9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
(Colossians 2:9-10 NIV)
Today’s text builds on yesterday’s study, particularly verse 8.
Let’s step back a moment and look at the larger picture of Paul’s message to the Colossian church. Paul did not condemn them for idol worship or chasing after other interests other than Christ. In fact, Paul did quite the opposite. He praised the Colossian church for staying with the Gospel of Christ from the first time they heard it until the present day. Paul’s letter was an awareness of and warning about the pagan oriental mysticism that some heretics were teaching throughout the region. Paul did not want to see anyone led astray by these false teachers or their beliefs.
As a reminder, what was Paul’s warning?
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. (v. 8)
What principle can we draw from Paul’s specific warning to the Colossian church? How does this relate to us?
Here is the Scriptural principle that I believe we can draw from Paul’s warning to the Colossian church. This truth is universal, and transcends time, culture, and circumstance:
Anything or anyone who does not point us toward Christ ultimately leads us away from Him.
So how do we put this principle to use in our daily lives? How do we apply this? This is where we lean on the Lord’s discernment and wisdom to help us see past the outside “what” to the inside “why” of a person or idea or thought.
One simple way to apply this principle is to see if the person or thought allows Christ to stand alone. If the thought expressed is “Christ and…” or “instead of Christ…”, or “along with Christ…”, then this does not promote Christ as Savior and Lord, and allow Him to stand on His own.
This was Paul’s point in verse 9. Let’s dive in:
- “For” – Paul begins his rebuttal to the heretics’ teachings he warned against in verse 8
- “in Christ” – notice Paul’s focal point – Christ alone
- “all the fulness” – nothing lacking, no one or nothing else needed
- “of the Deity” – of God Himself – no other sub-spiritual beings like angels or demons matter
- “lives” – has permanent residence; dwells (compared with a temporary shelter like a tent)
- “in bodily form” – in flesh and blood, not just in spiritual unseen form
Paul tells us that God, through Christ, is truly the self-existent One. God does not need propping up, nor is He dependent on anyone or anything to survive. And no one can hitchhike uninvited with God by simply mentioning His name. He stands alone.
In verse 10, Paul says that we are invited into the fullness of Christ. He (Christ) is the head over all other powers and authorities – all other philosophies, ideas, and people serve the One and Living God, through Christ. And that includes all the heretics and their teachings called out in verse 8.
Paul tells us that Christ is our all in all, that God is not holding out on us. We don’t have to look inside ourselves for life’s answers (i.e., existentialism – “within my own existence”), nor do we need to look outside of Christ (i.e., pluralism – “more than one ultimate reality”). Christ is our everything.
May we be like Peter and say, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)