Who [ie. Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature for by Him were all things created that are in heaven , and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist and He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him should all the fullness dwells.
D3.1 His church.
In scripture headship speaks of authority Eph.1:19-22; 5:23. Here we are referring to the church. However, let us make it clear what we are talking about. Jesus said He would build HIS church Mtt.16: 18-21. The word church simply means assembly. The OT word equivalent would be ‘congregation’, as in the congregation of Israel.
We are talking of the company of born-again believers of all the ages, not any organisation/denomination called churches. The church is also called the body of Christ I Cor.12 and there is only ONE body Eph.4:4. That is to say there is only ONE church, and it is Christ’s church, it consists of all born again believers, whatever local, national or international group they may identify with.
We gain entry to this church by being baptised by the Spirit into it, another term for new birth I Cor.12:12-13. The Church is referred to as a body, we are the members of that body, with Christ as its head. As such He is the one who has supreme authority over the church. Not a pope, Archbishop, apostle so called or miscalled, no pastor nor elder, nor any one man or woman. Christ is the head and is the supreme Lord of all.
Jesus has not abdicated that responsibility at all. The point being is that because He is the head every believer, who is in the body, is directly related to Him. As in the natural body each member is connected to the head directly and receives instructions from the head, so too each individual believer receives directly from Christ. This immediately does away with people micro-managing other people’s lives, a point that will be taken up later in the section of the danger of legalism.
Not that we have dominion over your faith. but are fellow helpers for your joy; for by faith ye stand.
D3.2 The firstborn from the dead
The beginning—Vine: arche= to be first, and archon= a ruler. So also, the idea of a beginning, the origin, the active cause whether a person or thing.
In Greek philosophy there was talk of the first cause. Here in scripture, we see that Paul, under inspiration declare that Christ is the first cause, the beginning. Rev.3:14.
The firstborn from the dead. Once more we encounter this word ‘firstborn’. From a previous discussion we showed that the word means to have priority. Jesus wasn’t the first to be raised from the dead but the first to be RESURRECTED.
In scripture when others were raised from the dead, they still had their mortal bodies. Christ, on the other hand, had a resurrection body. This can be easily demonstrated by considering His post resurrection appearances. Mary didn’t recognise Him, Jn.20:11-18, He appeared and disappeared at will Jn.20:19-20, and so on. Jesus being the firstborn from the dead is not surprising since He is the resurrection and the life Jn.11:25, Rev.1:18.
Another word that could be used here is ’first fruits’. In that great resurrection chapter Paul calls Jesus, the FIRSTFRUITS of them that sleep I Cor.15:20-23. What does this mean?
Lev.23:9-11 First fruits of the harvest were presented to God as a promise of what was to follow. Because Jesus was resurrected, we too shall be resurrected, a taste of this is given in Mtt.27:51-53.
D3.3 The preeminent one
In all things He might have the pre-eminence that is, to be first. This is with reference to the church. This is Christ’s rightful place in the church, He is the preeminent one.
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
The apostle John was concerned of a man called Diotrephes, who loved to have the pre-eminence. This man’s attitude and behaviour was unacceptable, he was in effect usurping Christ’s position as head. For Christ alone is the preeminent one. Jesus makes it clear that among God’s people there is to be no hierarchy Mk.10:42-45. An hierarchy implies that there is someone at the top – in ‘first’ position. Christ alone is in first position, not any man or woman.
It need not be a person who seeks pre-eminence, but the work of God may take over first spot. Individual preferences might, and so on. In the context of the Colossian letter, it could well be the Vain Philosophies, or Legalism or Mysticism. By their very nature, these begin to dominate people and then Christ is displaced. The fact that these have such an inevitable effect should warn us of their false promises.
The point being that the only preeminent one is Christ. Whether it be in our individual walk with the Lord or in our local assemblies. Let us be humble and give Christ His rightful place, as the pre-eminent One.