Behold Your God: He is Preeminent

March 7, 2018 at 10:18 AM 2 comments

As we continue in this series titled “Behold Your God,” we move to verse 18 of Colossians 1, which opens up for us the truth that God is preeminent. Let’s consider the entirety of Colossians 1:15-20 (ESV).

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.16 For 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. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And 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. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Verse 18 tells us that Jesus is a number of things that prove His importance and ultimately, His preeminence over all things. Paul tells us that first, Jesus is the “head” of the body, the church. Obviously, the use of the term “head” here is figurative, based in reality. Jesus is literally LORD over His Body. More importantly though, Constable says that the use of the term “head” here refers to “…His being the beginning and the principle in creation and redemption.” Of course Jesus is the Head of the Church, just as He is the Head of everything else that has been created.

While it does not appear to be true at times, when we consider the state of the world or the visible church, Paul is telling us that in spite of what we might see in this world, the absolute and far-reaching truth is that Jesus is Head over all Creation.

The sad truth is that Christendom is made up of true and false believers. Within Christendom worldwide and throughout history, there have always been “tares” (false believers) mixed in with “wheat” (authentic believers). Jesus made this clear in His parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13:24-30). This particular parable stresses that once Jesus began to build His Church (His body), the devil came in immediately and began planting tares among the wheat. Interestingly enough, tares in their infancy look very similar to actual wheat. In the parable, the workers came to the landowner and asked if he wanted them to go through the fields and remove the tares. The landowner responded that they should let the tares grow among the wheat and when it came time for the harvest, it would be very easy to see the tares from the wheat and remove the tares at that time. Doing so when the plants were very young might accidentally pull up wheat with the tares.

The meaning of course is that Jesus has decided to allow tares into the church and He also allows them to remain until the final harvest, when He returns. He does this for a number of reasons, most likely the main reason is that the pressure from the tares (false wheat), can help Christians to grow through a greater dependence upon our Lord.

What is also interesting here is that tares are never wheat, though they look similar when both plants are young. Tares are always tares and wheat is always wheat. The two are distinguishable from one another. Within the context of the invisible Church, the tares play absolutely no part at all. However, within the context of the visible church (worldwide Christendom), tares play a very important part because they are often mistaken for the real thing.

We see this in Christendom a great deal. There are many charlatans, many false teachers and false prophets. Unfortunately, due to a lack of discernment by many Christians, these false Christians too often gain a following. Because of it, even true Christians can become sidetracked. This does not mean that these Christians lose their salvation. We’ve discussed the fact that the Bible teaches that salvation is eternal and cannot be lost. However, being sidetracked means that the person stops growing in Christ and their testimony to the world is often discredited.

Too often today, Christians are way too gullible. They are so because they fail to study the Scriptures for themselves to actually learn what the Bible says. I’ve met Christians who are adept at quoting a particular author for instance (who might be very sarcastic in his condemnation of those who believe in the PreTrib Rapture, for instance). They quote that person’s quoting of Scripture and often use the exact same sarcastic lines of defense in their attack against other Christians. However, I’ve also noticed that when you attempt to discuss the issue by just going to Scripture, they cannot do that. They have in essence, become followers of a particular author.

In the main, too many Christians lack discernment because they lack true biblical knowledge. You cannot have discernment without a working knowledge of Scripture. The two go hand in hand. Too many prefer to follow other human beings, virtually memorizing that person’s position and arguments, rather than the truth of God’s Word.

I’m sure we can agree that because of this approach, many cults and sects have been born, all headed up by one person who has a rather large personality and is often considered to have some sort of charisma and hold over other people. Even the apostle Paul disregarded this.

I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?

5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:2-7 ESV)

There are people who hold up the apostle Paul as being the best thing to happen to Christianity. Some even believe that Paul eventually arrived to a point of sinless perfection in this life! Paul would disagree completely. There is one head and it is Jesus. He is the One we need to follow. God used Paul certainly, to write at least 12 of the New Testament epistles (possibly 13, if we include Hebrews). However, Paul, though he was a chosen apostle, is no better than any other authentic Christian. We would do well to read his words, study then, meditate on them, and absorb them because ultimately, God has spoken through Paul (as he did all the other writers of the Bible). But Paul would be the first one to direct attention away from himself and onto Jesus, as it should be.

