Ask a neighbor, coworker, or family member “Who is Jesus Christ?” and you may be hard-pressed to find a clear and correct answer. There is much confusion in today’s culture concerning Christ – who He is and the nature of His character. The early church was also confused, and the book of Colossians was written by the apostle Paul to help clarify that the truth of Christ is vital to Christianity. If Christ is not the Savior of all mankind, our world is hopeless; if Christ is the Savior of the world, then we must worship Him.
With this conviction of truth, Paul lays out exactly who Christ is in Colossians chapter one. He does this, not so his readers become puffed up theologically, but so that their lives may be transformed by knowing Christ more.
This portion of Scripture teaches some fundamental characteristics of Christ:
- He is Lord of Creation: In this passage Paul shows Christ as the one who accomplished both redemption and creation. Paul is communicating to his readers that Christ has ultimate authority over everything. By His word, creation came into being. Yet He is the Word incarnate who bore the sins of the world. If this truth does not lead us to awe and worship, then we do not truly grasp its magnitude!
- He is the Image of the Invisible God: In Christ, the invisible God is made visible. In standard Greek letters of Paul’s day, writers often concluded by enclosing an image of themselves such as a seal, stamp of authority, or detailed description, which served to authenticate the authorship. While this analogy breaks down slightly, this is comparable to Christ in relation to God. However, not only is Christ the representation of God, but He is also the exact manifestation of God. In other words, Christ truly and exactly represents all of God’s character, and He truly manifests all of who God is as well (Hebrews 1:1-3).
- In Him All Things Hold Together: Nothing that exists does so apart from Christ. This truth is derived from Christ’s relationship to the universe, namely that He is Creator. If He were not Creator and God, then nothing would hold together. Because He is God and Creator, everything holds together at His command.