Grace Family Bible Church

The Image of God

By: Scott Morton


Colossians 1:15-18

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: [16] 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: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.


As the Apostle Paul continues this epistle to the assembly in Colossae, he starts to write about some things related to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is bringing up to them information which they should have already understood about Him. These are things which many people do struggle with, as they cannot identify who God is.


Paul talks about how the Lord Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God. He is the physical appearance of part of the Godhead here on the earth and they were to have known this. It was something which has been written elsewhere in the Bible:


Hebrews 1:3

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;


The author of the book of Hebrews also brings up this fact. He is writing to Israel, who had rejected the Messiah when He was here. They did not understand He was God and rejected every part of the presentation of this fact. Their rejection of Him was what eventually led to the crucifixion, as they wanted no part of the offer of the kingdom which was being made.


In the gospel accounts, it is identified that nobody had seen God:


John 1:18

No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.


John 12:44-45

Jesus cried and said, He that believeth on me, believeth not on me, but on him that sent me. [45] And he that seeth me seeth him that sent me.


John 14:8-11

Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. [9] Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? [10] Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. [11] Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.


These three passages from the gospel of John show the issues which Israel had. Even though they had a close relationship with God, they had never seen Him in a physical manner. Even when Moses had asked about being able to do so, he was informed that he would not survive if this was done. The only way anybody was able to see God in a physical sense was to see the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the image of God.


The idea of seeing God carries over to us in this dispensation as well. We have not seen God in a physical sense. The only individual in this dispensation who saw the Lord Jesus Christ was the Apostle Paul, who saw Him in heaven's glory. We are not going to see Him in any manner until the Day of Christ, when we are called to heaven.


As Paul continues to describe the Lord Jesus Christ to us, he then identifies Him as the firstborn of every creature. Being the firstborn has to do with the promises which have been made and issues of inheritance. We see the Apostle Paul identify some of these things throughout his epistles:


1 Corinthians 15:20-23

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [21] For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.


This passage is dealing with the positional truth of who we are. As members of the Body of Christ, we have been identified as being in Christ. This happens the moment we put our trust in the gospel message for today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). While the Lord Jesus Christ is the first one to have partaken in this, every member of the Body of Christ is going to have this resurrection and the new body which comes along with it.


One of the things about this passage is individuals will use this to prove everyone is going to be saved. The coming here is the Day of Christ and is not referencing the return to the earth for Israel's program. If everyone was saved, then everyone on the earth would be part of the Day of Christ and there would be nobody who would be entering into the Day of the Lord. This is why He is being referred to as the Head of the church in this passage as well.


We see this is a conclusion the Apostle Paul understood throughout his ministry:


Acts 26:19-23

Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: [20] But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. [21] For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. [22] Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: [23] That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.


The Apostle Paul understood what the resurrection accomplished. While there were others who actually had been brought back to life prior to the Lord Jesus Christ, the reality was they still died. The rising from the dead of the Lord Jesus Christ is a complete victory over the issues of the law, sin, and death. This is seen in Paul's first epistle to the assembly in Corinth (1 Corinthians 15:51-57) and brought up to them again in his second epistle:


2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


This is the exchange which happened. The Lord Jesus Christ took the issue of sin upon Himself. This was done in order to give us the opportunity to be able to receive His righteousness. We receive this at our salvation, when we become identified with what He accomplished on the cross (Romans 6:3-6). This is why it was identified as we are the next step in the process. We will see the reality of who we are when He comes back for us at the Day of Christ.


As the Apostle Paul continues to speak of the Lord Jesus Christ, he starts to speak about him as being the Creator. This is not something which is normally spoken of by those who rightly divide. Because the Apostle Paul does not bring this topic up very often in his epistles, it tends to be ignored and focus placed on other doctrine which he speaks about more frequently. While this should not be the primary focus of our study or ministry, it is something which we should acknowledge and have an understanding of in order to be able to teach it and answer questions some may have.


It is clear from what the Bible says that there was a creation and the Godhead was involved in the process. There are several passages which show this:


John 1:1-3

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.


Ephesians 3:9

And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:


Hebrews 1:8-10

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. [9] Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. [10] And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:


Psalm 33:6-9

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. [7] He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses. [8] Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. [9] For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.


These passages are just a sample of what the Bible says about the creation. It is through the Lord Jesus Christ that everything in the universe was created. This includes all things on the earth and all things in the heavenly places. There is nothing which is outside of what God created.


Many individuals will try to twist the things of the creation around, stating things happened by chance. If God created everything, which the Bible says He did, it was all done for a designed purpose. There is no random chance or things just happening to fall into place.


