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DEVOTIONALS ON COLOSSIANS

CHRIST THE INCOMPARABLE (2)

Colossians 1:15-23

Gordon E. Johnson

Rio Grande Bible Institute

In our last devotional we looked at Paul's Prayer (1:9-14) for the Colossians believers whom he had never seen.  But his heart of love was open to them; he longs to see the believer discover the resources available to him.  Those resources are the believer's through the prayer he prayed for them.  In essence the resources are not things, but a person, the INCOMPARABLE CHRIST.  There is not greater lesson to be learned about the Christian life than that it revolves all together around a person.  Not I but Christ is Paul's concise way of directing us away from ourselves toward him.          

So much today revolves around our sentiments, our feelings and our interests. Even the popular praise choruses that reflect the true worship of God do not describe and define for us the incomparable beauty and majesty of Christ Jesus. Revelation gives us the theme of heaven's choruses; they ascribe to the Lamb the honor, worth and glory uniquely his, purchased for us by a Lamb "freshly slain" (5:9-14; 7:9, 16; 15:3, 4).

Paul here gives us in our present passage one of the most explicit descriptions of the Incomparable Christ. Under divine inspiration Paul reveals the poverty of human language in describing the glorified Christ. Reflect on this thought. It is Christ in all his glory who dwells in us by faith through the gracious work of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 3:14-20, the corresponding prayer and doxology of a parallel Prison Epistle).

Who is this incomparable Christ?  The image of the invisible God (15); the archetype of all God's creation (15b - archetype is defined by Webster as: the assumed exemplar or perfect model which inferior examples may resemble but never equal). He is the creator and sustainer by which all things subsist (16, 17). He is the head of the body, the church, of whom we are organic members (18). The ultimate flight of human thought: "so that he might have first place in everything. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in him" (18, 19).

But a yet greater truth is to be unveiled. This incomparable Christ reconciled to himself all things; the Cross now emerges in all its majesty. Christ's greatest achievement made "peace through the blood of his cross" (20).  But that chasm so deep is seen in what follows –"and you. .  . formerly alienated, hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds . . . he has reconciled in his fleshly body through death to present you before him holy, blameless and beyond reproach" (21, 22). The incomparable Christ has accomplished an incomparable redemption for us and in us.

But a further word of caution: "if  indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel" (23).  This caution is not given to bring fear or doubt, but to remind us that so great a salvation (Heb. 2:3) must be given our highest priority. That he might have the preeminence in everything (18). But it is not a demand without the full assurance of his indwelling, of his being our total sufficiency. Take hope, take courage, the incomparable Christ has redeemed us. What can we possibly lack? Let faith and praise respond; "I am Thine, Oh Lord."

May 10, 2005
G. E. Johnson