Song to the Colossians

Song to the Colossians

Song to the Colossians.

Please read Colossians 1:15-20.

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.

He existed before anything was created

and is supreme over all creation.

For through Him God created everything

in the heavenly realms and on earth.

He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see –

such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers and authorities in the unseen world.

Everything was created through Him and for Him.

He existed before anything else, and He holds all creation together.

Christ is also the head of the church, which is His body.

He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.

So He is first in everything.

For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ,

and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself.

He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth

by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.” (NLT).

CONTEXT. Paul doesn’t know anyone personally in the Colossian church, because it was established by Paul’s ministry partner Epaphras. Colossae was a comparatively small, unpretentious trading center about 100 miles east of Ephesus in western Turkey. Colossae had no famous temples or other historical buildings, and was not particularly well-connected politically. The town, though, loved to talk about ideas, about different religions and secular philosophies. Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians to counteract some dangerous heresies circulating in the church. Paul’s letter is his bold answer to the big question of the day… Is Jesus enough?

The false teachers and heretics infiltrating the church in Colossae said that, actually, Jesus is not enough. They were luring believers away from the Faith with a mixture of angel worship, legalistic self-discipline, the need for special knowledge available to a select few, a mix of religions, and strains of Greek philosophy.

The name often used for this unorthodox brew of man-made wisdom was “Gnosticism.” Gnostics (“knowledge”) were quite tempting to Christians throughout the early church. They believed that physical matter was evil, that only the thought life could lead to salvation. The body was evil, therefore Christ was not divine. Christ was merely one spiritual mediator among many, and was inferior to the angels, who didn’t have physical bodies. They thought that since the fullness of God was not in Jesus, He was not enough to achieve salvation.

The Colossian church was therefore an embattled church. It was riddled with false teachers who claimed that Jesus could not be both divine and human, He could not be a spiritual Lord as well as a human being. Paul sets the record straight with this ancient hymn that says it all. Paul emphatically claims that, yes, Jesus is enough. He is God in the flesh, He contains the fullness of God. Christ is sufficient, not just in Colossae but in all of creation. There may have been a mystery, Paul said, a hidden truth. But this “secret knowledge” has now been revealed: God in Christ, Christ in us, the hope of glory. There is no need to look any further for special knowledge apart from Christ.

The third chapter of Colossians contains a beautiful vision of what love looks like. This passage reveals agape love and how it is to be lived out in Christ’s body. Take off the old self, with its immorality and wickedness, and put on the new self. Clothe yourself in your new Christ garment, the heavenly virtues. Put on agape love, divine unconditional love. Agape love is a binding agent… It not only binds together the body of believers, like ligaments and cartilage. Love also weaves together all the divine virtues into a glorious tapestry of pure goodness.


“Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (1:27).

“Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (2:3).

“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” (2:6).

“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form.” (2:9).

“Your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (3:3).

“Clothe yourself with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.” (3:10).

“Christ is all and in all.” (3:11).

“Above all these things, put on agape love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” (3:14).

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom.” (3:16).

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (3:17).

THE SONG. On a rich person’s birthday, the usual question is, what do you get the person who has everything? Something similar can be said about this ancient church hymn… What can you say about a song that says everything? This hymn is so rich, so deep, so glorious in its exaltation of Christ, that there is not much more that can be said about it.

The song refers to the preexistence of Christ, the creation of the cosmos, and the new creation in full redemption. Christ is the visible image, the icon, of the eternal God in heaven. It’s not just a passing resemblance. Jesus is of the same substance as God. Jesus has a prototype from which He was drawn, the Lord God. Jesus and God are both eternally real, both are reflections of the Other, and are not merely a noble intellectual thought or an especially imaginative idea. Indeed, the fullness of God has a home in Christ.

Christ was not a created being. He is a Co-Creator, preeminent among all the created order. Christ is the cause of creation, and without Him creation would not exist. Christ is the “first-born” of all creation in the sense that He is the beginning of all creation, the first principle of creation. All of creation is held together and functions through Christ. Without Christ, creation would have no integrity, the pieces wouldn’t fit or function.

Because of the resurrection, Christ is head of His body, the church. Christ guides and directs His body on earth, just as the head does so in a human body. His church body is His presence in the world. Since believers take on God’s nature, His body will do what He did, go where He went, see people the way He saw people, think the way He thought. The church has His spiritual DNA and represents Him on earth. Christ the Divine Head will orchestrate all the members of His body, with all their unique gifts and functions.

In the new creation, all things will be reconciled through Christ, renewed and redeemed. All things will be brought back to Himself, putting together what belonged together, restored to its original intent. There will be peace and unity because of Christ’s blood on the cross. His blood restores all of creation. Christ is the Lord of the new creation just as He is the Lord of the original creation.

In this amazing hymn, Paul states with complete confidence that Jesus is enough, Christ is sufficient unto salvation. Christ is all and in all. Is there any doubt all the saints will some day be singing this hymn around the throne with all the angels?