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Thinking of God with Larry Sheehy: Jesus is supreme over all
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Larry Sheehy

In Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae, a town in ancient “Asia Minor” (today’s nation of Turkey), we learn that he didn't know these Christians personally, but only through their shared friends and acquaintances. The knowledge of their “love in the Spirit” had come from Epaphras, a native of Colossae and friend of Paul. In spite of the fact Paul didn’t know them personally, he was very concerned about their spiritual growth as Christians (1:7-8).

The Bible has been written and preserved by God for the spiritual growth of Christians in every generations (See Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17). This is true of Paul’s concerns for the Colossian church; those same concerns are in the mind of God for Christians today.

The essential element of our relationship with God as Christians is our faith in Jesus as the divine Son of God. It is through him, and him alone, that we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins (1:14). The very language of scripture in relation to salvation declares him as the means of our salvation (See Acts 2:36; 4:12; 8:35; 10:36).

There are many things in our world and culture that compete with and seek to replace Jesus as Lord and Savior in our hearts. Paul's intent in this early section is to reaffirm for his readers that he — the Son of God — is the basis for our eternal hope. His description of Christ holds him up as God, and the only rightful object of our worship.

The apostle, who seemed to love the use of lists in his writing, gives us a brief of the divine nature of Jesus Christ and his work (1:15-20):

1. He is the image of the invisible God (1:15). The apostle John said that he is God, and the one through whom we see God the Father (Note John 1:1.).

2. He is the one responsible for everything in creation (1:16). 

3. He is responsible for the continuing viability of creation (1:17). He upholds everything by the power of his word (See Hebrews 1:3).

4. He is the head of the spiritual body, the church. His supremacy is not just over the physical, but the spiritual as well (1:18).

5. All the fulness of God has been given him by his Father in heaven (1:19).

6. Through what Jesus did on the cross comes the spiritual reconciliation to God of all things, on earth and in heaven (1:20).

The importance of this reconciliation (or reunion) is such that only God can bring it about, and make it last (1:21-23). These people were once "alienated,” or separated, from God, and enemies in both mind and behavior. This describes the position of everyone who has become guilty of sin (1:21; Compare James 4:4).

But Christ, through the sacrifice of his body, has made possible our presentation before God as holy people, without blemish, and free from any valid accusation (1:22; Romans 5:8). That position of reunion with God will continue, as our faith in Christ continues to serve as the basis for our hope (1:23).

This was the message they had received, and which Paul preached everywhere he went. It is the message which serves as the basis for our hope today. Nothing else can provide the power for our salvation! 

Please believe it and obey it.

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