“For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:9-10).
“In Adam all die” (1 Cor. 15:22); that’s bad news for lost sinners. “Complete in Christ” is good news for saved sinners (Col. 2:9-10)! Jesus Christ is all we need! Here are two observations about this truth: (1) This blessedness of completeness belongs only to those who are in Christ (1 Cor. 15:22; 2 Cor. 5:17; Phil. 3:3-9); (2) This blessedness of completeness belongs to all believers, both carnal and spiritual (I Cor. 5:5; 2 Tim. 2:13).
Paul’s Answer to the Gnostic Heresy
This inspired letter of Paul to the Colossians is an answer and a warning to the whole Christian world both then and now, for these errors are very much alive and well today. The Gnostics of the ancient world boasted of a “super” knowledge of spiritual things. This teaching was based on Grecian thought, Jewish legalism, asceticism, and the mystery religions. Only those initiated into these mysteries or the “enlightened” could know the secrets to life, prosperity, success and the “hereafter.” They thought of themselves as being superior to those who did not have such knowledge. These folks believed that “Christ was all right” – though only a mortal being who, on behalf of the principle of love, died on the cross. They did not acknowledge Christ’s divinity and the cross had no saving value in their theology; therefore, belief in Christ was not enough. They said, “You need more. You need the super knowledge that comes through initiation into the mystery religion for enlightenment.”
Paul says, “Beware!” (Col. 2:4, 8, 16-23)
The Gnostic’s “mystery” heresies were an offense to the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ and the real (EPI=full-GNOSIS=knowledge) knowledge and the real (MUSTERION) mystery. The Gnostics, at best, knew only the “shadow,” while Paul’s revelation of the Mystery was the reality / “the Body of Christ.” Paul emphasized a wisdom and (EPIGNOSIS) knowledge that comes from God and does not concern itself with idle speculations, and fables (Col. 2:8-23; 1 Tim. 1:4; 2 Tim. 2:16-19; Titus 1:10-16).
So why does Paul warn?
Because Christ is the “complete,” “perfect,” “all” and the “full” expression of deity. Words like all, complete, perfect, and full are words which express maximums—maximums beyond which no word can go. In every case they refer to Christ and the believer’s relationship with Him! You can’t improve on perfection!
Take note of Christ’s perfections!
Creator of all things (1:16)
Head of angels (2:10)
Risen, and enthroned (3:1)
Image of the invisible God (1:15)
Sustainer of all things (1:17)
The firstborn of all creation – the Unique One (1:15)
Is God (1:19; 2:9)
Saviour (1:14; 2:13)
Our Head (1:18; 2:19)
Universally Supreme One (1:18)
Revelation of mystical union – Christ and Church (1:24-27)
God’s perfect sacrifice (1:20)
Only peace maker (1:20-21)
Depository of all wisdom and knowledge (2:3)
Bless God! Christ is “all and in all!” Give Him praise & glory!
God has joined us to Christ!
We are complete in Him! God has so joined us to Christ and we share His perfections and blessings (1:22, 28; 4:12). He is the Head and we are the Body. The Body is nourished by the Head (2:19); therefore, believers don’t need ceremonies, rituals, worship of angels, allegiance to other authorities, monastasticism, asceticism, the so-called “full gospel,” “Second Blessing,” visions, tongues, baptism, Book of Mormon, channelers, mediums, denominational membership, to join a convent, confess to a priest, pray to Mary, have a Ph.D Degree, dress in black, or be celibate in order to have “all spiritual blessings!” This is why Paul, the Apostle, was so interested in emphasizing the “real” Mystery of Christ and the believers unprophecied relationship to Him (see 1:23-29).
The Mystery is the “eternal purpose which God the Father purposed in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 3:11) – meaning, that God planned in eternity past to take Hell-deserving sinners, who were at war with Him and with each other (Jews and Gentiles), and through the blood of Christ remove the mutual hatred. He planned to make peace by joining the warring parties to Christ and each other, on the basis of grace through faith alone (Eph. 2:8-9), and the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12-13; Eph. 4:5), thus creating “one new man” (neither Jew or Gentile), “in one body” – a “joint-body” (SUSSOMOS – Gk.), whereby giving them a new identity, (“The Christ” – Christ the Head and the believers His Body – I Cor. 13: 12-13), and a new position (Eph. 2:6)!
This Mystery was revealed only to the Apostle Paul. Even the angels knew nothing about it (Eph. 3:10). It remained hidden until revealed to Paul by Christ Himself (See Paul’s emphatic statement: “given me to you-ward.” – Eph. 3:2). Paul considered this revelation a “precious deposit” (2 Tim. 1:12-14; 2:2 – See Vines) entrusted to his stewardship (OIKONOMIA Gk. Eph. 3:7-9; 1 Cor. 4:1-4; 1 Tim. 1:11-12; 6:20).
The Mystery is “now made manifest” by preaching (Eph. 6:19-20; Acts 15:35-36; Titus 1:3) and by the “prophetic writings,” meaning the letters of Paul, wherein, he “wrote afore in few words” – Eph. 3:3).
Paul’s encouragement and instruction to the Colossian believers is this divine, Heaven-sent Mystery; and Paul’s opposition to the Gnostic heresies is expressed in his defense of the deity of Christ, His efficacious work on the Cross and the content of the revelation of the Mystery given to him and “preached to every creature which is under Heaven” (Col. 1:23). Paul, in effect, is saying to the Gnostics, “You want mystery? You want full knowledge? I’ll show you the real Mystery revealed to me by God Himself. This is real knowledge, and not some pseudo knowledge obtained through your ‘philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ’ (Col. 2:8). You have ‘intruded into those things which you have not seen, vainly puffed up by your fleshly mind’ (Col. 2:18). Your commandments to ‘touch not, taste not’ and your show ‘of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body’ will all perish with the using.”
Believers are positionally perfect “in Christ”
In Christ, the believer enjoys some of the following perfection and blessings because we have been joined to Christ by the Holy Spirit’s baptism (1 Cor. 12:12-13) and made “heirs and joint heirs” with Him (Rom. 8:17):
Circumcised from the body of sins (2:11)
Hid with Him (3:3)
Raised with Him (2:12)
Inherit “with the saints in light” (1:12)
Saved from sin, forgiven and redeemed (1:14)
Translated into the Kingdom of His Son (1:13)
Made positionally holy and blameless (1:22)
You… “Christ in you, the hope of glory”
Seated with Him (3:1)
Appear with Him in glory (3:4)
Victoriously “quickened with Him”- now! (2:13)
Increased and nourished by the Head (2:19)
Our peace and reconciliation (1:20-21)
United in death, resurrection, seated with Him (2:12, 20; 3:1)
Rooted, built-up and established in love (2:7)
Praise God! Christ is our all and in all (1:19; 3:11)! Dear believing friend, let us praise God for His wonderful grace. He has given us, to enjoy, the peace, perfection and position that is found in Christ. Christ in us, the hope of glory. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”