Verse 18 also tells us that Jesus is the beginning and He is the firstborn of the dead. What do these things mean? In this instance, the use of the word “beginning” does not mean that Jesus actually had a beginning. It means that He was before everything else. God is where everything starts.

When Paul refers to Jesus as being the “firstborn” from the dead, he is saying that when Jesus rose from the dead by His own volition, He then became at that point the Head of the Church in our timeline. Constable says, at His resurrection, Jesus became the beginning of the Church “…in that He is its power and source of spiritual life.” Without Jesus the Church is nothing. Without Christ, we are nothing. We have eternal life because of Jesus. We have the power to live a life that honors God and brings Him glory because of God who lives within us via the Holy Spirit.

According to Scripture, Jesus was not the first person to rise from the dead, but the first to rise in glorified form. No one else had ever done that and the only reason authentic Christians will do this at some point in the future is because of the power of Christ. We look forward to heaven and receiving our glorified bodies that will be perfect and completely sin-free because of Jesus and His power over all of His Creation, which includes us.

Those who fail to recognize their need for a Savior and who die without ever embracing the truth, will go into eternity with their corruption. They will go from terrible to worst throughout all eternity. They will not only not stop sinning, but will continue to sin and die that second death forever. True Christians – those who understand their need for a Savior  and who embrace that truth as the thief on the cross did – will spend eternity with Jesus in paradise. The word “paradise” is originally from the Persian language and means “beautiful park/garden,” and reminds us of the Garden of Eden and the splendor contained therein.

Paul’s use of the Greek word Prototokos, meaning “first-born” is used because it “unites His supremacy in the two realms, creation and salvation (cf. Acts 26:23)” (Constable). This is our God. This is Jesus. He is supreme in the two most important realms ever – creation and salvation. We benefit from both because human beings were created in God’s own image. This is why He chose to put His plan of salvation into effect. Since humans were made in God’s unique image, we are worth saving. As we know, unfortunately, not all will benefit from salvation because not all will recognize their need for a Savior.

Jesus is preeminent. He is above all things. No one can equal His stature, His status. He stands alone. Everything falls under His jurisdiction. People are enabled to draw close to Him only because He beckons us to do so. Even then, too many will refuse.

This world will one day fully realize who is on the Throne. Some realize it now and have embraced the salvation that is available only through Christ our Lord. Too many others will not realize it until they leave this life and stand before Him. That is such a scary thought, it is difficult to deal with, knowing that so many will face the Living God and will have no Advocate on their behalf.

Folks, make sure that is not you.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Demonic, devil worship, rapture, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , , .

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2 Comments

  • 1. rutnerh  |  March 8, 2018 at 2:15 AM

    The preeminence of Jesus as the Creator of the universe needs to be highlighted as you did. It is further evident in the totally non ecumenical I AM saying of John14;6 embodying 6 divine absolutes in the original koine Greek including Jesus as the one and only intermediator to God in heaven.
    Regrettably the late Billy Graham routinely used a banner excluding the last half of this verse which also was left off the huge billboard at his 1991 crusade in NYC which I attended, presumably not to offend his huge following of lukewarm Christians and unbelievers supporting BGEA.
    But to his credit, Franklin, in his eulogy, fully exposited this revolutionary verse which essentially consigns ALL other religious ways to heaven as satanic diversions. According to Franklin, the John 14;6 citation, but not the verse, is also shown on Billy’s grave marker.
    Also, being beloved and honored by infidels as Billy was contradicts Jesus’ words that His effective followers will be hated by the world because “… it hated me before it hated you” (John15;18,19).
    But the Lord has surely forgiven His servant Billy these and later senile ecumenisms that detract from his otherwise highly effective ministry in his earlier “fire and brimstone” global crusades that saved millions.

    In the parable of the wheat and look alike tares, Jesus said that He did not want the servants to accidentally uproot and destroy wheat stalks along with tares before the harvest, meaning that only Jesus is qualified to segregate and burn tares at judgment time.

    • 2. modres  |  March 8, 2018 at 7:32 AM

      Thank you for your comments. I think Graham was hated by many. Consider that 5 living presidents chose not to attend his funeral. Consider also how many atheists said after he passed that he was in hell though they don’t believe in God or hell.

      You are so right about Jesus being the only One qualified to separate whets from the tares. He controls the harvest. Amen.


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