WHAT CHRIST IS CONCERNING CREATION
Then concerning creation, Christ is the first item, the Firstborn of all creation (v. 15b). I do not have the human words to explain this. In a word, Christ is the Creator as well as the creature. He is the One who created, and He is also the One who was created.
All creation was made in Him, through Him, and unto Him (v. 16). In Him and through Him refer to the past, and unto Him refers to His inheritance in the future. What then of the present? At the present time, all things cohere in Him. He is the Firstborn of all the creation, and all creation was made through Him in the past, exists in Him in the present, and is unto Him in the future. How big is creation? Millions of solar systems comprise one galaxy, billions of galaxies form the universe, and no one has found what is at the center of it all. All this was created through Christ, has its existence in Christ, and is unto Christ. All the scientists realize that there is an unknown power in the universe. This power is Christ Himself. Praise Him!
WHAT CHRIST IS IN REDEMPTION
Redemption is in Christ, and Christ accomplished redemption (v. 14). In this redemption He dealt with our sins and the world, He abolished the ordinances, and He dusted off the evil forces (2:14-15). The whole universe is full of “dirt.” When Christ put on the flesh, He took all this dirt upon Himself. Then He put this flesh with its dirt onto the cross, and by the death of the cross He dusted away, stripped off, all the dirt. In particular, He dusted away the principalities, powers, dominions, and evil powers in the air. His redemption includes all of this. Moreover, Christ accomplished redemption to reconcile, to bring back, not only us the believers but also all things in the heavens and on earth, all the things that were created through Him, subsist in Him, and are unto Him (1:20).
WHAT CHRIST IS IN THE NEW CREATION
In the new creation Christ is the Head of the Body, the church, and the Firstborn from the dead. Christ is the Firstborn in two ways: the Firstborn of the old creation and the Firstborn of the new creation (vv. 15, 18).
WHAT CHRIST IS AS THE BODY OF ALL SHADOWS
All positive things in the universe are shadows; they are not the reality. A man is not the real husband, and his son is not the real son. No matter what kind of light someone is under, if he does not have Christ, he is still in darkness because that light is not the real light, and the sunshine is not the real sunshine. Our clothing is not the real clothing. Regardless of how good our clothing is, if we do not have Christ, we are naked. Christ is also the real food and drink. The reality of all things is Christ (2:16-17).
We should not enjoy the shadows too much. All the shadows simply signify the reality. My photograph is only a shadow of me; it is not the real me. The real me is a living person. The food we eat every day is only a “photograph” of the real food. We should not be cheated and fooled by the photographs. They simply signify Christ as the real One. We do not care for eating, drinking, a feast, a new moon, or the Sabbath. If we do not have Christ, we do not have a “new moon,” a new start. Christ is our morning. Whenever we meet Christ, touch Christ, and experience Christ, we have the sense that we have a new start. Moreover, Christ is the real feast for joy. If we do not have Christ, we do not have the real joy. Christ is also the real Sabbath; without Him we have no rest.
We cannot exhaust how much Christ is. Christ is everything to God, to creation, in redemption, in the new creation, and to all physical, material things, which are nothing but a shadow of this Christ. How much Christ is to us! Colossians tells us that He is our life today and our hope for the future. I am afraid that we do not realize Christ to such an extent.
THE EXPERIENCE OF CHRIST
Colossians speaks not only about who Christ is but also about the experience of Christ. Verse 6 of chapter 2 says, “As therefore you have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him.” The following verse says that we have been rooted in Him. We are like little plants, and Christ is the soil, the earth. Moreover, we are now being built up in Him. Only Christ is so important to us. He is everything to us; He is our life and our hope, we have been rooted in Him, and now we are built up in Him. Therefore, we have to live by Him and walk in Him. We should not be beguiled, distracted, or sidetracked by anything. Philosophy, empty deceit, the elements of the world, and the worship of angels can beguile, distract, and sidetrack us. We must pay our full attention to this Christ. Moreover, we need to realize that this Christ is the very life-giving Spirit who indwells our spirit. If Christ were not the Spirit, He could not be life to us, and if He were not in our spirit, we could not experience Him, enjoy Him, and take Him as our life. Now day by day we have to live by Him and walk in Him.
We need to let the peace of Christ arbitrate in our hearts and the word of Christ dwell in us richly (3:15-16). The words that He speaks are spirit and are life (John 6:63).
What I have spoken here is just a sketch. Please read Colossians again and again, and pray about what you have heard and about what you understand. Christ is so much to us. Now we have to praise Him. We have received Him, so now we must walk in Him, having been rooted in Him and being built up in Him and with Him. He is our life for today and our hope for the future. Therefore, we must learn to preach Him, admonishing others not to be sidetracked from Him by other things. We also need to teach Him to others, to grow, and to help others to grow until we can present them to God full-grown in Christ.
When we have this kind of vision of Christ, we will declare that doctrines, teachings, gifts, miracles, and signs mean nothing. God is not for those things; all those things are for Christ. If there were a number of miracles among us today, however, we might all be distracted away from the indwelling Christ and the inner life; we might pay our full attention to the miracles. In the Gospel of John the Lord did many signs. The crowds were impressed, but the Lord gained very few of them. He would not entrust Himself to those who came to Him because of the miracles (2:23-25). The Lord is truly wise, and He knows that what we really need is the inner life. We need to know Christ.
In the book of Colossians there are no tongues, gifts, or miracles. Still, some people today pay attention to these things yet neglect the Christ revealed in this book. Let us come back to the Christ in Colossians, to know Christ in an inner way, in the way of life. To know Christ requires a vision, a revelation. Therefore, we have to pray. In these days let us pray that the Lord would open our eyes that we may see Christ who is the mystery of God, the center of God’s economy, and the portion of the saints given to us by God. Let us pray in this way that we may know Him as our life and experience Him in a full way. He is everything to us. This must not be a doctrine; it must be a real vision to us. We have to fight for this. That is why we need to know the book of Colossians.
(The Experience of Christ in Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)