Colossians 1:15-20. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, 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. 17 And 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, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
One of the most important things that a Christian needs for spiritual growth is a knowledge and faith in the supremacy of Christ. As we’ve said many times, Christianity is not simply an example to follow. It is not a new way to be religious or moral. It is not a new system of salvation, or a program for holiness. It is faith in the gracious work of a supreme savior. We simply cannot understand God, ourselves, or our salvation without knowing both the story of Jesus and the reality of the eternal Christ.
And this means primarily knowing Christ as the image of God.
The glorious “Christ hymn” that Paul either wrote or quotes in Colossians 1:15-20 begins by calling Jesus Christ the image of the invisible God. But what on earth does this mean?
In ancient times, in the temple of a deity, an image (idol) was placed at the center to be the representative or reflection of that god. It was believed that the image of the god had the very nature and essence of the god.
So is that what Jesus is? A created idol? No. In fact, our Christ Hymn makes it clear that he is the pre-existing creator of all things – For by him all things were created, 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.
So how is Christ the image of God?
Yes, Jesus is God without beginning and end. He is very God of very God as the creed says. But he is also from God. From God? Yes, he is the only begotten son. Begotten not created. Therefore, he is and always has been the visible image of the invisible Father.
There’s a huge implication for us here, isn’t there? We have been made in the image of God (Gen. 1). So if Christ is the eternal image of God, then we are the image of the Image. We are meant to be a copy of God’s Son, receiving and reflecting his life.
Here’s the takeaway from our theology lesson today – Jesus is the blueprint for our humanity. And we are being built into his blueprint. This is what the gospel offers us in Christ. In making peace by the blood of his cross and reconciling to himself all things, we are being led into true humanity. True image bearing. No longer must we settle for a lesser version of life. No longer must we slog through each day experiencing anything less than the reception and reflection of God’s life and love.
“To live is Christ” is to be this image of the Image. The receiver and reflector of the grace, power, love, and wisdom of God that is Christ Jesus our Lord.
To what degree does your life flow from imaging the Image (Christ our Lord)?
You in Christ
In Christ we become the image of Christ, the image of God. How does this change how you see your life?
Christ in you
Verse 18 says Christ is the head of the body, the church. That’s us. How can you follow your head today?
Playlist: The Supremacy of Christ.
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