Colossians 1:14 . . . in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
If your son was sold into slavery, and you wanted to buy him back, you could purchase his redemption. Depending on his age, productivity, and the going rate, his price could be high or low. But the cost of our redemption was so great that all the money in the world was not enough. It took nothing less than the blood of God’s Son to buy us back.
If someone pays ten thousand dollars for a car that is only worth one thousand dollars, they have made a foolish mistake. But God is not a fool who overpays for anything. He was not obligated to redeem us, but by doing so, he showed how much he values us. Whenever you want to know how much you are worth, think of Jesus Christ hanging on a cross. That is what God paid to get you back.
Colossians 1:15 The Son is the image of the invisible God.
God’s invisibility makes it hard for us to believe in him, and many refuse to believe for that very reason. We all identify with Philip who said, Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us (John 14:8). Jesus replied, Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father (John 14:9). Philip was likely disappointed; he wanted to see God, but all he got was Jesus Christ.
If God gave us a statue of himself, it would be so big that we would not be able to recognize him. But if that statue was somehow miniaturized, to exactly the right size for us, it would look exactly like Jesus Christ. If you want to know what God is like, just look at Christ. He is the image of the invisible God.
Colossians 1:16 [A]ll things have been created through him and for him.
Jesus is the maker of everything, and everything was made for him. This answers the question, What am I here for? Some who are highly gifted may think that they were made for athletics, or music, or academics, or business, or whatever they excel at. It is great to be talented, but it can also be misleading. We were not just made for something; we were made for someone.
You might be the best in the world at surfing, but what will it matter, a million years from now, if you did not do it for Christ? You might be the best in the world at chess, but what will it matter, a million years from now, if you did not do it for Christ?
Whatever you do for yourself will be forgotten, but whatever you do for Christ will count forever. It might include a famous career, or simply staying married. The reason we get out of bed every day, is to do what we are supposed to do, for the one we are supposed to do it. He not only made us, he made us for himself.
Colossians 1:17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
The world did not create itself, and does not hold itself together. The world was created by Jesus Christ, and he is the one who upholds it. If Jesus stopped holding the world together, it would fly apart or cease to exist. This is true for the world as a whole, but also for its parts. If God forgot about the roof on your house, it would cease to exist. If God forgot about the nose on your face, it would cease to exist.
This idea is not found on every page of Scripture, but it is found in at least one other place. [He is] sustaining all things by his powerful word (Hebrews 1:3), says Hebrews. Jesus is our creator as well as our sustainer. We began to exist because of Jesus Christ, and we continue to exist because of Jesus Christ. We depend on Jesus Christ for our existence, every moment of every day.
Colossians 1:22 [H]e has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death.
Many years ago, prominent families may have used whipping boys to bear the punishment their own children deserved. When a privileged child behaved badly, the whipping boy was punished. Justice was served, and the privileged child was spared.
The logic of the gospel is similar, but even more appalling. God sent his own Son to be the whipping boy, so that we could become his privileged children. Jesus was punished for our sins so that we could be spared. [God] has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death.
Colossians 1:22b . . . to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation.
This may be the best verse in the Bible for people with a guilty conscience; and we should all have a guilty conscience, if not for previous sin, then at least for remaining sin. What makes this verse so helpful is that it repeats the promise of forgiveness, through faith in Jesus Christ, in three different ways.
First, we are holy in his sight. I might be able to convince others that I am holy, but God knows what I’m really like. And yet, he declares me holy in his sight because of Jesus Christ. My wife cannot say that I’m holy in her sight, but God says that I am holy in his sight.
Second, we are without blemish. After examining every moral fiber of our being, God finds nothing reprehensible in us. There is no blemish of sin in our hearts, minds or anywhere else. He thoroughly examines us, with perfect vision, and finds no blemish at all.
Third, because we are holy in his sight, and without blemish, it follows that we are free from accusation. Our forgiveness is so complete, there is nothing we can even be accused of. We have perfect peace with God because of Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
Reflection and Review
How do we know that we matter to God?
How has God made himself visible?
How complete is our forgiveness?