Christ Above all

Bible Reading: Colossians 1:15-17

Colossians 1:17, “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

The church in Colossae was being confronted by false teaching.  Though we don’t know the exact nature of the Colossian heresy, it is thought to have been some “proto-Gnosticism.”  Gnosticism was a form of religion than integrated various myths and elements of Greek philosophy.  The Gnostics believed matter to be evil.  And that God and matter were therefore at odds.  How then, did God create the world?  They believed it happened through a series of emanations, each a little more distant from God and having a little less of deity.  At the end of the chain of these intermediate beings was Christ.  This supposition made it impossible for the Gnostics to accept the real incarnation of God in Christ.  Some of them explained it away by denying His actual humanity; others by denying His deity.  Either way, the false teaching was contrary to the truth and exceptionally dangerous to the spiritual well-being of the members of the church in Colossae.

Our passage speaks to the glorious truth that the Lord Jesus Christ is “very God of very God… who was made man.” Fully divine.  Fully human.  He is the One in whom all things hold together.  “Hold together” translates a word which carries the idea of consistence or harmony. It speaks to the unifying power that underlies all things. Every atom in the universe holds together because it is in Christ. There is order and harmony in all creation. It is a universe, not a chaos, and Christ is the unifying force.

As many of you know, I used to work in the nuclear power industry.  I trained reactor operators.  We had to study nuclear physics, and one thing you are taught to understand is that atoms are held together by a so-called nuclear force.  At the center of an atom, you have neutrons and protons, and around the perimeter, you have electrons.  The protons are positively charged and should repel each other.  But they are bound at the nucleus of the atom by this mysterious force.  It is the unleashing of this force in the process of fission that a nuclear power plant produces its power.  But my main point here is this—He even holds the tiniest of particles together!  And, of course, everything else is held together by Him as well.  The earth is where it ought to be.  The climate is according to His design.  The political forces are within His limitations.  Things are moving in the direction of His predetermined plan.  He literally has the whole world in His hands and is providentially overseeing all that takes place in His universe.

Ray Stedman has commented on this, “The most astonishing phenomenon today is to see men who work with this physical universe, who intimately observe the beauty, order, and power inherent in the natural world as well as in the world of humanity, yet who fail to see the Power behind it all; the ordered Intelligence that possesses and originates all these things. I do not understand how a man like Carl Sagan can work in the field of astronomy, knowing of the great secrets that are now coming to light in the universe, and yet go on breathing air which God has supplied, eating the food with which God has stocked this earth, and relying moment by moment on a heartbeat whose continuation rests in the will of Someone other than himself, yet can busy himself telling us that only man matters! It is a phenomenon beyond my understanding…”as I think of the world in which we live today surely this is the reason for the terrible sense of lostness among people. We are a generation adrift. We have thrown out all the absolutes and found ourselves adrift on the tossing ocean of life. They have no King to worship, no authority to serve, no cause greater than themselves. Thus, the central truth of our faith, and one that makes for strength in the Christian life, is this truth. In Jesus is found the center of life. ‘He is the image of the invisible God…the Creator of all things, who is before all things and holds all things in his hand and power.’ Is he your Lord?”


When morning gilds the sky,
our hearts awaking cry:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
in all our work and prayer
we ask his loving care:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

To God, the Word on high,
the hosts of angels cry:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let mortals too upraise
their voices in hymns of praise:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Let earth’s wide circle round
in joyful notes resound:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let air and sea and sky
from depth to height reply:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this, when day is past,
of all our thoughts the last:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
The night becomes as day
when from the heart we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Then let us join to sing
to Christ, our loving King:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this the eternal song
through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain, preaching on occasion, and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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