Who is Christ in Colossians?

For the Christian, knowing who Jesus Christ is and what He has done is integral to knowing our salvation. The Bible is God’s selection of divinely edited material on the subject of Christ, who is Emmanuel, God with us.

The apostle Paul wrote his epistle to the Colossians, a gathering of Christians he had never met in person. He wanted them to know that he was praying for them, and praying especially that they would know Christ. Let us consider Christ revealed in Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae.

1. Jesus Christ/Christ Jesus (1:1, 3) — Jesus means, “Yahweh saves” and Christ means, “Messiah” and “anointed.” Jesus came to fulfill the purpose of God.

2. Word of truth (1:5) — Jesus is the word of God enfleshed (Jn 1:14), and the truth (Jn 14:16).

3. Lord (1:10) — Jesus Christ is “Lord,” one title of Yahweh (adonai) in the Old Testament.

4. His beloved Son (1:13) — Jesus is the eternal Son of God (2nd Person of the Trinity), who became the Son of man. Jesus had two natures. He was fully God and fully man.

5. Icon — He is the image of the invisible God (1:15) — Jesus is an exact representation of God. If you have seen Jesus, you have seen God the Father (Jn 14:9).

6. Prime — He is the first born of all creation (1:15) — Jesus is first in importance. This does not mean Jesus was a created being.

7. Creator — He is the creator of all things (1:16) — Jesus is the Creator of everything.

8. First — He is before all things (1:17a) — In place and time, Jesus is first.

9. Sustainer — In Him all things hold together (1:17b) — Jesus holds everything together by the Word of His power (Heb 1:3).

10. Head — He is the head of the body, the church (1:18a) — the body is directed in every regard by its Head. The church has one Leader, who is Christ (Mt 23:10).

11. Resurrection — He is the beginning, the first born from the dead (1:18b) — first of His kind as new and indestructible life. His people will follow His pattern in the resurrection of the body (Jn 5:28–29; 1 Cor 15).

12. First — He Himself might come to have first place in everything (1:18c) — Jesus is primary. He is triumphant (2 Cor 2:14), crowned, and enthroned (Ps 110:1).

13. Fully God…all the fullness to dwell in Him (1:19) — Jesus is fully God and fully man. He has the substance of deity, as do the Father and the Spirit. Jesus dwells in perfect unity with the Father and the Spirit. The Trinitarian Godhead is one God in three Persons (perfect unity in diversity).

14. Reconciler — through Him to reconcile all things to Himself (1:20) — Jesus is our reconciliation with God and man. In Him, we have reconciliation (Rom 5:11) because God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (2 Cor 5:18–20).

15. Peace — peace through the blood of the Cross (1:20b) — For He Himself is our peace, the prince of peace (Is 9:6; Eph 2:14).

16. Sacrifice — He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death (1:22) — Jesus is the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Jn 1:29; Rev 5:6, 12). He offered up Himself (Heb 7:27), on the Cross (1 Pet 2:24), on behalf of His Beloved Church (Jn 10:11, 15; Eph 5:25).

17. Suffering Servant — Christ’s afflictions (1:24) — Jesus suffered and died on our behalf (2 Cor 5:21). He is the suffering servant of Isaiah 53, and as His body, the church (Mt 16:18; 1 Cor 12:13), we join in what He suffered at the hands of men (Jn 16:33).

18. Word of God (1:25) — Jesus is the word of God (Jn 1:1, 14), the divine Logos.

19. Hope — Christ in you = mystery & hope of glory (1:27) — Jesus is our only hope (1 Tim 1:1).

20. True knowledge (2:2) — Knowing Christ is knowing God (Jn 8:19; 14:7), who is true (Rom 3:4).

21. Ark — in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (2:3) — Jesus is the ark of our salvation, like Noah’s ark. He is also the cabinet, the ark of the covenant, holding the Law of God. In both cases, there is treasure inside the ark. He is with us, our treasure in earthen vessels. We grow in grace and the knowledge of Him (2 Pet 3:18), who is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24)

22. God — For in Him all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form (2:9) — Jesus is God, who has come and dwelt among us as a perfect, sinless God/man (Heb 4:15; 7:26); for unto us a child is born (Is 9:6), who is called, “Mighty God and Eternal Father.”

23. Completeness — in Him you have been made complete (2:10) — Jesus accomplishes what concerns us (Ps 57:2; 138:8). We should desire to be complete (Mt 19:21) in mind (1 Cor 1:10) and in unity. We pray for completeness (2 Cor 13:9). We will be complete in glory (1 Thess 5:23).

24. Head — He is head over all rule and authority (2:10b) — Jesus is head of the church, but also head over every authority aligned with or aligned against Him (Mt 28:18). He is Lord of all (Acts 10:36). Jesus sits in the heavens and does as He pleases (Ps 115:3; 135:6) with perfect sovereignty.

25. Christ is our circumcision (2:11) — Jesus was the life-giving vessel, Himself cut as the sacrifice of the new covenant (Mt 26:28).

26. Resurrection — Christ is raised from the dead (2:12) — Jesus is the resurrection and the life (Jn 11:25).

27. Union head (2:13) — Jesus is our inheritance, in whom all blessings of God are ours (Eph 1:3). He is in us, and we are in Him (Jn 17:21). This mutual indwelling is our union with Christ.

28. Agent of forgiveness (2:13) — Who can forgive sins but God alone? Jesus Christ forgives sins (Mt 9:6; Acts 5:31; 10:43).

