Thus far, we have seen that the church in Colosse was a relatively young little church situated in a culture with diverse populace and influences. An associate of Paul's named Epaphras had founded the church by the pure preaching of the person and gospel of Jesus Christ. The church had gotten a good start, and was showing genuine life and vitality, as the gospel bore fruit in their lives.
Paul responded by affirming Epaphras and his message, as we saw last time.
More potently, Paul responded by preaching Christ in all His fullness. How do we see that, specifically, in Colossians? A study I did found that, out of the 95 verses in Colossians, Christ is mentioned in 53 of those verses. In fact, some verses mention Him two and three times.
To break it down a bit, this means that some 56% of the verses mention Christ at least once.
Or, put another way, every other thing Paul says is something about Jesus.
Why? I hope to open this up more fully as we proceed, but very briefly:
First, in Christ God has come and solved our most fundamental problem (1:19-22)
...because in Him the Father was pleased for all the Fullness to dwell permanently, and through Him to reconcile all things back unto Himself, by making peace through the blood shed on His cross, through Him — whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens. And you, though being formerly abidingly alienated, and enemies in mental disposition, as shown by your wicked works, yet now He reconciled you back in the body of His flesh through His death, to present you holy and unblemished and inculpable in His very presence,…As has been often and well-said, we did not primarily need a teacher nor a philosopher; we had had both in Moses and Solomon, and they served to show the distance between us and God's holiness and wisdom. We did not primarily need an example. We had such a pattern in the Law, and it damned us, as does the "example" of Christ if we attempt to earn salvation by emulation.
Nor did we need a Salvation-cosigner, merely achieving salvation, making salvation available, as if one were to lay down a goblet brimming with the elixir of life in a morgue, bidding "whosoever will" to come and drink, then standing back to watch.
No, we needed a Savior, one who came into the world not merely to teach, nor merely to guide, nor merely to offer salvation; but one who came into the world to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).
We needed God Himself to deal once and for all with our sin-issue, root and branches. So He did in Christ (Romans 8:3). All the fullness of Deity dwelt bodily in Christ.
- It was that body that made possible the shedding of His blood, without which there could be no atonement nor forgiveness (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22).
- It was that Deity that imparted infinite value to the shed blood (Acts 20:28).
Second, in Christ we are filled full (2:9-10)
...because in Him is permanently dwelling all the fullness of Deity bodily, and you stand filled full in Him, who is the Head over all rule and authority
This last point is worth further unpacking. I plan to take a half-step back next time, and revisit this fullness which all Christians know in Christ.