Complete in Christ

Epaphras, a messenger of the church in Colosse (cf. Col. 4:12), came to Paul in Rome with good news and bad news about the church of Colosse. The good news was that the gospel had born fruit among the Colossians (cf. Col. 1:6), who were continuing in the faith in Christ and in love for their fellow Christians (cf. Col. 1:4). The bad news was the Colossians were being deceived by a new teaching that was contrary to the gospel. The new teaching claimed a profound knowledge apart from Christ (Col. 2:8), an emphasis on following prescribed human rituals (Col. 2:16), the worship of angels (Col. 2:18), and asceticism (Col. 2:18, 20-23). This new teaching invoked spiritual powers rather than calling on Christ in whom the fullness of God dwelt in bodily form (Col. 2:9). To deal with this false teaching, Paul wrote the letter to them. In Colossians 2:8-12, Paul gave four truths that adequately refute the heresy in Colosse (and all false religions).

Within Christ Is All Truth

Paul warned, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (Col. 2:8 cf. Col. 2:4). The word “cheat [spoil, KJV; takes you captive, NAS]” (from sulayogeo, συλαγωγέω) means to make a captive of; to carry off as booty or captive. According to Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, “the word meant to ‘kidnap,’ and here depicts carrying someone away from the truth into the slavery of error” (776), through human, worldly, and ungodly philosophy. Any system of religion not “according to Christ” is empty and damnable (cf. Rom. 10:1-3).

Within Christ Is All Deity

Paul affirmed, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9 cf. Col. 1:19). Finite human minds cannot fully comprehend how this is possible, but it is. We know that God exists and the Bible is His inspired word (cf. Rom. 1:20; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). If the Bible teaches there is one God (and it does, Deut. 6:4), and if the Father (1 Cor. 1:3), and the Son (Jn. 1:1-3, 14), and the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3-4) are each said to be God (and they are), yet each are distinct personalities (and each is, Mt. 3:16-17; Jn. 14:23; 15:23); then the Bible teaches that there are three distinct personalities in the one Godhead (Mt. 28:19; Jn. 14:16; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4-6; 1 Pet. 1:2). In Jesus’ fleshly body, while He walked among humanity, was the Godhead!

Within Christ Is All Authority

Paul acknowledged, “And you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:10).Since in Jesus’ body dwelt the “fullness of the Godhead,” there is absolutely no need to seek spiritual guidance anywhere else (cf. Rev. 1:8). In fact, not only is there no need, to do so would be to fall from grace by forsaking the only means of salvation (Gal. 5:1-7), and could be to “crucify again … the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame” (Heb. 6:6). The word translated “complete [made full, ASV; filled, ESV]” (from pleroo, πληρόω) means to fulfill; bring to completion; complete finish (Col. 1:9, 25; 2:10; 4:17; Phil. 2:2; 2 Thes. 1:11; 2 Tim. 1:4). Jesus as “head of all principality and power” means He has authority even over unseen, spiritual beings (cf. Col. 1:16; Rom. 8:30; Eph. 6:12), the very entities to which the heresy pointed! Only Jesus has “all authority” (Mt. 28:18), and only God’s written word, the Bible, is “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Any other source of authority in religion is damnable!

Within Christ Is Every Spiritual Blessing

Paul instructed, “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (Col. 2:11-12). As the context reveals, the “circumcision” to which Paul alluded was baptism into Christ (cf. Rom. 2:28-29; 1 Cor. 7:19; Gal. 5:6; Eph. 2:11-13). When people are Scripturally baptized into Christ, they are raised with Christ as “new creations” (2 Cor. 5:17), to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). This being “raised … from the dead” opens up all blessings of fellowship with God, which leaves out no spiritual blessing (cf. Eph. 1:3-14). Sin separates us from every one of God’s spiritual blessings (Isa. 59:1-2). If we abandon, or even dilute, Christ in favor of a false system, we forfeit all spiritual blessings!