29. Payer of the penalty (2:14) — Jesus paid the debt His people owed to the Law because of sins. Our debt of sin is cancelled, and the wrath of God against us is removed (Rom 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10).

30. Victor over rulers and authorities (2:15) — Jesus has triumphed over His foes (1 Jn 3:8). He is triumphant (2 Cor 2:14).

31. Substance and fulfillment of OT types (2:16–17) — The OT references Jesus Christ some 350 times. He is identified as the anti-type of OT shadows pointing to the coming Messiah. He alone fulfills the prophecies of Messiah and types, too.

32. Head of the body (2:19) — Jesus is the sole leader of His church, that lives, breathes, and has its being, only in Him. The church, the Israel of God (Gal 6:16), is His body of people (1 Cor 12:13), the temple of the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:20–22).

33. Supplier of the body (2:19) — Jesus is the provider for the church (2 Cor 9:8–11).

34. Tie that binds the body (2:19) — Jesus holds the church together.

35. Agent of growth for the body (2:19) — Jesus is sole reason for church growth in maturity and numbers. He adds to His church (Acts 2:47; 5:14).

36. Resurrection life (for the soul) — (3:1) — Jesus gives spiritual life to the souls of His elect ones through regeneration by the Holy Spirit (Jn 3:1–8; 1 Pet 1:3). This foreshadows the resurrection of the body (1 Cor 15). He made us alive (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13).

37. Christ is seated at the right hand of God (3:1b) — Jesus is God’s “right hand man (Ps 110:1).” God is a Spirit, and Jesus is God/man in a glorified body. Jesus is at the center of the throne of God (Rev 7:17), in the position of power at the Father’s right hand of Majesty (Mk 16:9; Acts 2:33; Heb 8:1; 12:2).

38. Christ in God (3:3) — Jesus is in the Father, and the Father is in Jesus (Jn 14:10; 17:21).

39. Christ, who is our life (3:4) — Christ lives in me (Gal 2:20), and He gives me His life (Jn 10:28), which is abundant and eternal (Jn 10:10; 17:2).

40. Christ revealed as coming again (3:4) — Jesus will come again as the divine warrior/judge (Mt 24–25; Mk 13; Lk 21; 1 Thess 4:13–5:11; Rev 19:11–21; 22:20).

41. Christ in glory (3:4) — Jesus is glorious, and where Jesus is there is glory (Rev 21–22).

42. Christ is the mold (3:10) — Jesus is the pattern of perfection, and we are being conformed through sanctification by the Holy Spirit (Ezek 36:27; Rom 8:29; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:1–2).

43. Christ is all, and in all (3:11) — For from Him, through Him, and to Him are all things (Rom 11:36).

44. the Lord who forgives (3:13) — Jesus is the Son of man, who forgives sins (Mt 9:6; Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38).

45. Ruler of the heart (3:15) — The Spirit of Christ dwells in the heart of believers (Rom 8:9), and Jesus is King and Lord over our hearts. He authors and perfects our faith (Heb 12:2), and we set our minds and affections on Him (Rom 8:5–7; Col 3:2).

46. Peace of Christ (3:15) — He Himself is our peace (Eph 2:14). We have no peace with God, nor others, unless we have the peace of Christ, which passes all comprehension (Phil 4:7).

47. Word of Christ richly dwell in you (3:16) — Jesus is the Word of God and the Word of truth (Ps 119:160; Jn 17:17), which dwells in believers by the Spirit of truth, who leads us into all truth (Jn 16:13).

48. do all in the name of the Lord Jesus (3:17) — Jesus has the name above every other name (Phil 2:9), and the only name given among men, under heaven, where people must be saved (Act 4:12).

49. Mediator of prayers of thanksgiving to the Father (3:17) — Jesus is the one Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5), and He is ever working intercession on our behalf (Heb 7:25)

50. Lord of marriage (3:18); Lord of family (3:20); Lord of employment (3:22); Lord of work (3:23) — Jesus is the Lord of our lives and ministry (see 4:17). We must subject ourselves to Him in everything, with all humility, loving one another, in obedience to His commandments (Jn 13:34–35).

51. Rewarder — from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance (3:24) — God is the giver of every good gift (Jas 1:17), and Jesus is the best gift He gives (Jn 3:16; 2 Cor 9:15). He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6).

52. Lord Christ whom you serve (3:24) — Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil 2:11), and we are His slaves (Eph 6:6). As our Federal Head, He represents us (Rom 5:12–21). As Lord, He directs us by His Word and Spirit (Prv 3:5–6; Jn 16:13).

53. Master in heaven (4:1) — Jesus is in heaven, from whence He shall come again. He is over all, and is working all things according to the eternal decree and predetermined plan and purpose of God (Acts 2:23; 4:28; Eph 3:11).

54. Mystery of Christ (4:3) — Jesus is the hidden mystery of God from before the foundation of the world (Eph 3:4). He has been revealed to us at the fullness of time (Gal 4:4). He is made known to us by the Holy Spirit and Scriptures given to us (2 Tim 3:16; Heb 4:12; 2 Pet 1:20–21).

55. Ministry giver (4:17) — Jesus calls us and gifts us (Rom 8:30; 12; 1 Cor 12; Eph 4), for the works of service to His church and as a witness in the world (Acts 1:8; Rom 11:29; Eph 2:10).

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

February 17, 2021

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David Norczyk

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher