“Fullness.” It apparently was one of the catchwords of the false teaching that was creeping into the Colossian church. And basically, Paul threw it back in these teachers’ faces by saying, “You have know idea what true ‘fullness’ is all about.”
Paul told the Colossians, “You are made perfect in Christ. The thing that I strive for in my ministry is that you may reach that maturity and fullness in him. I want you to have the full riches of complete understanding and assurance (ESV) concerning the mystery of God. All the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge, however, are not found in these false teachers and their ideas of ‘fullness.’ Rather, they are found completely in Christ. So don’t let people deceive you by their fine-sounding arguments.” (1:28-2:4)
He then told them, “Since it is in Christ that you can find these treasures of wisdom and knowledge, root and build yourself up in him. Remember how you were saved? It was by putting your faith in Christ and coming into relationship with him. So as you continue to live each day, don’t get away from that. Keep walking each day trusting in him and with thankfulness and joy for all he’s done for you.” (2:6-7)
He then warned the Colossians, “Don’t let yourself get sucked into any philosophy that would pull you away from Christ. Such philosophies are empty and are based on mere human tradition and the basic principles of this world.” (2:8)
Other translations translate “basic principles” as “elemental spirits” (ESV) which seems to point to Satanic forces as the source of this teaching.
But Paul makes clear to the Colossians two things. He says, “Do you want to know the fullness of God in your life? Well, all the fullness of God is found in Christ. All that God is, is found in Christ. And now you too find your fullness in Christ. You can’t find it anywhere else.” (2:9-10)
Why is that? Because it is only in Christ that our sinful nature can be dealt with. Christ himself circumcises or cuts off that sinful nature from us in a way that no person can through their own human effort. Through Christ, we die to our old self, and he raises us as a new person in him, living not by our own power, but through the power of God. (11-12）
We were dead. There was nothing we could do to save ourselves. But God himself made us alive, forgiving our sins. He ripped up our certificate of debt that we owed him because of our sins, and nailed it to the cross. And by dying on the cross and then rising from the dead, he totally humiliated all the Satanic powers that crucified him and tried to destroy us. (13-15)
So Paul says, stop trying to add to the work that Christ is done. You already have your fullness in him. Don’t go back to the old religious practices the Jews followed. They were mere shadows of the true reality that is found in Christ. All the sacrifices and religious celebrations pointed to Christ. Since Christ has come, look to him, not the shadows. (16-17)
And don’t get caught up in false religious experiences either, whether it’s worshiping angels or any other creature. When you do that, you separate yourself from Christ. Christ is the one that causes you to mature and grow into completeness. (18-19)
In Christ, you died to these things. How can you now go back to them? And why go back to religious rules that look good, but can’t solve the real problem of your sinful nature? (20-22)
In short, Christ is all. And as I said yesterday, if we want true “fullness” in this life, Christ is the one we are to go to.
The question is, are you? What is your life rooted in? Is it rooted in Christ? Or is it rooted in something else? Who or what is at the center of your life?