7. The Supremacy of Christ: Colossians
Is Christianity just one of many spiritual practices? Is Jesus merely a great teacher among several others?
He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.
Is Christianity just one of many viable spiritual practices? Is Jesus merely a great teacher among several others?
The church in Colossae of Paul’s time was confronted with these types of questions. Infiltrated by the surrounding culture’s ideas and pressures, they found themselves in a bit of spiritual disorientation. Paul, after receiving news of this church he had founded, wrote a letter in response, encouraging the Colossians to stay grounded in Christ.
The Colossian Christians were being pulled in two different directions. One push was toward a more “open-minded” approach to spirituality, engaging in the worship of multiple Gods from different religions. Another push was toward adopting a legalistic approach to religion, observing Old Testament laws to earn and maintain one’s salvation.
Paul challenges both, proclaiming that Jesus has triumphed over all other spiritual forces, and he has also fulfilled the Old Testament law! Paul seeks to bring the Colossians back to spiritual soundness by directing their attention to who Jesus is and what he has done. When these truths are brought into focus, no other spiritual leader or religion can compare.
The letter of Colossians declares:
Jesus is God the Son, come to us that we might know God.
Jesus is the one through whom all things were created.
He is the one who provides peace with God through his blood on the cross.
He is the head of creation and the head of the church.
The universe owes its continued coherence to Christ: in him all things hold together.
Jesus has triumphed over sin and Satan.
He has been exalted as King.
In Jesus is the pattern for the life of faith.
Jesus lives in his people and shares his glory with them.
In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Given Jesus’s supremacy in all things, any other religious regulations or spiritual pursuits are useless! Christ is everything! Christ is all we need!
Now, Paul’s message in Colossians is not just rudimentary knowledge for new Believers or confused Christians. His teaching on the supremacy of Christ is the key to continued faithful living.
Do you feel like you are stalling out in your spiritual journey? Do you need a boost of spiritual life and energy?
Paul would remind you of the great truth that you are united to the supreme Christ: you are in him and he is in you. You share in Christ’s death, now dead to your old self! You share in Christ’s resurrection, now risen again to a new life!
Embracing your unity with Christ connects your heart to his and empowers you to live from him as a new creation. Colossians lays out how this supreme power manifests itself in our lives. For example: We see things from Christ’s perspective instead of an earthly one, which brings peace and stability into our lives. We become more like Christ in the way we relate to others with compassion, love and forgiveness. And we find our family lives transformed by Christ’s self-giving love as our own needs become less important.
God does not leave us to our own means but equips us with the highest power of all powers. In light of this great reality, Paul declares, “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus (Colossians 3:17).” As we work, we rely upon God’s work within us. Paul says it like this in Colossians 1:29, “For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
RESPOND: In whatever situation you might be facing, take a moment to center yourself in reliance upon Christ, praying:
God, I admit that without you I can do nothing.
I pray for your help with what is at hand.
And I trust in your promise to fill me with all your power in Christ.