What is the Gospel? What is the truth? It is this; Jesus Christ is the only way to be forgiven, reconciled to the Father, and given a share in His inheritance. We can’t be redeemed by good works, positive thoughts, or happy words. Jesus is the only way to redemption. Who is Jesus? People want to know why they should believe the Gospel when there are so many philosophies they could follow, beliefs which tell them they are good, they are one with the universe, or free to do whatever they choose in this life. Believer we can tell them about Jesus. We tell them by the lives we lead, the changes Jesus makes in us, and by knowing Him well enough to tell people who He is. Verses 15-16 describe Him this way,
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”
He is the image of the invisible God. That means He is God manifested or revealed so that we can see Him and know Him. What does it mean that He is the first born of all creation? Does it mean He was created first by God? No. He is God. Rather, the firstborn of all creation means He is the prototype, the template by which everything was created. We endeavor to become like Him, and as the Spirit perfects us, He makes us to the image of Christ. We become like Christ so that He is revealed to others so that they can know Him too. Everything in the heavens, on earth, including angels, spirits, lands, and governments were created by Jesus. He is not lower than God. He is not a creation of God. He is God and was with Him when all things were created and in fact all things were created through Him and by Him. John 1:1-3 puts it this way.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.”
Colossians 1 Verses 17-20 read,
“And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.”
It is through Jesus, for Jesus and by Jesus that everything spiritual and physical exists. So He is before all things. He is the highest authority. And while that is true of all creation it is especially true of the church, His body, who reveal Him to the world. It is because He died for our sins, and raised from death to life that we, when we accept the gift of His propitiation for our sins are raised to new and eternal life in Him. Because of that, we are reconciled, that is reunited and united with God. Jesus was and is fully God, even when He became a man, the completeness and perfection of God was in Him. When Jesus makes peace between the Father and us, His Spirit dwells in us and transforms us to His perfection.
How awesome is it that we can be at peace with God? We can speak to Him, fellowship with Him, and commune with Him. And not just occasionally at appointed times, but always and continually because He is with us always and continually. That is because of the blood He shed. The horrible death He died to pay for our sins makes it possible. Verses 21-22 read,
“And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,”
Once we were estranged from God, separated from Him by our sin. We had naturally antagonistic, selfish minds which led us to sin to get what we wanted. But because the Father loves us so much, because Jesus died and rose again, and because The Spirit indwells us we are no longer sinful children of wrath but now at peace with God we are considered righteous. None of our sins are held against us and we have a new mind, the mind of Christ. We want to please God. We no longer seek to please ourselves. As we are transformed and we mature, there is no more animosity between God’s will and our own.
But the Gospel doesn’t gel with the worldly beliefs, the spiritualisms, mysticisms, universalisms, and many other isms the world prefers. Her truth and his truth, my truth and your truth do not exist, they are lies. There is one truth, one Gospel. There are not many paths to enlightenment. There are many paths to delusion. There is no other way to the Father except Christ Jesus. He is God. He is the Son of God, the Image of God, the Word of God. Anything else is a lie. Paul encourages the believer to stay steadfast in that knowledge. Verse 23 reads,
“if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”
We don’t have to doubt the simple truth. We don’t have to complicate it. We don’t have to shift from philosophy to philosophy. Jesus is the way, and the truth and the life. There is no other way to the Father except Him. (John 14:6). Suffering and trials may shake us. We may want to find an easier way, a way that makes it okay to be selfish, a way that blames others. But The Way gives suffering a purpose as we are matured and conformed to Christ. The Way makes us blameless in Christ when we take responsibility and repent from sin. The Way may not always be easy but we are never alone as we walk it and it leads to the awesome and beautiful promise of our inheritance in Christ. Verses 24-29 read,
“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, 26 the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. 27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.28 Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.”
Our Christian walk is not alone. Not only do we have God with us. We have our brothers and sisters. Our walk affects theirs, and theirs ours. And our walk affects those watching from the outside too as we reveal Christ to them. The mystery they don’t understand is made known in our lives, how we walk, and how we handle life. We mature. We change. We grow. We live publicly for Christ together with the Brethren and in doing so we proclaim the Gospel to everyone.