What Does “Through Him and For Him” Mean?
A few Sundays ago, I preached a sermon from Colossians 1:15-20. This passage is one of the great mountain peaks of Christology (that’s a big, fancy, but cool! word for theology about Jesus Christ). Here’s the passage:
15 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. 17 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.
At one point in verse 17, Paul says, “whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.” A close friend approached me after the sermon and asked my to clarify what I explained about verse 17.
I said, “Good and evil–all these things were created through Christ and for Christ.”
I elaborated that statement with the following logic:
- Everything was created good by Christ, including angels and humans.
- Angels and humans rebelled against God (Jude 1:6).
- God knew this would happen.
- God is glorified even through angels and humans playing an evil role through Christ’s justice.
Clarification #1: God Did Not Create Evil
Here’s the clarification: for certain, God did not create evil.
The apostle James makes this crystal clear when he says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:13-14) There is no evil in God; therefore, God cannot create evil.
Similarly, the apostle John says, “”God is light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
Clarification #2: God Did Create the Potential for Evil
But God certainly created the potential for evil because he created angels and humans with free will.
Therefore, I should rephrase “Good and evil–all these things were created through Christ and for Christ” to “Good and the potential for evil–all these things were created through Christ and for Christ.”
The Unchanging Bottom Line: God is Sovereign and Uses Evil to Bring Glory to Christ
Beyond the clarifications, what still stands is that God is sovereign. This is the big point. God is so powerful and in control that he has, does, and will use evil to bring glory to Christ. Christ will stand as the final Judge and bring justice to all those who chose to play an evil role in history.
Let God’s good sovereignty comfort you. Let’s continue to grow together in this great truth.
Grace and peace,