Complete in him

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

Since the earliest days of Christianity there have been those who sought to add elements to the gospel message which were not originally a part of it. Jewish Christians sought ways to include the requirements of the Mosaic Law – specifically circumcision (Acts 15:1; Galatians 1:7). Others proposed various elements of pagan religion and philosophy (Colossians 2:8, 18-23).

Since the close of the New Testament there have been claims of new revelations (e.g., the Quran and the Book of Mormon) whether written or oral. More recently there have also been many who would delete significant parts of the gospel, like the necessity of baptism, the reality of hell, or even whether specific faith in Jesus Christ and the God of the Bible are essential to salvation. Many today would argue that heaven will be populated with adherents from all religions, not just those who confess Jesus as Christ. Several years ago one “Christian leader” was asked, “Will members of other religions (non-Christian) go to heaven?” His answer was a simple, “Of course.”

During the middle of the first century, the church in Colossae was troubled by philosophers and deceivers (Colossians 1:8) who sought to add angel worship (Colossians 2:18) and rules of asceticism to the requirements of the gospel (Colossians 2:20-23). Paul’s answer to them was succinct and clear: “You are complete in [Christ].”

Jesus Christ is God revealed in human flesh (John 1:1-3; Hebrews 2:14-18; 1 John 4:2-3). All of the fullness of divinity is in him (Colossians 1:15; 2:9) – that is to say that Jesus is and was completely God, even while living in human flesh. He lacks no power, knowledge, or other attribute of the Creator.

Further, since Christians are in Christ (Galatians 3:27; John 15:1-8), they partake from all of those divine attributes so that they are complete. That is to say that they receive every blessing, every source of help, every comfort, and every promise that is available from God. These are received by virtue of their being in Christ. Nothing else is required. Once faith, repentance, and baptism have been accomplished, forgiveness of sins is granted and fellowship with God and Christ is attained.

Note also that it is not only true that all we need is provided in Christ, but it is also true that we need all of those things that are so provided. We cannot dispense with any of Jesus’ offered blessings. Some refuse to repent saying that they have done no wrongs therefore they do not need forgiveness of sin (but see Romans 3:23 and 1 John 1:8-10). Others say “Jesus yes, the church no.” But Jesus died for the church and saved it (Ephesians 5:25-27). The church is the body of which he is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23). How can one have fellowship with the head but not the body of which it is an integral part?

If we are complete in Christ, it follows necessarily that we are incomplete apart from him. Every spiritual blessing is given to us through him (Ephesians 1:3). Through knowledge of him we receive “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). Without Jesus we can have none of those things.

Jesus is completely and perfectly God, and through him we can become completely reconciled to God. We do not need other prophets or saviors. We do not need to do anything other than those things commanded in the New Testament. He is all we need. But we desperately need him. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Conversely he could also have said, “I can do nothing pertaining to salvation without him.” He is the head of all principalities and power (Colossians 2:10).

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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