Colossians 1:16
For in Him all things were created, things 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.
Sermons
Christ the CreatorC. H. Spurgeon.Colossians 1:16
Christ the End of CreationT. Guthrie, D. D., Bp. Lightfoot.Colossians 1:16
The Advent in CreationW. J. Adeney, M. A.Colossians 1:16
The Work of Creation by and for Jesus ChristR. W. Hamilton, LL. D.Colossians 1:16
Thrones, or Dominions, or Principalities, or PowersA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 1:16
Prayer Leading Up to the Person of ChristR. Finlayson Colossians 1:9-23
Christ FirstProfessor Reuss.Colossians 1:14-20
Forgiveness and Remission of SinsJ. Morison, D. D.Colossians 1:14-20
Jesus Christ the End of the CreationC. P. Jennings.Colossians 1:14-20
Pardon, not Justice, WantedColossians 1:14-20
Plan of RedemptionChristmas Evans.Colossians 1:14-20
RedemptionT. Guthrie, D. D.Colossians 1:14-20
Redemption Atonement for and Remission of SinT. Guthrie, D. D.Colossians 1:14-20
Redemption God's Forgiveness as King and FatherG. Calthrop, M. A.Colossians 1:14-20
Redemption Incomplete Until Accepted by Faith in ChristP. Bayne, B. D.Colossians 1:14-20
Redemption Partial and CompleteBishop Davenant.Colossians 1:14-20
The Deity of ChristB. W. Noel, M. A.Colossians 1:14-20
The Greatness of RedemptionP. Bayne, B. D.Colossians 1:14-20
The Value of PardonH. W. Taylor.Colossians 1:14-20
The Witness of Creation to the GospelJ. O. Dykes, D. D.Colossians 1:14-20
We have Redemption Through His BloodColossians 1:14-20
Christ's Headship Over NatureT. Croskery Colossians 1:15-17
The Glory of the SonE.S. Prout Colossians 1:15-17
The Dignity of ChristA. J. F. Behrends, D. D.Colossians 1:15-19
The Divine Pre-Eminence of ChristU. R. Thomas.Colossians 1:15-19
The Glory of the SonA. Maclaren, D. D.Colossians 1:15-19
The Person of ChristT. Watson, B. A.Colossians 1:15-19
The Glories of King JesusR.M. Edgar Colossians 1:15-20
Christ All in AllU.R. Thomas Colossians 1:15-29
The Gnostic errorists at Colossae taught that the gulf between the infinite God and finite man was bridged across by subordinate angelic agencies. The apostle teaches that the gulf is bridged by Jesus Christ, who, being both God and Man, touches both and is the Reconciler of God and man. He shows that Christ has a double sovereignty, a twofold mediatorial function - in relation to the universe and in relation to the Church. Thus we have a most pregnant statement concerning the doctrine of the person of Christ with the view of showing that there is a real mediation between God and creation.

I. HIS RELATION TO THE INVISIBLE FATHER. "Who is the Image of the invisible God." Christ is likewise called "the Brightness of the Father's glory, the express Image of his person" (Hebrews 1:3).

1. The meaning of this image.

(1) Christ is not a mere likeness of the Father, like the head of a sovereign stamped on a coin, or as a son hears the features of his father.

(2) But he is an essential manifestation and embodiment of the Father. Thus the invisible God becomes visible to man, according to our Lord's own words, "No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he hath revealed him" (John 1:18). "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9).

(3) It implies his perfect equality with the Father in respect to substance, nature, and eternity. The Son is the Father's Image except in respect that he is not the Father.

2. Lessons to be drawn from this representation of Christ's glory.

(1) If we would know the Father, we must get into Christ by faith (2 Corinthians 4:4).

(2) As it is Christ's glory to be God's Image, be it our honour to be Christ's image, in knowledge (Colossians 3:10), in holiness, in righteousness (Ephesians 4:21). We are "predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Romans 8:29).

(3) How great a sin it is to turn the glory of the incorruptible God into the image of corruptible creatures" (Romans 1:23)!

II. CHRIST'S RELATION TO THE UNIVERSE. He is "the Firstborn of all creation." As his being God's Image implies his eternal unity with God, so his being the only begotten Son of God implies the distinctness of his Person. The apostle thus guards the truth on one side against Arianism, on the other side against Sabellianism. There are two ideas involved in this statement.

