Is Jesus enough to create the world, save me from my sin, and keep me saved in spite of myself?
Contemplating eternity is quite difficult for us. Actually it is near if not totally impossible for our minds to grasp what it means to be eternal. We have a beginning, a middle, and an end. We live from moment to moment. But God does not. He simply is. And grasping that idea is very difficult. But just because it is difficult to grasp does not mean it is untrue. As we continue in our short exegesis and exposition of Colossians 1, lets turn our attention to the final few verses.
and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. Colossians 1:18b-20 NASB
He is the beginning
We saw earlier in this passage that Jesus is the Creator of the universe. He existed before anything else and was the cause that other things exist. So is Paul repeating himself here? No, not really. Remember that we must interpret in context what is being said. We must never lift a verse or two out of the context in which it was written. If we do that then we run the risk of misunderstanding what God has for us.
So to what “beginning” is Paul referring? Well Paul just referred to Jesus as the head of the church so it seems natural to take the beginning as referring to the beginning of the church. So Jesus not only is God, not only is He the head of the church, He is the very beginning of the church. So how is he the beginning of the church. Well I can think of a couple of ways this works. First He is the source of the power from which the Church sprang. If Christ had not come and died, there would be no church. Second, He is THE source of the spiritual life of the church. Without Christ, the church is simply a social club. There would be no spiritual importance or purpose to the church.
He is Firstborn…again
Here we go again with the idea of being firstborn. Remember from our previous discussion that the term used for firstborn (prototokos) has less to do with the order as much as it has to do with the rank or importance of an individual. When we read that Jesus is firstborn from the dead, we know that this can not refer to Him being the first to be raised from the dead. Why? Well, did not Jesus Himself raise Lazarus from the dead? Yep, He sure did. So this must refer to the fact that Jesus is the most important person to be resurrected from the dead. And I do think He qualifies for that. So we see in this passage in Colossians 1 that Jesus has supremacy in creation and redemption.
So not only is He creator, He is supreme in redemption. How comforting it is to have a Savior who reigns supreme in the two most important events in history!
He is the Reconciler
Not only has Jesus been named God, chief in the universe, creator, the head and initiator of the church and supreme in redemption, now we see Jesus as the agent of reconciliation. Now I want to draw your attention to this phrase; “…to reconcile all things to Himself…” Some take this to mean that all people will be reconciled to Himself. But that would be universalism and universalism is false. So what does this phrase mean. Well, I may be on a limb here, but I think this may be referring to the eternal state rather than now. Why do I think this? The way this section ends – through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven – seems to leave out those who are not reconciled through His blood. Do you notice that those who are reconciled are those on earth or in heaven. But there are those who are in “outer darkness” and are not part of the earth or heaven. Could this be what Paul is referencing here. Well I think it is at least possible.
Another way to look at this is that reconciliation is not just redemption. This view would take the final judgement as a method to reconcile even those who are not redeemed. Scripture does states that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10). Interesting enough, Philippians 2:10 states that this will occur “in heaven, on earth, and under the earth.” Hmmm, maybe I’m on to something here.
Is Jesus enough?
Is Jesus enough to create the word, save me from my sin, and keep me saved in spite of myself? When we think of all Jesus has accomplished on our behalf, we must never forget how He accomplished those things. He accomplished these various things as God would – perfectly, for His glory, and for His purpose.