Grace Bible Church

Preaching the Living Word through the Written Word












(Col 1:15b-17) 05/28/17

Grace Bible Church, Gillette, Wyoming

Pastor Daryl Hilbert




A.    Polemic Value of Firstborn

1.     From the Pre-Gnostics and Judaizers influencing the Colossian church, the Arians in the second century, and the Jehovah Witnesses of our day, the meaning of the “firstborn of all creation” has been disputed.

2.     They argue that Christ was the first of God’s creation, making him a created being and not God.

B.    Explanation of Firstborn

1.     Firstborn” is the Greek word prōtotokos (prōtos - first, tokos childbirth). It can literally mean the first child born to a family. Jesus was Mary’s firstborn son (Luk 2:7).

2.     However, it also has a metaphorical meaning which implies a person’s rank and/or their right to an inheritance. Scripture gives examples of this second meaning.

a.     Israel was called God’s firstborn, though certainly not the first created nation (Exo 4:22).

b.     Jacob received Esau’s firstborn birthright (Gen 25:30-34; Gen 27:36)

c.     Jacob blessed Joseph’s second-born with the firstborn blessing (Gen 48:14-20).

d.     It was a term applied to the preeminence of the Messiah (Psa 89:27).

3.     Incorporating the context into the interpretation, Paul explains (“for”) that Jesus was not the first created being, but God (Col 1:15a) and Creator (Col 1:16). The only correct conclusion is that Christ is God.

4.     The phrase could understandably be translated as “firstborn ‘over’ all creation” (NET) because God the Son was Creator and had been exalted to highest rank after accomplishing redemption and reconciliation (Php 2:9-11).



NAU  Joh 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.


BGT  Joh 1:18 Qeo.n ouvdei.j e`w,raken pw,pote\ monogenh.j qeo.j o` w'n eivj to.n ko,lpon tou/ patro.j evkei/noj evxhgh,satoÅ



NAU  Joh 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.


BGT  Joh 1:1 VEn avrch/| h=n o` lo,goj( kai. o` lo,goj h=n pro.j to.n qeo,n( kai. qeo.j h=n o` lo,gojÅ




A.    Architect of the Universe

1.     Though Gen 1:1 reveals that God created the heavens and the earth, the NT reveals that Christ as a member of the Trinity, shared in the creation of the world (cf. Gen 1:1, 2).

a.     The phrase “by Him” (en autō) could mean exactly what it says, that all things were created “by” Him. That truth is also recorded in the last part of the verse, “all things were created ‘through’ Him.” Christ is the agent and builder of creation.

b.     However, it could also be translated, “in Him,” giving us a three-prepositional statement in regard to Christ and creation, “All things were created ‘in’ Him,” “all things were created ‘by’ Him,” and “all things were created ‘for’ Him.”

c.     According to S. Lewis Johnson, “in Him” could imply that Christ was the Architect of the Universe…that the plans of the universe were drawn up in the mind of the eternal Son.

d.     Note the brevity of this verse then, not only is Christ the Architect, He is also the Builder of the Universe (“all things were created ‘by’ Him”), and the Glory of the Universe (“all things were created ‘for’ Him” i.e. created to glorify Christ).

2.     It is impossible to disconnect the concept of Christ being Creator and the fact that He is deity. Especially when the term “firstborn” refers to Christ’s rank and not a chronological reference.

a.     The fact that the text maintains that Christ is the Creator of all things, logically implies that He Himself was not a created creature. Self-creation is a logical impossibility.

b.     Created” (ktizō) is a Greek word that means to bring into existence. In the NT, it is only used of God’s activity (Rom 1:25; Rev 4:11). Here it is appropriate to apply to God the Son.

c.     God the Son’s activity as Creator is also recorded in other parts of the NT (Joh 1:3, 10; 1Co 8:6; Heb 1:2, 8-10).

3.     “All things” include everything in every possible category of created things.

a.     Paul begins to clarify “all things” by mentioning the heavens and the earth. It describes the fullest expanse of God’s creation. It encompasses everything created in the heavens and the earth.

b.     This refuted the Judaizers view that Christ was a mere man and not God.

c.     Paul is also refuting the Pre-Gnostic dualism between the immaterial heavenly realm and the evil material realm. But Paul dismantled the belief that the material world was created by an evil emanation while the Invisible Spirit created the spirit realm. Christ, the real image of God, created all things including in heavenly realm as well as the earthly realm, the immaterial world as well as the material world.

d.     The “visible” (horatos) would include everything in the visible material world that can be seen by man. “Invisible” (aoratos) would include everything in the invisible spirit world which cannot be seen by man. The Pre-Gnostic belief taught that there were many invisible aeons or emanations that were part of the spirit world but not a part of the visible world. But on the contrary, Christ created both worlds in which there are no emanations. Christ is not a mere intermediary, but the Creator of all that exists.