1. Christ has a priority to all creation. Arians refer to the passage as implying that he is only one, though the very first, of created beings. But

(1) he is said here to be begotten, not created.

(2) He is declared in the context to be "before all things," and therefore he is no part of them.

(3) "All things" are declared to be "made by him," but he is himself necessarily excepted from the number of the things he created.

(4) The Scriptures elsewhere declare his eternal preexistence and Godhead.

2. Christ is sovereign Lord of creation by right of primogeniture. The word "Firstborn" is used of the Messiah almost as his technical designation (Psalm 2:7), as we see by Hebrews 1:6, "When he bringeth the First-begotten into the world." As such he is "Heir of all things" (Hebrews 1:2: Romans 4:14). There is thus implied a mediatorial function in the world as well as in the Church.

3. Christ is the actual Creator of all things. "For in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers." These words justify the title of "Firstborn of all creation." They were all created "in him," not merely "by him" - as if the germ of all creative power and wisdom lay in his infinite mind, as the sphere of their operation. The words impliedly exclude the Gnostic idea that Christ was an inferior agent of the infinite God. He was the creative centre of the universe. Mark:

(1) The extent of creation - "things in the heavens and things upon the earth." This includes all creation as described by locality.

(2) The variety of the creation - "whether things visible or invisible." This division would include the sun, moon, stars, the earth with all its visible glories, in one class; the angels and the souls of men in the other class.

(3) The orders of creation, "whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers." As Gnosticism placed Christ among the higher intelligences, the apostle places him far above all angelic intelligences of every order. It is not possible to say whether these names represent various grades of a celestial hierarchy, but it is probable that they do; "thrones and dominions" belonging to the first order, "principalities and powers" standing next, as including spirits both good and evil. Christ made the angels.

4. Christ is himself the End or final Cause of creation. "All things have been created through him and for him." All things were created by him as well as for him - for the manifestation of his glory. "He that was the first Cause must be the last End." The final destination of the universe is referred to the Son, just as it is elsewhere ascribed to the Father (Romans 11:36). The Son is the Centre of the world's final unity.

5. Christ is the Sustainer of the universe. "And by him all things consist." The continued existence, as well as the creation, of all things, depends upon him. "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work" (John 5:17). He "upholds all things by the word of his power" (Hebrews 1:3). The sustaining unity of the creation is in him

(1) because he maintains its order, appointing all things to their respective ends;

(2) because he sustains the operation of all things, correlating means with ends;

(3) because he secures the cooperation of all things, so that all things work together for his glory;

(4) because he maintains the perpetuity of all things. Thus Christ maintains the cohesion of the universe.

III. LESSONS TO BE DRAWN FROM CHRIST'S RELATION TO HIS FATHER AND TO THE UNIVERSE.

1. We delight in the doctrine of Christ's divinity, which is the doctrine of Christendom.

2. If he made angels and men, they may well worship him.

3. His relation to creation encourages us to hope that he will overrule all the power of nature for the growth of his Church. Even wicked men will have no power to destroy his Church. The creation proves his power, and his love proves his good will.

4. The knowledge of his glory ought to deter from all creature worship.

5. We should ever pray that he would direct the work of our hands continually. (Psalm 90:7.)

6. We ought not to fret at Divine providence. (Psalm 37:2, 3.) The creative and administrative work of Christ, in the natural order of things, is the comfort of all believers. - T. C.







By Him were all things created.
I. CONSIDER THE STATEMENT ITSELF.

1. Heaven itself was created by and for Christ Jesus.(1) There is such a place, as well as such a state, and of that place Jesus is the centre.(2) It was created for Jesus, and for the people whom He will bring there to be one for ever with Himself.(3) It exists by Jesus and for Jesus.

(a)Prepared by Jesus. He is the designer of it.

(b)Reflects Jesus. He is the soul of it.

(c)Praises Jesus. He is the King of it.

2. The angels. All their ranks were made by Him and for Him.

(1)To worship Him, and glorify Him with their adoration.

(2)To rejoice with Him and in Him, as they do when sinners repent.

(3)To guard Christ's people in life, and bring them to Him in death.

