“The Preeminent Christ”
The gospel reveals the centrality of Christ in all things. In fact, the gospel is the eternal plan of God to return everything to its proper order in Christ (cf. Ephesians 1:9-10; 3:10-11). The world is more Christ-centered than it might think, and for this unawareness it is not nearly as Christ-centered as it should be. Sadly, despite some being aware of Christ and the great position He holds, through self-will they redefine what Christ-centeredness is, and ironically dismiss Him in their activities of life. We who bear the name of Christ and who seek to bear His image should realize the intense focus placed upon Him in the gospel. This must result in the Christ-centered life as revealed in scripture.
Paul’s epistle to the Colossians focuses on Christ at the center of all. The Holy Spirit used a specific term which speaks volumes about Christ’s importance – “that in all things He may have the preeminence”(Colossians 1:18). “Preeminence” means “to hold the highest rank in a group, be first, have first place” (BDAG). The NASB translates the verse, “that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.” It is imperative we understand the preeminence of Christ and reflect it in our lives. The epistle to the Colossians details the preeminent Christ.
Christ has the preeminence in:
Creation – Christ is supreme in creation because He is the Creator. Jesus was not merely a man but was God in bodily form (cf. Colossians 2:9). He is the very image of God. That He is “firstborn” (Colossians 1:15) is not indicative of being the first that was created – as that would contradict the next verse – but as having priority and sovereignty. Every facet of creation, whether “visible [or] invisible” (Colossians 1:16), was “created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16). The very continuation of all things depends on His say so (cf. Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3).
Salvation – Christ as Creator uniquely qualifies Him as Savior. Only the One who made man as he should be at the beginning could set him right after his self-inflicted harm. When the blood of animals proved insufficient (cf. Hebrews 10:1-4), Christ entered flesh to redeem us by His own blood (cf. Colossians 1:14). Through “the blood of His cross” we are reconciled to the Father and find peace in our relationship with Him (cf. Colossians 1:19-22).
Authority – That Christ redeemed us by His blood means He purchased us to be His own (cf. Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). In our redemption we were delivered from the “domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13, NASB) and “conveyed into the kingdom of the Son” (Colossians 1:13). He is the ruling King (cf. Acts 2:34-36), His territory is the hearts of those who submit to His truth (cf. John 18:37), and the gospel is His law (cf. Galatians 6:2; James 1:25). When He was raised from the dead, He ascended to the right hand of God to be King on His throne, and the head of the church which is His body (cf. Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22-23). He has “the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18). Whatever is said or done must be in His name, or by His authority (cf. Colossians 3:17).
Preaching – As Christ is preeminent in creation, salvation, and authority, it is understandable that in the New Testament He was always preeminent in the preaching of the gospel. This is Paul’s focus in the Colossian epistle. “The faith…the gospel which [they] heard” (Colossians 1:23) was all about Christ. “Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28). The word of Christ is to be the content of preaching, not philosophy or traditions of men (cf. Colossians 2:1-10).
Your Life – Christ being first rank in creation, salvation, authority, and gospel preaching is culminated in His preeminence in our lives. He is the fullness, and we are complete in Him (cf. Colossians 1:19; 2:9-10). He is the substance (cf. Colossians 2:17). We are to hold fast to Him as head (cf. Colossians 2:19). As we have been raised with Him, we are to seek the things above, where He reigns (cf. Colossians 3:1-4). Everything we say or do is to be in line with His authority (cf. Colossians 3:17). This includes His order in every part of our lives – wives, husbands, children, parents, bondservants, masters, etc. (cf. Colossians 3:18-4:1). Does Christ have the preeminence in your life?