4.     The Pre-Gnostics held the view that aeons, also called “angels,” were mediators between the immaterial and material worlds. Therefore, this false view included angel worship (Col 2:18). Paul refuted the Gnostic belief that Christ was not an angel-mediator, but the Creator of the angelic world and its ranks. Those ranks were divided into hierarchies called, “thrones (thronoi) or dominions (kuriotêtes) or rulers (archai) or authorities(exousiai).”

a.     Paul does not deny that angelic beings exist and or that there are hierarchies among angels (Eph 1:21-22). Nor does he deny that angelic beings can influence for good or evil (Eph 6:12).

b.     But Paul’s point is that Christ is the Creator of even the invisible world of angels. Therefore, compared to angels (or aeons) Christ is greater (Heb 1:4), called the Son (Heb 1:5), worshipped by angels (Heb 1:6), is called God (Heb 1:8), called Creator (Heb 1:10-12), and submitted to as Lord (Heb 1:13).

B.    Builder of the Universe

1.     Paul reiterates that Christ is Creator of all things, but incudes the detail that all things have been created through Him. Paul discloses that Christ is the Builder of the Universe.

2.     “Through” is the preposition (dia instrumental cause) and here means by the agency of Christ. Christ is the agent, Christ is the builder. But remember He is not the mere builder, “All things were created “in Him” so He is also the architect and designer.

C.    Glory of the Universe

1.     The ultimate design of all creation was to glorify the Creator. Christ is the Creator, so all things have been created “for Him.” The preposition “for” (eis - final cause) can indicate purpose so that we might say, all things were created “for the purpose of glorifying Christ.”

2.     All of Christ’s creation is to bring glory to Him. When man sinned, the effect of sin upon man and creation caused opposition to the glory of Christ (Rom 8:20-23). But Christ will be glorified in the end, not only through providing redemption and resurrection, but also by the creation of a new heavens and a new earth.



A.    In order for Christ to be Creator, He had to be “before all things.” Not first as a created being, but eternal.

B.    Christ is described as being “in the beginning” (Joh 1:1). This is the same phrase used of God in Gen 1:1). As God the Father is eternal, so Christ the Son is eternal (Joh 1:2 cf. Mic 5:2; Rev 22:13.

C.    Because Christ is God, He is able to “hold all things together” (sunistêmi - “stand together”).

D.    When Christ spoke all things into existence (Psa 33:6; Heb 11:3; 2Pe 3:5;), they remained in existence, continue in their created state (perfect tense of ktizō - “created and continue to be created, Col 1:16), and are held together by that same word of Christ (Heb 1:3).




A.    Creator of the Believer’s New Life (2Co 5:17)

1.     When a believer trusts the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, he not only receives forgiveness of sin and has eternal life, Christ makes him a new creation.

2.     He has a new nature, new desires, new outlook.

3.     2Co 5:17 tells us that Christ is Creator of the believer’s spiritual life. If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior (explain), you can have new life right now, you can have assurance of forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

B.    Sustainer of the Believer’s Life (Php 4:13)

1.     Christ sustains the all things by the power of His Word. The world may seem like it shaky, but Christ holds all things together.

2.     But Christ also holds the believer together, He sustains the believer through all difficulties, all persecution, all trials, and all that He asks of the believer.

3.     Php 4:13 tells us that the believer can do all things through Christ who strengthens and sustains him in everything that happens to the believer, no matter how difficult.

C.    Architect of the Believer’s Future (Eph 2:10)

1.     Christ is the Architect, Designer, Geometer of all creation. But He is also the Architect and Designer of the believer’s future, ministry, and good works.

2.     We are the workmanship of the Great Architect. Our future and ministry have been planned by the Great Designer. Our good works were prepared before the foundation of the world by Christ the Geometer.





Grace Bible Church · 4000 E. Collins Rd ·  PO Box #3762 · Gillette, WY · (307) 686-1516