Colossians 1:16(3)


Sermon preached on March 23, 2014 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at http://www.cantonnewlife.org/.

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

Our daughter Patricia got married in Toronto in 2012. On the day before the wedding, Marg's brother Alan very kindly let Patricia and her bridesmaids stay at his condo. They moved out and let Patricia and her bridesmaids move in. The condo building also had some guest rooms and Alan had arranged for Marg and I to stay in one of them. Alan's condo was on the 16
th floor, or something like that, and the guest room was on the second floor. On the morning of the wedding, we got a phone call from Patricia asking us if we had any extra towels. I told her we did and offered to bring them right up. So I gathered the towels up and took the elevator up to the condo. When I knocked on the door Patricia answered and I asked her how she was doing. She immediately started to cry. Apparently her wedding morning was not going as she had hoped. She told me that her bridesmaids had used all the towels getting their showers and there were none left for her. She also mentioned something about her having to go out to get her own coffee. There may have been one or two other complaints that I've forgotten about.

Now in order to protect the guilty I'm not going to mention who her bridesmaids were. But Patricia was disappointed in them at that point on her wedding day. I didn't think her complaints were that serious and I wondered why she was crying. But upon reflection I think Patricia did have a point. Bridesmaids are supposed to help be a help to the bride, especially on the day of the wedding. They are supposed to relieve her of as many chores as they can. They're supposed to make things perfect for her. They're not supposed to make things more difficult for her. I think for those few minutes Patricia's bridesmaids let her down. For a little while they forgot what the purpose of being a bridesmaid was.

What's our purpose in being here on earth? What is the purpose to which everything else is subservient? What's the purpose which all human beings should never forget?

The truth of our text is that we are here for Jesus Christ, for His glory. Our text tells us that

you, and everything else that has been created, is for Jesus Christ, for His glory.

You were made by Jesus Christ and you were made 'for Him'. You were made for Him. This is our whole reason for being here. You were made for Him. Do you take that seriously?

This morning we're going to consider what 'for Him' means. Everything was made, 'for Him'. This tells us that everything was made for His benefit. Creation is for His glory. Jesus is to be glorified by creation. It was made for Him.
Herman Bavinck sees this referring to his Headship and mastery over all creation. (Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 2, p. 423) He is the heir of all things, so that they are, (Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics , Vol. 2, p. 425)

"Summed up in the Son, gathered under him as head…"



But even more than that, the Greek preposition here (eis), (Bratcher and Nida, UBS Translator's Handbooks;)

"indicates purpose or goal."



Herman Ridderbos writes of Christ, (Paul, An Outline of His Theology, p. 561)

"in him all things have their purpose…"



Robert Bratcher says,

"the purpose of everything is to honor Christ.""creation finds its purpose, its goal, its finality in Christ."



This means that all things have their fulfillment in Him. There are many aspects to this but this morning I want to draw your attention to three that are mostly in the future. We are going to look at three ways in which all of creation is for Christ how it's goal is in him.

First, with regards to his people and their salvation Jesus is the head of the church and

He is going to be glorified in the redemption of His people.

The original creation was for Christ. This was especially true of man. The crown of God's creation in six days—man was created in God's image to reflect God's glory to the creation and to rule creation for God's glory. But Adam was tempted to sin and he fell into sin.

Satan's goal was to spoil God's creation and have all human beings cast into hell. I'm sure that immediately after Adam sinned it seemed that Satan had won, that mankind was doomed, that God's purpose in creating man was thwarted. God's magnificent plan was ruined, or so it seemed.

But wonder of wonder—God gave a promise to mankind. A Redeemer was promised. A Redeemer was provided—Jesus, the Son of God came to die in the place of sinners and to undergo the curse of sin and satisfy the wrath of God.

When the prophets first started predicting the sufferings of Christ, the angels longed to look into these things. (1 Peter 1:12) They learning things about God's love. It was no wonder that when Jesus was born and the angels appeared to the shepherds—that the angels were filled with praise to God. When Jesus was baptized, the Father's voice from heaven declared that He was well pleased with Him. His work was incredible. He saved us by dying on the cross and being raised from the dead. This salvation is a free gift that is received by faith.

Consider how Jesus is going to be glorified in the salvation of His people. There is be nothing like it. We are going to be made like Him. You were made for His glory and even though you sinned, He is going to make you glorious and use you forever for His glory. As we read in Ephesians 2:6–7,

"And God raised us up with Christ
and seated us with him
in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,
in order that in the coming ages
he might show the incomparable riches
of his grace, expressed
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus."

Jesus will stand with us and say, (Hebrews 2:13)

"Here am I, and the children
God has given me."

What children we will be. Philippians 3:21 tells us that He,

"will transform our lowly bodies
so that they will be
like his glorious body."

We will be like Him. 1 John 3:2 says,

"we know that when he appears,
we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is."

We will be sinless. God's glory will be restored in us. How glorious it will be. How glorious we will be. Without sin. Like Christ. We will see His face. We will reign with Him. We will share in His glory. And it's all because of Christ. We will be to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:12) Human beings are going to reign with Jesus. We are going to bring Him the glory that He deserves. He saved us. We are 'for Him'.

