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Complete In Jesus - Page 2

For in him [Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily (Col. 2:9).

Again, Paul is not making an ontological statement about the “nature” of Christ. Rather, he is emphasizing to the Colossians that all God has for humanity is manifested in, and accessed through, this one: Jesus Christ.  And note the present tense.  It is not just that the fullness "dwelled" but rather that it "dwells" in Christ.  It is upon those words that Paul then declares:

And you are complete [made full] in him [Christ] (Col. 2:10, AV). 

There is a remarkable parallel in Paul's thought in verse 9 when compared with that in verse 10.  God has placed his "fullness" in the person of Jesus so that through him his people may then also be "filled." The New Revised Standard Version captures the sense of this quite well: "For in him, the whole fullness of God dwells bodily" and "you have come to fullness in him." 3

This then unfolds Paul's theme: his whole heart as an apostle is that the Colossians be made "perfect," "complete," "full" (Col. 1:28-29; 2:3, 6, 10; 3:3; 4:12).  And, the Christian's fullness is accomplished only through relationship with Christ who himself has unparalleled, unique "fullness" from God (Col. 1:19; 2:8-10).  And, we must ask, why has God placed all “fullness” in Christ, if Christ is not going to be actively working on behalf of the people?4  

The Active Head of the Church

We read in the gospels about the love and care Jesus Christ had for his disciples while he was with them in the flesh. That care included personal instruction, correction, consolation and intercession with God on their behalf. It has been thought by some, however, that after being resurrected and taken into heaven that he is no longer able to interact with his people. Being at a distance, he patiently waits for the day in which he and they will be reunited. In this view, Jesus is sometimes referred to as "the absent Christ."5, 6

The concept of an absent Christ, however, misinterprets the role that Almighty God has determined that Jesus is to have relative to his church.  Paul, is not presenting to the Colossians an "absent Christ," but rather a very "active Christ" ---- a Christ who by the design of God is at work for the sake of his people.

Notice again that Paul sees the fullness of God "dwelling" - "living" in Christ now (Col. 1:19; 2:9). What is the point of Paul's consolation to the Colossians that "the fullness of God dwells in him" if there is no direct relationship between them and the one in whom God's fullness dwells?       


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3The Greek word for "fullness" (Col. 1:19 and 2:9) is "pleroma" which is used also in Ephesians 3:19: "that ye [Christians] might be filled (pleroo) with all the fullness (pleroma) of God." Note also the same word in Eph. 4:13 "the fullness of Christ." All of this corresponds to Col. 2:10 where the word "complete," in the AV (or "you have come to "fullness," NRSV) is a form of "pleroo" (Perf. Pass. Ptc. Nom. Pl. Masc.).

4 Paul relates these same thoughts to the saints at Ephesus in his letter to them (Ephesians 3:17-21).

5The term “absent Christ” is not found in the Bible itself. The Scriptures bring to us a view of this matter that is entirely to the contrary. Likewise, our use of the phrase “earthly ministry of Christ” may at times misdirect our understanding of these matters. Christ presently has a ministry and it very much involves this earth.

6The concept of an "absent" Christ is found among two camps: (1.) Those who see the holy spirit as being a separate person from God and therefore having (deserving?) "his" own time and unique role with the church. (2.) Those who recognize that Jesus Christ is truly God's human son but think that he is limited by that humanity while in heaven.





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