell in Jesus (see Colossians 1:19). The humanistic trend in the world today is to reduce Jesus to just a man who appeared briefly on the pages of history. Articles, scientific reports, song lyrics, and films attempt to sway people from the truth of His mighty power as described in God’s Word. However, in Colossians 1, Paul emphatically explains Christ’s place as Creator, Sustainer, and Redeemer. He establishes that both the spiritual and physical worlds were created by and are under the authority of Christ.
As you read Colossians, notice how Jesus is lifted up, then placed where He can touch us. Knowing that Jesus created us for a purpose, that He holds our lives together, and suffered in our place to give us eternal life, is a great assurance and comfort. If He holds the universe together, we can be sure that He can sustain us, no matter what comes our way!
Paul opened his epistle to the Colossians with a greeting, a note of thanksgiving, and a prayer for these brothers and sisters in the Lord (verses 1-12). In this section of Colossians, Paul focused on the work and person of Christ. His purpose in this doctrinal discussion was to clear up several misconceptions about Christ that were rooted in Gnosticism (a belief system which stripped Christ of His deity and emphasized special knowledge). The specific false beliefs that he repudiated were:
Verses 15 and 16 contain one of the strongest statements about the divine nature of Christ found in Scripture. Paul explained that Christ created both the spiritual and physical worlds and they are under His authority; they are in Him (the sovereign source), by Him (the divine agent), and unto Him (for His use and glory.)
The false teachers in the Colossian church thought that spiritual perfection was a secret and hidden plan that only a few privileged people would discover. In contradiction, Paul said that the “mystery” (the great doctrine that salvation was for all mankind), had been concealed for many generations, and therefore was called a mystery, or a hidden truth. Now, however, it was available for all mankind, not just a select few.
Laodicea, referred to by Paul at the beginning of chapter 2, was located a few miles northwest of Colosse. Since Paul instructed that his letter be passed on to the believers of Laodicea, likely the false teachings that were troubling the Colossian church had also spread there.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. Doctrinal: the doctrine of those in Christ (1:15 — 2:3)
A. The person of Christ (1:15-18)
1. In relation to God: the image and the firstborn (1:15)
2. In relation to creation (1:16-17)
a. The creator (1:16)
b. The preexistent one and the sustainer (1:17)
3. In relation to the church (1:18)
B. The work of Christ (1:19-2:3)
1. The nature (1:19-20)
a. In relation to the Father (1:19)
b. In relation to the creation (1:20)
2. The goal (1:21-23)
a. Past alienation (1:21)
b. Present reconciliation and future presentation (1:22-23)
3. The proclamation (1:24-2:3)
a. Suffering for it (1:24-25)
b. Content of it (1:26-27)
c. Purpose of it (1:28-29)
d. Struggle for it (2:1-3)
When we consider the divine nature of our Savior and the power that is His, what a marvelous privilege we have to be “in Christ”!