All creation is going to praise Him because of His love and mercy to us. Such love is magnificent, totally unheard of before this, remarkable, glorious.

Secondly, the salvation of God's people will include the renewal and restoration of things of creation that were affected by the fall.

Creation is going to be restored in Christ.

God is going to bring all things together in Christ—He is going to sum up everything in Christ. We also read about it in Colossians 1:20 where it says of God the Father's work in Christ,

"and through him to reconcile
to himself all things, whether things
on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through his blood,
shed on the cross."

Jesus will be glorified in the restoral of all things.

We know that the fall into sin caused great damage and corruption to the creation. This has many facets to it. It brought misery and death to mankind. The earth was cursed because of Adam's sin. God told that to Adam, (Genesis 3:17-19)

"Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat of it
all the days of your life.
It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are and to dust
you will return."

The fall into sin also enabled Satan to claim authority over parts of creation. He had no right to do that but he did it anyway. Luke 4:5–7 shows us how he thinks he has a right to it. During his temptation of Jesus,

"The devil led him up to a high place
and showed him in an instant
all the kingdoms of the world.
And he said to him,
'I will give you all their authority and
splendor, for it has been given to me,
and I can give it to anyone I want to.
So if you worship me,
it will all be yours.'"

Because of sin part of creation has been subjected to bondage. Romans 8:19–23 says,

"The creation waits in eager expectation
for the sons of God to be revealed.
For the creation was
subjected to frustration,
not by its own choice,
but by the will of the one
who subjected it,
in hope that the creation itself will be
liberated from its bondage to decay
and brought into the glorious freedom
of the children of God.
We know that the whole creation
has been groaning as in the pains of
childbirth right up to the present time.
Not only so, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly as we wait eagerly
for our adoption as sons,
the redemption of our bodies."

Herman Bavinck says of Christ, (Reformed Dogmatics, vol. 4, p. 685)

"Because creation is his work, it cannot and may not remain the booty of Satan. The Son is the head, Lord, and heir of all things."

All things were made for Christ. John Calvin writes,

"The meaning appears to me to be, that out of Christ all things were disordered, and that through him they have been restored to order. And truly, out of Christ, what can we perceive in the world but mere ruins? We are alienated from God by sin, and how can we but present a broken and shattered aspect? The proper condition of creatures is to keep close to God. Such a gathering together… as might bring us back to regular order, the apostle tells us, has been made in Christ. Formed into one body, we are united to God, and closely connected with each other. Without Christ, on the other hand, the whole world is a shapeless chaos and frightful confusion. We are brought into actual unity by Christ alone."



Jesus is going to set everything right. He has started to do this already and He is going to finish it at the end of time. We also see this in Ephesians 1:9–10. Paul said of God the Father,

"And he made known to us
the mystery of his will
according to his good pleasure,
which he purposed in Christ,
to be put into effect when the times
will have reached their fulfillment—
to bring all things
in heaven and on earth
together under one head, even Christ."

2 Peter 3:13 tells us that there is going to be,

"a new heaven and a new earth,
the home of righteousness."

How wonderful it will be.

Thirdly, and very mysteriously,

Christ is also going to be glorified even in subduing his enemies and their everlasting destruction.

This is a great mystery. Hell is so horrible that it is an affront to us. John Frame writes, (Systematic Theology, p. 1081)

"If I were free to invent my own religion, I can assure you that eternal punishment would not be part of it. "



I believe all of us would echo that sentiment. But he goes on to say that he is not free to invent his own religion and that we must go by what the Bible teaches.

Everything is going to be brought together under Christ. Colossians 1:20 says that all things are going to be reconciled to God through Christ.

But this doesn't mean that every human being is going to be saved.

The verse itself may seem to suggest that, but such a notion is at odds with the Bible's teaching that there is a heaven and a hell and that many will ultimately perish. John R. W. Stott writes, (Ephesians, The Bible Speaks Today, p. 42)

"A number of theologians both ancient and modern have seized on the expression 'all things' as a basis on which to build universalistic dreams. That is, they speculate that everybody is going to be saved in the end, that those who die impenitent will one day be brought to penitence, and that even demons will finally be redeemed, since literally 'all things, things in heaven and things on earth' are going to be gathered together into one under Christ's saving rule."



But it cannot mean that. In fact, other places in Scripture describe the end in much different terms. In 1 Corinthians 15:23–25 the end of history is described this way,

"But each in his own turn:
Christ, the firstfruits;
then, when he comes,
those who belong to him.
Then the end will come,
when he hands over the kingdom
to God the Father
after he has destroyed all dominion,
authority and power.
For he must reign until he has put
all his enemies under his feet."

By putting all His enemies under His feet does not mean that He saves them all. In John 5:28–29 Jesus said that there will be a general resurrection on the Day that He comes and that,

"and those who have done evil
will rise to be condemned."

