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saying, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” So here are the “rulers and authorities” that he referred to in Colossians 1:16. They are evil. Jesus died to disarm them. They turn up again in Ephesians 6:12: “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities.” They are, Paul says, “the cosmic powers over this present darkness . . . the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” They are evil supernatural powers that aim to deceive and destroy the human race. According to Colossians 2:15, they have been decisively defeated at the cross where Jesus disarmed them and made his believing people completely secure. But they still do much harm in the world because not everyone believes, and even believers can be hurt by them, but not destroyed. For example, Jesus said to the church in Smyrna, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). The devil can imprison and kill God’s loved ones. But he cannot destroy them. That is the kind of power the rulers and authorities have.

FOR THE GLORY OF JESUS CHRIST So where do these evil supernatural powers come from and why do they exist? Colossians 1:16 gives a decisive part of the answer. Not the whole answer, but the part we need to know. They come from Christ. “By him [by Christ, the Son of God!] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. . . .” That’s where they came from. They were created by Christ. And why do they exist? Verse 16b: “All things were created through him and for him.” They exist for Christ. They exist to make his glories known—to display his infinite beauty and immeasurable worth.

Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ (Redesign)  
Spectacular Sins: And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ (Redesign)  

Laying out what the Bible says about God’s sovereignty over the spectacular sins and terrible tragedies of human history, John Piper encoura...