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Seeking to equip people to live as Christian disciples wherever God has placed them.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

“All Authority”

Col. 1:15-20

This is one of the most exalted pictures of Jesus Christ in the entire New Testament.  Note the many claims that the apostle Paul makes.  First, there is Christ’s equality with the Father.  Jesus is the “image of the invisible God.”  In him “all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” Beyond that he is the “firstborn of all creation.” In him “all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible.”  For Paul the invisible world probably meant the world of the Spirit.  In our time when we are aware of the magnitude of creation and its incredible intricacy there is much more that we are aware of that is “invisible” from distant galaxies to sub-atomic particles.  The formerly atheistic philosopher Anthony Flew came to the conclusion that there had to be some kind of creator to account for the universe in which we live.  To see the world in all its diversity and to claim that it all can about by some random or chance event strains credulity.

Paul goes on to say that in Christ all things hold together.  In addition Jesus is the head of the church.  He is the firstborn from the dead as we celebrate this Easter season.  He has first place in everything.  As Martin Luther reminded us, we see God’s presence and activity everywhere from the smallest flower to the innumerable stars in the sky.  Christ is present in everything.  Everything belongs to him, from baseball games to the latest fashion to the complexity of the arts and all science.

Finally Paul brings us one of his most crucial themes which was grasped by several in the early church but was subsequently lost.  This is the doctrine of universal salvation.  Paul affirms here that God is reconciling all things whether on earth or in heaven to himself “making peace through the blood of the cross.”  This should give us immeasurable confidence.  The paradox is that individual persons can reject this reconciliation and thereby face an ultimate separation from God.   Such decisions cannot override God’s ultimate decision in Christ to reconcile all things to himself.

Given all this we should be the most confident and optimistic people on earth.  This is our testimony in word and deed.  Everything belongs to Jesus Christ.  He has come to reconcile us to God, to show us our true identity and true hope. This is a gift we need to share with the world.

Gracious and faithful God I praise you that in Christ you are reconciling all things to yourself.  May I continue to have faith in Christ and be drawn more and more closely to you.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.