Summary: The necessity of ongoing faith in Christ Jesus.
Imagine going into a BANK, innocently filling out a withdrawal slip, and within MINUTES being arrested by the police. When RON SCHATZ filled out a withdrawal slip in an American bank, he had no idea that HANDCUFFS would soon be place upon him. It took a while to straighten out the story. The teller had had pressed the silent ALARM button after turning the withdrawal slip over and seeing the words, ‘This is a hold up’.
As it turned out, some WISE GUY had written ‘this is a hold up’ on the back of EVERY withdrawal slip sitting on the counter. It’s was someone’s idea of a practical joke. A few words written on a piece of paper caused a terribly embarrassing CHAIN REACTION.
In his letter to the Colossian Church, the Apostle Paul points us to the most important CHAIN REACTION of all. It began with the Son in the image of the invisible God, the Son’s SACRIFICE on the cross and the possibility of RECONCILIATION with God. And the gospel bearing fruit throughout the world. A chain reaction which echoes through the CORRIDORS of eternity. This is the point Paul is making in chapter 1. In verses 15 to 19, in a rather compact hymn, the apostle unpacks the supremacy of Christ in creation and in the NEW CREATION which is the church. And this supreme Christ—the one BEFORE all things and the one who HOLDS all things together—he set off a chain of events which began with his INCARNATION and through his death ‘all things’ will eventually be reconciled to him.
Today we remind ourselves of SIMPLE gospel truths. Christ REIGNS supreme—he is sufficient for our salvation—we must CONTINUE to trust in him. Paul has already commended the Colossians for their simple but profound FAITH in Christ (Col 1:3–8), he has prayed for MORE of the same (Col 1:9–14), and he has EXPOUNDED the supremacy of Christ (Col 1:15–18). If we hold fast to these basic gospel truths, then FALSE TEACHING will find no footing in our lives, and soon the HOPE of heaven will be our eternal reality.
So let’s begin with verses 19 and 20, ‘For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross’.
Christ is SUFFICIENT for our salvation because God in all his FULLNESS has chosen to dwell in him. Since all the fullness of God DWELT in Jesus, God was able to RECONCILE himself with the world and the world to himself. On the cross, it was the Son ABSORBING the wrath of the Father. The Son being an ADEQUATE and a just sacrifice for the SINS of the world.
‘For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him’. An ACTION by a loving Father to redeem a fallen CREATION. Though the language of ‘fullness’ is NOT an Old Testament word laden with theological overtones. It’s more LIKELY the language of the false teachers. These SCOUNDRELS were inviting Christians to experience true ‘fullness’ by following their philosophy and rules. And PAUL responds: ‘the “fullness” that you are SEEKING is found in Christ. He is SUFFICIENT to meet your needs because he is God in the FLESH whose death presents you ‘holy in God’s sight’.
For Paul there was NOTHING in the Godhead that was not in Christ. The FULL complement of divine attributes are FOUND in him. But for the new teachers, union with Christ DIDN’T bring anyone into the fullness of divine life. They were saying that God still had MORE of himself to give and so it was a matter of reaching BEYOND Christ to find spiritual fullness.
‘The Mind, Body, Spirit’ Festival was on at DARLING HARBOUR in May, 2009. In the Psychic Reading Room, you could ‘See what life has in store for you. Gain insight into your love life, career, finances and life in general. Come along and have a reading from Australia’s best Psychics, handpicked for their skill, integrity and honesty. Each day is booked out, so arrive early and book your reading as soon as you enter the Festival’.
Christians KNOW what life is about. Everything we need for GODLINESS has been revealed to us and is AVAILABLE in Christ. So don’t even contemplate SUPPLEMENTING your Christian life with tarot cards, palmistry, clairvoyance, mediumship, angel readings, astrology, numerology, past lives and psychometry. DON’T fill yourself with knowledge from UNSEEN powers, for Christ created them and he rules over them.
The message of Colossians is that EVERYTHING we need for salvation is found in Christ. While VERSE 19 tells us that all of God’s fullness is found in Christ, VERSE 20 asserts that God’s reconciling work in Christ embraces the whole universe. Notice the SIGNIFICANCE of the little word ‘all’ in both these verses. All God’s fullness is in Christ, all things will be reconciled to God through Christ. ‘All things’ includes ‘things in earth and things in heaven’—that’s everything—‘all things’ in the created universe will be reconciled to Christ.