Paul then starts to speak about some very specific things which are part of this creation. He mentions the positions in the heavenly places which are currently occupied by the angelic realm. This is not the only passage in which he mentions these positions:


Ephesians 1:20-23

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, [21] Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: [22] And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, [23] Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.


Ephesians 6:12

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


These governmental positions are things which we also see in the earth. We know the things which are laid out on the earth are a pattern of the things which are in the heavenly places (Hebrews 8:5). The positions are laid out so there is a level of authority and responsibility in both programs.


It is important for the members of the Body of Christ to have an understanding of these, as these are the positions which we are going to fill. At the Day of Christ, we are caught up into the heavenly places. We will then stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) and will have everything which we have done on this earth after our salvation judged (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). Based on what we have done, we have built wood, hay, and stubble (things against the Word of God) or gold, silver, and precious stones (things done according to the Word of God given to us today). The Lord Jesus Christ is going to judge what we have done with fire and the only things which will remain will be the gold, silver, and precious stones. Based on whatever is left there, we will receive a reward, which is one of the positions which are listed here.


It is important to note that not everyone is going to have something there. These people will not lose their salvation. We know this because all members of the Body of Christ have the guarantee of our salvation, as we have been sealed with the holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14). The individuals who have everything burned away are going to lose the potential reward they would have had. This is why there is an importance for us to be doing the things which have been laid out for us in the doctrine, attempting to function as the Word tells us to.


The Apostle Paul does not let us guess as to what these positions are. He gives us information in his epistles in order to understand what these positions are. The following chart gives us the information we see:



Title of the Position


Passages where located


Highest position or rank

Ephesians 1:21, Colossians 1:16


Ruling authority given a delegated position

Ephesians 1:21, Colossians 1:16


Right to exercise authority

Ephesians 1:21


Seat of authority over a local geographic area

Colossians 1:16


Lordship over one area

Ephesians 1:21, Colossians 1:16

Spiritual darkness/light

Emissary, ambassador

Ephesians 5:14, 6:12

Spiritual wickedness

One who causes a deception

Ephesians 6:12

Every name that is named

Worker who toils

Ephesians 1:21


The position of every name that is named is where everyone starts once they have put their trust in the gospel. It is the other positions which are attained as the individual builds the gold, silver, and precious stones. The issue of the loss of these positions is spoken of here:


2 Timothy 2:11-13

It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: [12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: [13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.


This once again states the believer cannot lose their salvation, as the Lord Jesus Christ is not going to deny Himself. He will deny the believer the ability to reign with Him, which is where the positions which are listed above are actually making a reference to. This is where we get the idea of having to perform good works, as we have previously spoken of in this chapter. The works which we do after our salvation are related to us being able to receive the positions which are laid out and what God wants us to achieve.


The Apostle Paul also speaks about how the Lord Jesus Christ is above all things. This is a position which He has and has been laid out in the Bible:


Hebrews 1:1-3

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, [2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; [3] Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;


The author of the book of Hebrews speaks of the position which is given to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is stated to be the heir of all things and is sitting at the right hand of God the Father. This authority is the rulership position over the entire creation. We see a statement of how this is going to be related to the earth in the millennial kingdom:


Psalm 2:1-12

Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? [2] The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, [3] Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. [4] He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. [5] Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. [6] Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. [7] I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. [8] Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. [9] Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. [10] Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. [11] Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. [12] Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.


Here we see the rule is going to be very strict. A rod of iron shows there is going to be correction which will be needed. Because not everyone is truly part of the kingdom, Jesus is going to have to correct the behaviors which are contrary to the law. This is going to show the authority He has and will be demonstrating to individuals what is the correct way they are supposed to behave.


As the members of the Body of Christ, this is not the case for us. He is identified as the Head of the Body. We do not have to worry about there being corrective methods to get us to be in the right standing. There are several passages which identify the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head:


Ephesians 1:22

And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,


Ephesians 4:14-15

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; [15] But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:


Ephesians 5:23

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.


This sample of passages from Ephesians shows this is the position of the Lord Jesus Christ related to the Body of Christ. He is the Head, which is a position of authority related to who we are. This is something the Bible makes clear and we should understand as we study the Bible.


He is also identified as the firstborn, which ties in with the resurrection:


1 Corinthians 15:20-23

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [21] For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. [23] But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.


The resurrection is an important part of who we are. This shows the victory over sin and death for us. We know this is going to be a reality for us as well. The unfortunate thing is many individuals deny this reality. It is our responsibility to share this message as the ministers of reconciliation.