15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He might come to have first place in everything. 19 For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile everything to Himself by making peace through the blood of His cross—whether things on earth or things in heaven. 21 Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds because of your evil actions. 22 But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him— 23 if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together.
Take a moment and consider the depth and width of this picture of our Christ. All things created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. The beginning. All of God’s fullness dwells in Him.
He makes peace with God for us through the blood of the cross. His physical body paid an awesome, terrible price so that we can now be holy, faultless, and blameless. We are presented this way to God because of Jesus’ sacrifice.
This passage is themed the centrality of Christ. Truly it sums up who He is and who He is to us. If we’re not careful, we can skim and not see the depth and gravity of what we’re reading.
Reread all of the portions of the passage that begin with “He is…” Wow! He’s truly amazing, awesome, and so many more things than our simple language can convey.
There are many discussion items in the nine verses we’re looking at today. Instead of trying to unpack all of them, let’s look at verse 17. In this verse, we’re told that by Him all things hold together.
Have you ever directed an organization, a team, a family, or some other group? Have you felt the pressure of knowing that your actions would greatly affect others? Did you feel the weight of holding that group together? Did you ever feel that if you let your guard down for just a second or let your concentration lapse then something would detach from the group and fly away?
As a type A person who sometimes enjoys chaos and seeing how much multitasking is possible (and admittedly one who carries more anxiety than the NONE we’re biblically instructed to carry), there comes a point sometimes where I have to prioritize and let something go.
Whatever that activity, task, or person is, they’re lowered in priority so I can focus on something else. Aren’t we glad God holds all things together? Not all but one person (who might be me or you)—ALL!
Consider our world and how significant the ripple effect is if one part of the world’s system is out of balance.
Financial collapse in one part of the world quickly changes relative worth of currency in another part of the world. A very small physical shift in the ocean floor can lead to truly catastrophic events that kill thousands. The actions of a small group of evil people can lead to countries going to war.
Why do bad things such as these happen? I heard a teacher once say that instead of asking why they happen, ask why don’t they happen more often. It’s because God holds all things together. Without a God that holds this fragile planet and many very, very different people groups together, destruction would be swift.
Receive peace with the knowledge that God holds all things together. He wants us to follow Him so our lives will be the best they can be. But know that if we don’t follow Him perfectly, God is still in control.
Does that give you peace? It does me. Isn’t doesn’t mean we don’t care about the outcome or our behavior. It means we understand that grace is a part of our lives and that God is in control.
- Are you in control? Do you think you’re in control?
- Are you willing to release your belief that you’re in control and freely admit that God is better at leading your life than you?
- Has there ever been a situation in your life where you thought it was out of control and hopeless, only to find God was holding things together the entire time?
- What does grace mean to you today?