Saturday, September 3, 2011

His Fullness and Ours

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Colossians 2:9-10)

There are two mysteries Paul is speaking of here and the second is dependent upon the first: In Jesus the Messiah all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in bodily form. And in Him, Jesus, we have ourselves been made full. Paul’s concern is that we be not robbed — plundered! — of these twin truths. For it is in these, not in Jewish ethnos and ritual or pagan mysticism, that we discover all fullness. And it is “fullness” (Greek, pleroma) that the false teachers were offering, through ascetic practices and the worship of angels, but were not able to deliver.

All the fullness of God dwells in bodily form. This goes back to Colossians 1:19, where Paul identifies it as a matter of God’s sovereign pleasure that all the divine fullness should dwell in Jesus. Now he tweaks that to emphasize that this fullness dwells bodily, in human form. John says the same thing, though in a different way: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1, 14). The nature of this fullness is such that Jesus declared, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father … Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me” (John 14:9, 11).

Everything God is can be found in Jesus. Indeed, everything God is, Jesus is. All the fullness of humanity and all the fullness of divinity are in Him. He is not half and half, half human and half divine; He is fully both, fully human and fully divine. He is not the demigod the false teachers might have supposed Him to be; He is the God-man!

Jesus is filled with all the fullness of God, and those who belong to Jesus are filled with Him. Earlier, Paul revealed the mystery, “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:29). Jesus is in the Father, and we are in Jesus, and being in Jesus, we are “complete.” The Greek word (pleroo, from which comes pleroma) means to be full or fulfilled and is set in the perfect tense and the passive voice. The perfect tense refers to something that has done; the passive voice means that it has been done to or for us, not something we have done to or for ourselves. So, in Jesus we have been made full, with the result that we are now — already! — full and complete in Him.

What the false teachers offered, through the tradition of men and the elemental spirits, but could not deliver, has been done for us in Jesus the Messiah. And now Paul adds a stinger: This same Jesus is the head over all principality and power. This goes back to Colossians 1:16, where Paul teaches that Jesus is the creator of all things “visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers.” All of them, including whatever angels and spirits there may be, have been created through Him and for Him. He is Lord over them all, and He is in us and we are in Him.

The Focus of Our Faith
The Focus of Our Faith
Paul’s Letters to the Jesus Believers at Colosse
Bite-Size Studies Through Colossians
by Jeff Doles

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