Safety in Christ
12 March 2023 PM – Colossians 1:13-17 – Col23 – Scott Childs
Introduction: So far, in our study of Colossians, verses 1-2 introduced us to the authors, Paul and Timothy. In verses 3-8, we learned four things for which we ought to thank God for other Christians: for their faith, love and hope; that they heard the Gospel; that it is producing fruit in their lives; and that God allowed us to hear of their love. Last week, in verses 9-12, we learned that Paul and Timothy were praying that the believers would walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing. Then, we noted four characteristics of that worthy walk: being fruitful in every good work; increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all might unto patience in all things and joyful longsuffering; and giving thanks to the father for making them fit to partake in the eternal inheritance with the saints.
Verse 13 continues the thoughts of verse 12. Not only does God made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, but He also delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son. The word “delivered” is a dramatic word. It means to rush in and rescue or to drag out of danger. This is like the hasty action of a firefighter or a lifeguard. The power of darkness is the realm of evil controlled by the devil. The danger of sin and darkness is far greater than being burned in a building or drowned in the ocean. At salvation, God rushes in and drags us out of that danger, then carries us away into the kingdom of Christ.
Transition: Beginning with verse 14, Christ, God’s dear Son, becomes the subject. Our text this evening lists four reasons that we can trust Christ to keep us safe from the power of darkness.
1. He gave His blood to redeem us (v.14)
a. He ransomed us
1) To redeem means to ransom by paying a demanded payment (cf., Eph 1:7).
2) Your sins and mine are so vile and damning that nothing less than the spotless blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, can pay the ransom.
3) When Christ was crucified early in the first century, His blood flowed from His wounds as He gave Himself as a sacrifice for our filthy sins.
4) In Christ ALONE, we have redemption through His blood.
b. He discharged us
1) To forgive is to discharge or to release from bondage.
2) Sin and Satan held us in a vice-like grip. We could do nothing to escape.
3) The blood of Christ was able to pay our debt and set us free because it alone propitiated the wrath of God.
4) God is now able to welcome a forgiven child of God into His presence because He no longer sees his sin; He sees the blood of Jesus instead.
We can trust Christ to keep us safe from the power of darkness because Christ gave His blood to redeem us. The 2nd reason is that …
2. He is the absolute Supreme (v.15)
a. He is the image of the invisible God.
1) Lightfoot describes an image as a precise reproduction in every respect.
2) God is invisible and has no body. He is a Spirit (Jn 4:24).
3) TDNT states, “Since a representation of what is invisible is impossible, the meaning here is a revelation with substantial participation… the stress is on the equality of the [image] with the original. Christ is in the form of God and equal to God (cf. Phil. 2:6).” (Cf., Hebrews 1:3)
4) Peter Pett says, “So ‘the image’ is not meant to suggest God’s physical likeness. Rather it means revealing Him in His essential being. As ‘the image of the invisible God’ Christ has made the invisible God known to man in a unique way, in His life, His power and His teaching. He has shown what God is really like. He has revealed His glory.”
b. He is the firstborn of every creature.
1) Since Christ created all things (v.16), He could not possibly be among the created (cf., John 1:1-3). This would make God a liar. Nor can He be a separate god, for He did not create Jehovah or the Holy Spirit.
2) The word firstborn does not always speak of birth. God called both Israel and believers His firstborn (Exo 4:22; Heb 12:23).
3) Wuest tells us that, “The Greek word implied two things, priority to all creation and sovereignty over all creation.” Christ, being God, has existed eternally as the sovereign of all.
We can trust Christ to keep us safe from the power of darkness because Christ is supreme. The 3rd reason is that …
3. He is the Creator of all things (v.16)
a. HE created all.
1) All means all. Therefore, He was not created.
2) He created all in the heavens and upon the earth.
3) He created all the visible and the invisible.
a) All thrones, dominions, principalities or powers.
b) These titles refer to celestial dignities. The highest position in creation is yet beneath Christ. Eadie
b. He created all for Himself.
1) The phrase “by him” at the beginning of the verse is different from the one at the end of the verse. All creation came into existence in Him, by Him and for Him.
2) Greek scholar Eadie explains, Let no one say, He is an inferior agent – the universe was created “in Him;” let no one surmise, He is but a latent source – it is “by Him;” let no one look on Him as another’s deputy – it is “for Him.”
3) Christ is the source, the power and the purpose of creation.
We can trust Christ to keep us safe from the power of darkness because Christ created all, even the invisible angels who fell into darkness. The 4th reason is that …
4. He exists eternally before all things (v.17)
a. He IS before all things
1) The Holy Spirit did not have Paul write, “He was” but “He is.” Being God, Christ is incapable of change.
2) He is always before all things because He is the eternal God. He had no beginning.
3) Clarke explains, “As all creation necessarily exists in time, and had a commencement, and there was an infinite duration in which it did not exist, whatever was before or prior to that must be no part of creation; and the Being who existed prior to creation, and before all things – all existence of every kind, must be the unoriginated and eternal God.” Quoted by Guzik
b. By Him all things are held together
1) Robertson states, “Christ is the controlling and unifying force in nature.”
2) To this, Vincent adds, “Christ not only creates, but maintains in continuous stability and productiveness.”
3) Clarke notes, “Hence, God, as the Preserver, is as necessary to the continuance of all things, as God the Creator was to their original production. But this preserving or continuing power is here ascribed to Christ.” In Guzik
4) The Lord Jesus is the One who keeps our world together from the atoms all the way up to the stars. (Nehemiah 9:6) “Thou, even thou, art LORD alone; thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth thee.“
We can trust Christ to keep us safe from the power of darkness because Christ is the eternal sustainer of all creation.