They are not going to be saved at the final judgment, but they are going to be condemned. In 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10 the apostle Paul wrote,

"God is just: He will pay back trouble
to those who trouble you and
give relief to you who are troubled,
and to us as well.
This will happen when the Lord Jesus
is revealed from heaven in blazing fire
with his powerful angels.
He will punish those who do not
know God and do not obey
the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
They will be punished with
everlasting destruction and shut out
from the presence of the Lord
and from the majesty of his power
on the day he comes to be glorified
in his holy people and to be marveled at
among all those who have believed."

God's enemies are going to be, in a very real sense, summed up in Christ and will bring glory to Him. Herman Bavinck writes, (RD, Vol. 4, p. 691)

"The final judgment will be a global and public vindication of the gospel and Christ's rule."



Every part of creation is going to be summed up in Christ, and will be for His glory. We are told in Philippians 2:9–11 that on the last day, everyone, even those who have opposed Him, will bow before Him and exalt Him. We read,

"Therefore God exalted him
to the highest place and gave him
the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth
and under the earth,
and every tongue confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."

As paradoxical as it may seem, Christ's enemies are going to give Him glory on the last day.

Then they are going to be cast away from God. Their continued existence is going to be for Jesus Christ—for His glory. Bavinck speaks about the eternal punishment of the wicked in hell and says of God, (RD, vol. 4, p. 714)

"The pain he inflicts is not an object of pleasure, either for him or for the blessed in heaven, but a means of glorifying his virtues…"



God's justice, His holiness, His righteousness and other attributes—will be glorified by their punishment. Even the ungodly, in their punishment, will be 'for Christ' in the sense that they will be for His glory. This is difficult to wrap our minds around—but it cannot be otherwise. In Romans 11:33-36 the apostle Paul burst out in a great doxology that includes, in part, Israel's hardening and unbelief. It encompasses all of Romans chapter 9 to 11—the rejection of Esau, the hardening of Pharaoh—as it is described in Romans 9:22–23,

"What if God, choosing to show his wrath
and make his power known,
bore with great patience
the objects of his wrath—
prepared for destruction?
What if he did this to make
the riches of his glory known
to the objects of his mercy,
whom he prepared in advance for glory."

At the end of his discussion Paul wrote,

"Oh, the depth of the riches of
the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
'Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?'
'Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay him?'
For from him and through him
and to him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen."

Now what does all this mean in practical terms? You were created for Jesus, for His glory, what does this mean for you? But how do you live for Jesus?

First,

the principle of your life should be the glory of Jesus.

You are here for Jesus and your life should be dedicated to Him.

This past week I heard that an old Newfoundland joke was recently voted the funniest joke in the world. The joke is about two Newfoundlanders who are out moose hunting. Their names are George and Cecil. As they are walking together through the woods, suddenly George grabs his chest, falls over and lays motionless on the ground. Cecil doesn't know what to do but he has a cell phone so he calls 911. He tells the operator that he believes that George has had a heart attack and that he thinks he's dead. In a panic he asks,

"What should I do?"



The operator tries to calm him down and says,

"Just take it easy and follow my instructions. First, are you sure he's dead."



There is a silence...... and then a gun shot is heard. Cecil comes back on the line and says:

"Okay, I'm sure he's dead. What should I do now?"



He missed the whole point. One of the first rules of first aid is to do no harm. The person in that joke was really stupid.

None of us likes to think of ourselves as stupid. But
to the extent that we live for other things and not God—to that extent we are stupid. In his book, City of God, Augustine wrote, (Book 6 Preface)

"Stupidity glories in never yielding to the force of truth; that is how it effects the ruin of anyone who is under the dominion of this monstrous moral fault."



Those of you who are not Christians—don't be stupid. Repent of your sins, turn to Jesus and start serving Him. Christians, Jesus has saved you. Be devoted to Him 100%. It is said of Enoch, the seventh from Adam that he walked with God. You are to be like him and walk with Jesus. Be thankful for the free gift of salvation that He has given you—and bring glory to Him in everything you do. Love others, put yourself last, be kind, be forgiving, tell the truth, be righteous.

The first question of the Shorter Catechism tells us that man's chief end is to glorify God. That should be your principle of life. Everything you do should be with a view to His glory. In Colossians 3:17 the apostle Paul wrote,

"And whatever you do,
whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name
of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks
to God the Father through him."

If so that Christ, His glory, His will is everything for you. Boast in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:31)

Whatever your situation, whether good or bad, you should be focused on His glory. Jesus is Lord and master of creation. Jesus has created us for His glory and He has placed us exactly where He wants us and given us exactly what we need to bring Him honor and praise and glory. (Acts 17:26, 2 Peter 1:3) At one time in his life it was Job's job to suffer for God. It was the same for all the apostles. Wherever you are, what ever you do, (1 Corinthians 10:31)

"do it all for the glory of God.

Lastly, if you're not a Christian this means that

you're missing out of the whole glorious purpose for which you were created.

You were created for the glory of Jesus Christ. You are here to serve God and show people what God is like. If you haven't gone to Christ you can't do that. Not only are you missing out on the glorious purpose for which you were created, you must realize that if you don't repent and go to Jesus, if you will glorify Him by your everlasting destruction. You must not do that. Go to Him. Find life in Him.