(4)To carry out His purposes of judgment, as with Pharaoh, etc.

(5)To achieve His purposes of deliverance, as Peter from prison.

3. This world was made by Him to be —

(1)A place for Him to live and die upon.

(2)A stage for His people to live and act upon.

(3)A province to be fully restored to His dominion.

(4)A new world in the ages to come, to bless other worlds, if such there be; and to display, for ever, the glories of Jesus.

4. All the lower creatures are for Jesus. "And that are in earth."

(1)They are needful to man, and so to our Lord's system of grace.

(2)They are illustrations of Christ's wisdom, power, and goodness.

(3)They are to be treated kindly for His sake.

5. Men were created by and for Christ.

(1)That He might display a special phase of power and skill, in creating spiritual beings embodied in material forms.

(2)That He might become Himself one of them.

(3)That He might Himself be the Head of a remarkable order of beings who know both good and evil, are children of God, are bound to God by ties of gratitude, and are one with His Son.

(4)That for these He might die: to save them, and to make them His companions, friends, and worshippers for ever.

(5)That human thrones, even when occupied by wicked men, might be made to subserve His purpose by restraint or by overruling.

II. REVIEW THE REFLECTIONS HENCE ARISING.

1. Jesus, then, is God. "By Him were all things created."

2. Jesus is the clue of the universe; its centre and explanation. All things are to be seen in the light of the cross, and all things reflect light on the cross. For Him all things exist.

3. To live to Jesus, then, is to find out the true object of our being, and to be in accord with all creation.

4. Not living to Jesus, we can have no blessing.

5. We can only live for Him as we live by Him, for so all things do.

6. It is clear that He must triumph. All is going well. If we look at history from His throne, all things are "for Him." "He must reign." Let us comfort one another with these words. What an honour to be the smallest page in the retinue of such a prince!

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

A very narrow notion of the functions of Christ is afloat in the atmosphere of popular religious thought, though not formulated into dogmatic phrases. It is that our Lord is limited in work and even in nature to the mission of redemption. Such an idea implies that Christ is dependent on the existence of sin, and that His very being is but an expedient required for the deliverance of man. So stated the doctrine is monstrous. If there had been no sin, Christ would have visited the world in some way of Divine goodness. He came in the creation before the birth of sin.

I. THE FACT.

1. As regards the relation of Christ to creation. This is threefold.(1) In Christ is the fundamental basis of creation. "In Him, i.e., His thoughts, are the archetypes of the worlds and their contents, and the genesis of them follows the principles of His nature.(2) Christ is the instrumental agent of creation "through Him." He is the Mediator in creation as well as redemption.(3) Christ is the end of the creation. "Unto Him," i.e., all things grow into His likeness, they move upwards towards the realization of His life. Christ in His human nature was the highest development of the upward movement of creation. They are also destined to serve and glorify Him.

2. As regards the scope and range of the work of Christ. This was universal in creation. It included:(1) All things visible and invisible, i.e., physical and spiritual existences, or things within our observation and the infinite population of the spaces beyond.(2) All orders of being, "thrones," etc., none too great for His power, none too small for His care.(3) Every variety and every individual. Different classes are specified. Creation is not a work merely of general laws, it implies individual formation under them.

II. INFERENCES.

1. AS regards Christ.(1) His pre-existence. That which was Divine in Christ was before all things. The Christ-side of God, all that is so touching and winning in the marvellous revelation of God in Jesus, is no new phase of His character. It was before the sterner revelation of Sinai. It is eternal (Hebrews 13:8).(2) His glory. All that is great and beautiful in creation glorifies Him through whom it came into existence.

2. As regards the creation.(1) This must be in harmony with Christ. Therefore —(a) We must interpret its darker phases by what we know of the spirit and character of Christ.(b) We must expect that ultimately its laws and forces will make for Christianity, breathing benedictions on the faithful followers of Christ, and bringing natural penalties on those who rebel against His rule.(2) We should endeavour to trace indications of the presence of Christ in nature.

(W. J. Adeney, M. A.)

I. CHRIST IS THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS. Whatever is the act of creation it must be the Divine act; and whoever is the Creator He must be Divine.

