Useful Bible Studies > Colossians Commentary > chapter 1

Christ is the ruler of the new creation, his ‘church’

Colossians 1:18

The firstborn means the first son in a family, and therefore its head, or ruler. So, in verse 15, Paul called Christ ‘the firstborn of all creation’ – in other words, its ruler. ‘Creation’ means all that God has created in this present age.

The ‘new creation’ means all that God will create for the future age (Revelation chapters 21 and 22). In the first creation, God made the heavens, the earth and everything in them from nothing (Genesis chapter 1). In the new creation, God brings life from death (see Hebrews 11:13-19). We need God to do that, because our evil deeds have placed this world in a state of death (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:19; Romans 6:23). In other words, everything in our present world must die.

God has already begun his work to make that new creation. That work began when he caused Christ’s dead body to live again (1 Corinthians 15:20-24). It continues whenever anyone turns from their evil deeds to trust in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). That person receives in their spirit (although not yet in their body) a new kind of life that will never end (John 3:16; John 11:25-26).

So, Christ is the firstborn, the ruler, of the new creation. All God’s people belong to that new creation, even while they still live in this world. Paul calls them by the Greek word EKKLESIA, which we translate ‘church’. Really, it means those people whom God has ‘called out’ of this world. In other words, God chooses them to be his holy people (1 Peter 2:9-10). Paul also calls them Christ’s ‘body’. In other words, they belong to that new creation only because of their relationship with Christ. They did not deserve it and they could not earn it. They only deserved death because of their evil deeds – but Christ, through his death, gave them life without end (Romans 5:17-21). They only had to turn from their evil deeds and to put their trust in Christ (Acts 3:19).

Next part: Christ is fully God (Colossians 1:19)


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© 2019, Keith Simons.