Colossians 2:6-15 | Fullness in Christ
6Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, 7rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
- Paul continues that just as the Colossians received Christ as a result of his ministry (indirectly), they should continue to ‘walk’ in Christ.
- These are similar themes and instructions to what Paul expressed in Colossians 1:9-12. Paul is saying to walk in Christ as he has taught them, and what does this consist of:
- [having been] rooted and [being] built up in him – to grow in knowledge and understanding and to bear the fruit of Christlikeness (1:10)
- [being] strengthened in the faith – to be strengthened with power for endurance, patience and joy (1:11)
- abounding in thanksgiving – to give thanks for he has qualified us to share in his inheritance (1:12)
- This is a reminder and challenge for all believers, that we should walk well in Christ – to be growing in him, strengthened in him and abounding in thankfulness
8See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.
- We can easily become captive to the traditions of mankind and the basic principles of the world, such as:
- seeing mankind simply as part of the natural evolved world
- ‘do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt others’
- ‘doing good to others’ as the highest goal of humanity (it is a good thing but not the highest goal!)
- allowing our lives to be heavily influenced by money, convenience and entertainment – simply because they are the traditions of our society
- These things may boast in their philosophy and wisdom but they are full of empty deceit, lacking any spiritual value. They taint our gospel with a worldly veneer
- Instead of walking (living) by these things, we should live by Christ. We should exalt the gospel higher than any worldly wisdom we may encounter for it is true wisdom.
9For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, 10and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
- There is no need to pursue empty philosophies and human traditions in a search for fullness of life, for Christ is the very essence of fullness.
- Deity – theotés = God head (the essence of deity)
- Verse 9 then is quite an emphatic statement of the fullness of God in Christ. In him is the WHOLE FULLNESS of the GOD-HEAD (i.e. all of God)
- dwells bodily – The God-head has not temporarily placed its fullness in Christ, but ‘dwells’ there permanently. ‘Bodily’ is not a reference to Christ’s human body, but his heavenly one, i.e. the body of a person whom we can see and know.
- filled in him – as we enter into the body of Christ, we become filled with the fullness of God. There is nothing more left to fill, nothing more for the world to offer us.
- We are filled by becoming part of his body, who is the fullness of God, and both the head of us (his body) and of all rule and authority.
11In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
- In order for us to receive the fullness of God in Christ, we must first rid ourselves of our body of flesh. Paul uses two biblical pictures here of circumcision and baptism, the cutting away and burying of our sinful self.
- This is a spiritual action, for it is the ‘circumcision of Christ’ and ‘powerful working of God’, done by God, not us. However, that which is done spiritually, should be mirrored practically in our earthly lives and daily living, by continually putting off and burying our sinful selves. This is why we obey the sacrament of baptism, an earthly sign of a heavenly reality.
- So by faith in the work of God, we are assured of a new spiritual reality, that we have been raised with him. It is not just faith in God generally, but faith in his work, that he has accomplished all that is necessary for our salvation. Just as one puts faith/trust in the work of a tradesperson, so we trust that the work of our salvation is complete.
13And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
- The work of God raising us to life in him is two-fold: forgiving our trespasses and redeeming us from our sin. Out of the riches of his mercy, we have been forgiven of all our trespasses, in every way in which we have rejected and rebelled against God. But God has not left us in our sin, he has cancelled the debt that was against us through the atonement of Christ. The price was paid at Cavalry and the debt of our sin was nailed to the cross!
- 2 Cor 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” – on the cross Jesus’ body became sin for us, so that as he was nailed to the cross, so was our sin!
15He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him
- Christ has not just redeemed us from our sin but also claimed victory over evil (rulers and authorities). He has disarmed them, stripped them of their power and claim of us so that by faith we are free from their claim – truly nothing can separate us from the love of God!
- He has put them to open shame, making a public spectacle of them. The picture here is Christ leading a victorious procession with the bound captives of evil in his train.
- The intentions of the devil and his dominion were to rob God of his glory by ruining and enslaving humanity to himself. Truly, Christ has triumphed over them in the cross, for we are truly free and Christ is glorified forevermore!