1. Creation is always averred to be a Divine act (Genesis 1:1, etc.). It answers to our idea of the highest omnipotence, for "the things which are made were not made of the things which do appear."

2. The creating act is always set before us as the basis on which the exclusive honours of the Deity are challenged.(1) God puts His right to worship on this act.(2) He suspends the veracity of His statements on it.(3) His majesty and pre-eminence are made to depend upon it.

3. The creating act is always represented as designed to manifest the glory of Him by whom it was done. "For thy pleasure they are and were created." "The heavens declare the glory of God."

4. The creating act constitutes the very groundwork of natural religion. "We will wait upon Thee, for Thou hast made all these things."

5. There is a validity stamped upon all the blessings of revelation, because they issue from Him who is this universal Creator. The great blessings of the gospel are placed in immediate connection with this omnific act.

(1)Reconciliation. "All things are of God, who hath reconciled us."

(2)Atonement. "It became Him, for whom are all things," etc.

(3)Illumination. "God, who hath commanded the light to shine," etc.

(4)Protection. Let us commit our souls to Him as a faithful Creator.

6. Idolatry is reprobated on this exclusive ground, that it is offered to those who are not the makers of the universe. "Worshipping and serving the creature more than the Creator."

7. Creation is always considered an unassisted act. "I am the Lord that maketh all things."

8. Now, without any qualification or exception, creation is attributed to Christ; how, then, can we deny Him to be Divine?

II. ALL THINGS WERE CREATED FOR CHRIST, AND FORM HIS RIGHT AND PREROGATIVE.

1. There are two forms of the Divine foreknowledge.(1) God is acquainted with actions however future.(2) God realizes in His own mind what would be the issue of circumstances had they been different from what they are. "They would have repented long ago."

2. We are assured, then, that this universe being created for Christ was not a supplementary design upon some previous arrangement that had been tried and had failed. This is our method, not God's. Christ wrought this instrument, and it shall go on in His service.

3. Foreseeing sin He made the world in which it was to be vanquished, and hence we read of God's eternal purpose, and of "the Lamb which was foreordained before the foundation of the world." The world is still in revolt, but the eternal purpose shall be accomplished, and all the forces of nature and history shall contribute to it.

4. More particularly all things are created for Christ, inasmuch as —(1) They furnish the scenes of His mediation. "Lo, I come!" The earth claimed His birth, life, and entombment. He made it the seat of His Church. Here is the sphere of His Spirit's influence. This is the receptacle of His most complacent operations, where He is satisfied for all the travail of His soul. This is the arena of His spiritual victories.(2) They are tributaries to His praise. All things are created to do Him direct homage. Angels do; the redeemed will; devils and sinners shall.

III. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO PROPOSITIONS. That Christ is the Creator and Proprietor of all things.

1. This is shown by arguing the difficulty of our redemption, because only the Creator could surmount it.

2. The sufficiency of that redemption because the Creator has wrought it.

(R. W. Hamilton, LL. D.)

I. The text furnishes a PROOF OF OUR LORD'S DIVINITY.

1. He is in the position of a servant who works for others; He is a Master who, by other hands or His own works for Himself. Look at the condition of man. Whatever office he fills in Providence he is a servant, and on crowned monarchs, who are but upper servants, Paul lays the duty of doing all to the glory of God. Nor do angels, although holding a much higher rank, differ from us in this respect. "I am thy fellow-servant." "The Lord hath made all things for Himself." This prerogative is held by Christ.

2. Some have attempted to evade the argument for our Lord's Divinity based on the fact of creation. The objectors say that He created by such power as Elijah received from God to restore the widow's son, etc. But the text cuts the ground under their feet. Did Elijah bring back the dead for himself and his own glory? If Christ was less than God, then in kindling the sun He no more acted for Himself than a domestic does in kindling a fire. It is the nature of a creature to hold a servant's place.: Now if Jesus were man He was justly condemned, for He laid Himself open to the charge of blasphemy, since, as the Jews truly averred, He made Himself the Son of God, "equal with God" To the "all Mine are Thine," Christ added "Thine are Mine." All that is God's is Christ's, is the consistent testimony of the New Testament.

