Jesus Christ is exalted and magnified by the Father as He is the fullness of God’s redemptive work. Ephesians 1:10 provides a parallel: “that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.” Paul summarized the fullness that dwells in Jesus Christ in Colossians 1:14-18. (1) Redemption is in Christ (1:14). Salvation from sins is only in Jesus (Acts 4:12). (2) He is the image of the invisible God (1:15). When we see Jesus, we see the Father, for He manifested Him to the world (John 1:18; 14:9; Heb. 1:3). (3) He is the firstborn over creation (1:15). He ranks above everything seen and unseen because all things were created by Him, through Him, and for Him (1:16; John 1:1-3). (4) He is eternal (1:17). His “goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity” (Micah 5:2, NASB). (5) He holds all things together (1:17). He is “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Heb. 1:3). (6) He is the head of the church (1:18). The church is His body, those saved by His blood (Eph. 1:22-23; Acts 2:47; 20:28). It is “the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). (7) He is the first cause of everything (1:18). He is the Creator. “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made” (John 1:3). (8) He is the firstborn of the dead (1:18). Raised, never to die again, He has power over death (1 Cor. 15:20). (9) He has preeminence over all things (1:18). He has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). All we need to live with God now and eternally is in Jesus Christ. Praise be to God for such a Savior!
who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3, NKJV).
The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is the exact manifestation of God to the world. He and the Father are one; He is “equal with God” (John 10:30-36; 5:17-18). He is deity. Therefore, to see Him is to see the Father (John 14:9). The Son reveals the Father’s character, His nature, and traits. Today’s verse describes two things about God possessed by the Son. (1) The Son shows us the brightness of God’s glory. Jesus is the radiance or brilliance of the Father’s dignity and majesty. As the sun’s rays radiate the grandeur of the sun itself, so the Son is the vivid display of God’s splendor. From God’s glorious love and grace to the dignity of His authority and judgments, the Son reveals the magnificence of God to humanity. (2) The Son is the exact image of God. “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18). The Son is the image (impress) of God’s “person” (“substance,” ASV; “nature,” NASB95; God’s real being). The Son, by whom God speaks to us, is the exact representation and revelation of God (Heb. 1:2). The Son’s deity establishes Him as the One we must hear and heed. He has inherited all things, having also participated in creating everything (Heb. 1:2; Col. 1:15-16). He continues to maintain all things by His powerful word now that He has purged our sins and sits at the right hand of God (Col. 1:14, 17; Eph. 1:20-23). May we hear the Son and give Him our complete allegiance in faithful service, for in Him “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9).
So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27, NKJV).
God’s creation of humans in His image was the crowning jewel of His creation (Gen. 1:26-28; Ps. 8:4-9). Nothing else He created bears His likeness, not gold, silver, stone, or animals (Acts 17:29). Tragically, people distort God’s beautiful creation of male and female into gender images bearing no resemblance to the order He designed. God created two genders, but now people have imaged and invented gender neutrality and gender fluidity. These offer illusions of one’s identity in place of one of the most distinguishing traits God gave us, our gender. Biology (i.e., science) determines gender, not emotions. (Chromosomes are sticklers that way.) I’m no scientist, but I know the XY chromosome is unique to males, and the XX chromosome is unique to females. God created them to assign gender to each new life formed at conception (Ps. 139:13). Declaring that your gender is different from your chromosomal assignment does not make it so. Suppressing or increasing hormones does not change this basic fact. Instead of such artificial manipulations, let us see God’s wisdom and design in both genders. God made male and female unique yet complementary, each completing and needing the other (Gen. 2:20-24; 1 Cor. 11:11-12). A willingness to accept one’s gender involves, to some measure, acknowledging God who created male and female. Being content with one’s gender implies contentment with God (and vice versa). That gets to the underlying issue. When one does not honor God, it becomes increasingly difficult to accept being made in His image, whether male or female (Rom. 1:21-22). And so, the truth is exchanged for the lie (Rom. 1:24-25).
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:15–17, NKJV)
Paul turns our attention to the Godhood of Jesus Christ. 1) Jesus is the image of God whom we have not seen (v. 15). Jesus said, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jno. 14:9). He is the brilliance and exact image of God’s real nature (Heb. 1:3). He is God with us, Immanuel (Matt. 1:23). 2) Jesus is the firstborn over all creation (v. 15). Here, “firstborn” does not mean the Son was “the first one born.” It speaks of His preeminence, priority, and first place, even as Israel was God’s “firstborn” among the nations even though it was not the first nation to exist, Exo. 4:22; Psa. 89:27). 3) Jesus is Creator of all (v. 16). John declared this great truth in John 1:1-3. Everything was created through Him and, for Him, both in the material and immaterial realms, including domains, dominions, positions, and powers. This universe serves His purposes; He is Sovereign over it all. 4) Jesus is eternal (v. 17). Micah prophesied the eternal nature of the Messiah, “Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2). 5) Jesus actively sustains all things (v. 17). He holds together all things. He is not a distant God who is disinterested in us, “In Him we “live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:27). Jesus is our King, Redeemer, Sovereign, Creator, and Sustainer. His Deity compels our honor, humble devotion, and faithful obedience.
