Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
We cannot pretend to worship a God we do not know, and there is no way of knowing Him apart from His own revelation of Himself to us. Yet we are graciously provided with source after source of His Hand at work: “Common Grace” offered to believers and nonbelievers alike –causing His rain to fall on both the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45).
His Design is evident throughout His Creation (Romans 1:19-20), through the magnificent “language” of the DNA code, the amazing powerhouse found in our mitochondria, and the amazing healing capabilities that modern medicine is still learning about and tapping into. We see His Work evident by looking further into our own creative capabilities, our own values placed on love and compassion, and our own sense of “right and wrong” that transcends subjective experience, pointing to the “Law written upon our hearts” (Romans 2:15).
To the more skeptical mindset which abounds, the Lord in His Grace increasingly verifies His Word, our scriptures, with man with copies of manuscripts unearthed, now totaling over 5800! At a more recent point in history, where scientific evidence for the beginning of our universe caused many to hesitantly publish their findings “for fear that it would give too much ammunition to the Creationists!”, we can continue to celebrate the wondrous Hand of God.
But KNOWING God; that is, knowing Him in His Personal Nature, and worshiping Him in accordance with WHO He is, requires a special form of revelation that is given to us directly through His Word, spoken to those who have “ears to hear” (Mark 4:9), and is described for us in the 2nd Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ.
Paul explains to us in Colossians 1, verse 15, that HE is the image of the invisible God; that we can know the character of the Father through what is observed in the Son! The term, “firstborn” should not confuse us to think He was created, since it was a Hebrew way of describing someone as especially honored (Exodus 4:22, Psalm 89:27).
Verse 16 tells us that all things were created by Christ, and that includes not only the universe, but also places of power and authority! Am I willing to trust His Hand at work through the wickedness of unjust leadership? (Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 2:13-15)
Verse 17 adds that all things are upheld and preserved by Christ! Our very lives are in His Hands; dare we make a mockery of our given purpose and live for ourselves, rather than the reason for our existence in giving all glory to God?
Verse 18 describes Him as Head of the Church, with His Worthiness proved through His resurrection from the dead, so that in EVERY WAY, He would be supreme! What an uplifting status is given to His Church through this description, as a bride prepared for her husband! (Revelation 21:9-10, John 3:29)
Verses 19-22 describes all that God has done to draw you back to Himself through reconciliation and provide the way for salvation, enabling you to be considered holy and blameless in His sight! Marvelous Truth that changes EVERYTHING for those who live under that reality!
Finally, verse 23 calls for faithfulness and perseverance in following Christ, holding firmly to the Truth and Relationship offered to us in God’s Grace. It’s a warning for us to live under the Gospel we so quickly profess, as we encounter all the things that could potentially draw us away from Him.
May this special revelation given to us by God Himself inform our worship, as we grasp the image of the invisible God and live as His “image-bearers” to the world!