II. THE GLORY OF GOD WAS THE ORIGINAL PURPOSE OF CREATION. Sill had to some extent blighted the beauty of creation. Still the Psalmist said, "The heavens declare," etc., and the closer we examine the works of God, the higher our admiration rises. "The whole earth is full of His glory." Some things remain unaffected by the blight of sin, as God made them for Himself; the flowers have lost none of their fragrance, and seas and seasons, obedient to their original impulse, roll on as of old to their Maker's glory. But from man, alas! how is the glory departed! Look at his body when the light of his eye is quenched; or look at his soul. What glory does God get from many of us!

III. GOD WILL MAKE EVEN THE WICKED AND THEIR SINS REDOUND TO HIS GLORY. A strange machine is this of Providence. Virtue is struggling with the temptations of poverty, the wicked are in great power, spreading like a green bay-tree. Sin triumphs, and devils seem to defeat the purposes of God. Defeat the purposes of God! Impossible. Did you ever stand beneath the leaden lowering cloud, and mark the lightnings leap, and think that you could grasp the bolt and change its path? Still more foolish and vain his thought who fancies that: he can arrest God's purposes. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh. Do you, e.g., injure a godly man? God is using you to train up His child in the grace of patience. Messenger of Satan! dost thou buffet an apostle? God uses thee to keep him humble, arid to teach him to wear his honours meekly.: No man liveth for himself. The most bold and God-hating sinners may rest assured that when the machine of Providence has done its work, and the secret purposes of God are fully completed, it shall be seen how the Lord hath made all things for Himself.

IV. SINCE CHRIST HATH MADE ALL THINGS FOR HIMSELF, HIS PEOPLE ARE CALLED TO CONSECRATE THEMSELVES AND THEIR ALL TO HIS GLORY. To this we are called by the obligations of both a natural and spiritual creation. This may expose us to pain; but what pain Jesus endured for us! What owest thou unto thy Lord? You cannot tell that; therefore lay your all at His feet, He who lives for Christ has one end in view which lends dignity to his life. Glorify Christ and you shall enjoy Him.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)What is said of the Father in 1 Corinthians 8:6, the same is here Said of the Son. All things must find their meeting-point, their reconciliation, at length in Him from whom they took their rise — in the Word as the mediatorial agent, and through the Word in the Father as the primary source. The Word is the final cause as well as the creative agent of the universe. This ultimate goal of the present dispensation in time is similarly stated in several passages. It is represented —

1. As the birth-throe and deliverance of all creation through Christ (Romans 8:19, etc.).

2. The absolute and final subjection of universal nature to Him (1 Corinthians 15:28).

3. The reconciliation of all things through Him (ver. 20).

4. The gathering in one head of the universe in Him (Ephesians 1:10). The Eternal Word is the goal of the universe, as He was the starting-point. It must end in unity, as it proceeded from unity, and the centre of this unity is Christ.

(Bp. Lightfoot.)

The Colossian heretics seem to have held that all matter was evil, and that therefore the material creation could not have come directly from a good God, but was in a certain sense opposed to Him, or at all events separated from Him by an immense gulf. The void space was bridged by a chain of beings, half abstractions and half persons, gradually becoming more and more material. The lowest, of them had created the material universe and now governed it, and were all to he propitiated by worship. Paul opposes the solid truth to these dreams, and. instead of a crowd of powers and angelic beings in whom the effulgence of Deity was gradually darkened, and the spirit became more and more thickened into matter, he lifts high and clear against that background of faith the solitary figure of the, one Christ. He fills all the space between God and man. There is no need for a crowd of shadowy beings to link heaven with earth. There is a tone of contemptuous impatience in Paul's voice as he quotes the pompous list of sensuous titles, which a busy fancy had coined. It is as if he had said, You are being told a great, deal about these angel hierarchies, and know all about their ranks and gradations. I do not know anything about them; but this I know, that if, amid the unseen things in the heavens or the earth, there be any such, my Lord made them, and is their Master. He is first and last in all things, to be listened to, loved, and worshipped by men. As when the full moon rises, so when Christ appears, all the lesser stars with which Alexandrian and Eastern speculation had peopled the abysses of the sky are lost in the mellow radiance, and instead of a crowd of flickering ineffectual lights there is one perfect orb, "and heaven is overflowed." We see no creature any more save Jesus only."

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

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