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (Colossians 1:15, NKJV)
God strictly commanded Israel not to make carved images to bow down before and serve (Exo. 20:4-5). Through Moses, God explained He did not show them any form or image when He spoke from Mt. Sinai, lest they make carved images and worship them (Deut. 4:15-18). Humans have frequently changed God’s incorruptible glory “into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Rom. 1:23). God gave us an image of Himself when He sent His Son to the world. Just as a coin bore Caesar’s image (whom most had never personally seen, Mk. 12:16), Jesus is the image of the invisible God (whom none of us have seen). Jesus is the image of the character and will of God. He is not the image of the Father’s physical features and fleshly appearance (like face, hair, eyes, etc.), since God is Spirit (Jno. 4:24). Jesus is the image (likeness) of the Father in moral character, attitudes, motives, thoughts, words, and actions. This is why Jesus could say, “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known me, Philip? He who has seen men has seen the Father. So how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’” (Jno. 14:7-9). To know God, we must learn about and know Jesus. To go to God, we must follow Jesus (Jno. 14:6).
6 Return to Him against whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. 7 For in that day every man shall throw away his idols of silver and his idols of gold—sin, which your own hands have made for yourselves. (Isaiah 31:6–7, NKJV)
God is a jealous God. Therefore, Israel was not to make any carved images, bow down before them and serve them (Exodus 20:3-5). Idolatry has always been rebellion against the one true and living God (Acts 17:22-31; Romans 1:18-23). Gods that people make with their own hands are powerless – an utterly futile and sinful endeavor. Make no mistake, there are other idols that we can make that are just as revolting against God as those made of stone and metal. Covetousness is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Have we not made an idol of the pleasures of sin when we choose them rather than the will of God (Hebrews 11:24-26)? Does not our own prideful and selfish will become our idol when we follow our own will instead of the Lord’s way of truth (Jeremiah 10:23)? Whatever idol is in your heart, remove it now. Tear it down. Throw it away. Honor, worship and serve the only true God. He will not give His glory and praise to idols carved by the imaginations of men (Isaiah 42:8).
44 Then Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. 45 And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. (John 12:44–45, NKJV)
You may think Jesus always spoke in a soft, unassuming voice. If so, you would be mistaken. Many times, He loudly proclaimed His message. He explained that He did not originate His teachings, they came from Him who sent Jesus to the world (John 8:26-30). Jesus spoke what the Father commanded Him to speak (John 12:49). In this sense, He is the Apostle of our confession (Hebrews 3:1). So, to believe in Jesus is to believe in the Father. One cannot believe in God the Father and simultaneously reject Jesus as the Son of God. Jesus has seen the Father and declared Him to the world (John 1:18). Indeed, Jesus shares the same divine nature as the Father. He and the Father are one in nature and purpose, perfectly united in their deity and all that entails (John 10:30). The Son is the image of the invisible God, the exact image of God’s real nature (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3). No doubt this explain Christ’s amazement when Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’” (John 14:8-9). You must look at Jesus and believe in Him to see and believe in God. After all, Jesus is Immanuel (“God with us”).
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2, NKJV)
In what direction have you set your mind? The word of God simplifies our choices. In truth, our mind is either set on heavenly things, or we set our mind on things of this earth. The first is spiritual, fulfilling and eternal. The second is worldly, unsatisfying and temporal. This is not a “one off” setting of the mind. We are to keep on setting our mind on things above. Are you seeking heaven (Col. 3:1)? If so, you cannot attain it by fixing your mind on earthly things. We are so much more than flesh and bones. We have been made in God’s image, with a mind that reasons and operates on free will (not instinct), possessing moral consciousness intellect and emotions. And so, we should fixate our whole being on heaven. For the Christian live for the earth instead of for heaven defies the very reason we have been raised with Christ from spiritual death (Col. 2:12; 3:1).
…who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… (Hebrews 1:3, NKJV)
Jesus told His apostle Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (Jno. 14:9). And so, we look at Jesus in order to understand God. The Son of God reveals the brilliance of God’s glory by His every word and deed. Jesus is the impress of God’s real nature; the express image of who God really is. This does not refer to His physical features, for “God is Spirit” (Jno. 4:24). Jesus is the impress of the mind, the character, the will and the purposes of God. “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (Jno. 1:18). In order to hear and know God you must listen to the word of Christ and follow Him (Heb. 1:1-2; Matt. 11:28-30; Eph. 4:20-24).