NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passage: Colossians 1:15 – 2:3
— How should knowing Christ created and sustains the world impact how we live?
— In what ways have you wrestled with enjoying God’s good gifts in fallen creation?
— Why do you think it matters that Christ will reconcile all things?
Food for Thought:
Read Colossians 1:15-20. Paul was concerned about Colossae’s imported heresy. We don’t know exactly what kind of heresy the Colossian church had imported, but it consisted of at least three threads woven together: Greek philosophy (Colossians 2:8), pagan practices (2:23 and 3:5), and the roots of Gnosticism (2:9), a heresy that would seduce the church in subsequent centuries and pull at the very fabric of the Christian faith.
To correct the Colossians’ misunderstanding of Christ, Paul used what many believe was an early church hymn that expressed Christ’s supremacy as Creator. The Son of God was not created; He is the agent of creation itself, having existed “before all things” (v. 17). “Everything was created by Him,” “through Him,” and “for Him” (v. 16). Moreover, “by Him all things hold together” (v. 17). Christ did not create everything and walk away leaving creation to fend for itself. He continues to be actively involved in His creation. The Son of God is Creator and Sustainer of all.
Why did Paul begin his assault on the heresy plaguing the Colossian church here with the beginning of all beginnings, and the affirmation that Christ is Creator of everything? Because at the core of Gnosticism was a sharp distinction between what is physical and spiritual. The Gnostics believed only the spiritual was good; everything physical — all of creation — was evil. This is why they denied that Jesus was human. He merely appeared to be so.
Remembering that Christ created everything and sustains everything, that He continues to care for His creation even after the fall, informs your understanding of who He is and how you are to live as part of creation. Christ is preeminent over creation, and every single atom of creation exists for His glory. Christ is concerned with the world around us. So should we be.
Because Christ is preeminent over all He created, He is also preeminent in the Father’s mission of reconciling creation back to Himself. All things were created by Christ. All things matter to Christ. And all things will be reconciled to God through Christ.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/gospelproject .