Life-Study of Colossiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall give a general word regarding the extensive revelation of the all-inclusive Christ. Many of us have seen the all-inclusiveness of Christ, but have not seen the extensiveness of Christ. The book of Colossians emphasizes Christ’s extensiveness. Paul’s purpose in writing this book was to show the extensive revelation of Christ.
Christ is universally extensive. No scientist can tell us the dimensions of the universe. In Ephesians 3 Paul speaks of the dimensions of Christ as the breadth, length, height, and depth. Like the universe, Christ is immeasurable. Such a Christ is our universe. The immeasurable Christ spoken of in Ephesians 3 is not only the all-inclusive Christ; He is also the extensive Christ, the One who is universally extensive.
In presenting a revelation of the extensiveness of Christ, the book of Colossians uses a number of unique expressions. For example, in 1:12 we see that Christ is the portion of the saints. The Greek word rendered portion means an allotment. After the children of Israel entered into the good land, the land became their lot, their portion. The good land flowing with milk and honey was an all-inclusive type of Christ. As our good land, Christ is our portion, the portion of the saints.
This portion is also the image of the invisible God (1:15). In 2 Corinthians 4:4 Paul uses the term “the image of God”; however, in that verse he does not say that Christ is the image of the invisible God. According to 1:15, the invisible God has a visible image.
In verse 15 the term “Firstborn of all creation” stands in apposition to “image of the invisible God.” That there is no conjunction connecting these terms indicates that these terms are synonymous. The image of the invisible God is the Firstborn of all creation, and the Firstborn of all creation is the image of the invisible God.
According to the principle in the Bible, the first in a certain category often includes all the other items in that category. The book of Revelation says that Christ is the Alpha and the Omega. This does not mean, however, that Christ is only these two letters and not all the letters in between. Because He is the first letter, He is also all the other letters. The principle is the same with respect to the slaughter of the firstborn in the book of Exodus. The firstborn of the Egyptians represented all the Egyptians. Likewise, when the Bible says that Christ is the Firstborn of all creation, it implies that Christ includes every item of the creation. This concept is confirmed in Colossians 2, where Paul says that such things as eating, drinking, feasts, new moons, and Sabbaths are shadows and that Christ is the body, the substance, of these shadows. Based upon this illustration, we may go on to say that Christ is our clothing, transportation, housing, and everything to us. But this is altogether different from equating every material thing with Christ. That is pantheism. According to the Bible, we can say that Christ is our food, drink, clothing, and dwelling place. But we cannot turn this around and say that our literal food, clothing, and houses are Christ. That would be the grossly heretical doctrine of pantheism. Nevertheless, we have the biblical ground to say that Christ is the reality of every positive thing in the universe: He is the door, the light, the life, the Shepherd, the pasture. All these aspects of Christ are either mentioned or alluded to in the Gospel of John. Therefore, we can say that Christ is everything to us, the reality of all positive things.
In 1:16 and 17 Paul says, “Because in Him were all things created in the heavens and on the earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or lordships or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through Him and unto Him. And He is before all things, and all things subsist together in Him.” Here we see that all things were created in Christ, through Christ, and unto Christ. Furthermore, all things are now subsisting together in Christ. The One in whom, through whom, and unto whom all things were created and in whom they subsist is the image, the expression, of God. Thus, God is expressed in the creation of all things in Christ.
In 1:18 we see that Christ is not only the Firstborn of all creation, but is also the Firstborn from among the dead. This refers to God’s new creation. The old creation came into being by God’s creating activity, whereas the new creation came into being through the resurrection of Christ. Christ is the first both of the old creation and of the new creation, which is the church, the Body of Christ. In the church as God’s new creation, Christ is everything. According to 3:10 and 11, Christ is in all the members of the new man and is all the members.
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