“Giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who 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” (Colossian 1:12-16).
Those who have redemption in the Son are enabled by the Spirit to appreciate something of the greatness of His rights. The Father has set us free from the authority of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of THE SON OF HIS LOVE (see N.Trans. and Scofield’s marg.), having made us meet to partake of the portion of the saints in light. Both redemption and the forgiveness of sins are ours in the Son of the Father’s love, and it is our joy and privilege to behold the glory and the rights of Him in whom we are so richly blessed.
It should be noted carefully that the right reading in verse 14 very arrestingly omits His atoning work. It fixes our gladdened gaze upon the Son Himself alone. So it reads, “IN WHOM we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (N.Tr.). “through His blood” is not there; as it is in Ephesians 1, thus here the personal glory of THE SON shines resplendent, lighting up this whole passage. From eternity to eternity it is THE SON who fills the vision. He is seen to be the Creator, therefore the rights of pre-eminence in creation are His; and He will take them as Man according to divine counsels. They are His, however, because He, the Son, is the Creator. Meanwhile He is the Revealer as well as the Redeemer; He is the risen Head also of the assembly and the Reconciler; but it is the Son Himself who thus embraces all. “He is before all”; and all is gloriously filled by Him; and all is brought to subsist together by Him. How immense it all is! How great and glorious is the Son of the Father’s love!
The comments of J. N. Darby in The Synopsis have helped much, and we give them here for the help of others. This truth had so impressed the writer, that it will be observed he leaves his usual way of writing, and expresses his own deep appreciation of this “admirable truth.”
He writes, “Thus the Creator, when He takes a place in creation, is necessarily its Head. He has not yet made good His rights, because in grace He would accomplish redemption. We are speaking of His rights—rights which faith recognizes.
“He is then the image of the invisible God and, when He takes His place in it, the Firstborn of all creation. The reason of this is worthy of our attention—simple, yet marvellous: He created it. It was in the Person of the Son that God acted, when by His power He created all things, whether in heaven or in earth, visible and invisible. All that is great and exalted is but the work of His hand; all has been created by Him (the Son) and for Him. Thus when He takes possession of it, He takes it as His inheritance by right. Wonderful truth, that He who has redeemed us, who made Himself man, one of us as to nature, in order to do so, is the Creator. But such is the truth.
“In connection with this admirable truth, it was a part of God’s counsels that man should have dominion over all the works of His hands. Thus Christ, as Man, has it by right, and will take possession of it in fact. This part of the truth of which we are speaking is treated in Hebrews 2 . . . I introduce it here merely that we may understand the circumstances under which the Son takes possession. The Spirit speaks of the One who is Man, but the One who is at the same time Creator of all things, the Son of God. They were created by Him, they were necessarily then created for Him.
“The Son is here presented to us as Creator, not to the exclusion of the Father’s power, nor of the operation of the Spirit. They are one, but it is the Son who is here set before us. In John 1 it is under the name of Son, that He, who is also the Word, is revealed to us . . . He is also the Son of God; and, in particular, the Son of the Father . . . Inasmuch as born in this world by the operation of God through the Holy Ghost, He is the Son of God. But this is in time, when creation is already the scene of the manifestation of the ways and counsels of God. But the Son is also the name of the proper relationship of His glorious Person to the Father before the world was (italics ours). It is in this character that He created all things. The Son is to be glorified even as the Father.
“In the Epistle to the Colossians that which is set before us is the proper glory of His Person as Son before the world was. HE IS THE CREATOR AS SON (caps ours). It is important to observe this” (p. 15).
The rights of “Firstborn of all creation,” of pre-eminence in all things, cannot therefore be questioned as belonging to Him. Both rightly and eternally those rights belong to the Son.
He took part however in time’s history; and was “seen and heard.” Our present lessons are to be learned here. “Hear Him,” said God the Father. “Learn of Me” He Himself said. Psalm 2 speaks of Him “begotten” in time in Israel; also as “THE SON” to Gentiles. This is the one mention of that Name—“the Son”—in the Old Testament. It reads, “And now, O Kings, be wiser be admonished, ye judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling. KISS THE SON, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, though His anger burn but a little. Blessed are all who have put their trust in Him” (N.Tr.). Mark, this is said to Gentiles, where the riches of the mystery have been shown (Col. 1:27). Coming in time—to Israel—we read in verse 7, “Jehovah has said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee.” Acts 13, Hebrews 1 and 5:5 show that salvation, kingship and priesthood were in view specially.
Now we are told. “He that believes on THE SON has life eternal, and he that is not subject to THE SON shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36, N.Tr.). True are the words, “Blessed are all who have put their trust in Him.”
We do well to rejoice in Him who “created all” and is “before all”; and to learn of Him who came here in lowly grace; to rejoice in Him who is now the exalted Head of the body, the assembly; knowing that the “first place”—“the pre-eminence”—“in all things” is His; while we reverently recognize His glorious rights in creation.