8 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. 9 For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10 and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.
For some weeks now we have considered the significance of this passage from Colossians for our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We have discovered that the Christian faith proclaims not the virtue of faith in general but the virtue of faith in a specific person, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. Not only this, we have also found that it is not sufficient to profess faith in someone with the simple name “Jesus”; the Jesus whom we trust must be the Jesus revealed in the Word of God – for false Christs and false prophets have abounded and have sought to mislead the people of God with cleverly devised tales. Because Jesus is God Himself clothed in human flesh it is imperative that we listen as He speaks – for He speaks to us the very words of God and, therefore, His words have authority unlike the words of the Beatles, Hank Williams Jr., or Rush Limbaugh.
Today Paul declares to us that in Christ we are complete. What does Paul mean and what implication does his statement have for us? The word complete means to be filled to the full, saturated, needful of nothing else. When Paul was in physical want and the Philippians sent money to relieve his need, he wrote back to them saying that their gift had caused him to be filled to the full – needing nothing more than the gift that they themselves had provided. And now Paul uses this same word to describe us as the people of God – we are complete, filled up in Christ. We need nothing more.
What implications does this have for us? Note first of all that Paul is not urging his audience to be filled up in Christ. He is describing what they are in Christ not what they should be. The is an indicative not an imperative; a statement of fact not a command. You are complete in Christ. You are filled to overflowing. And so, Paul calls upon the Colossians in the next chapter, act out what you in fact are. You are complete in Christ – demonstrate it in your life.
If this is the case, if we really are complete in Christ, then why is it we so often seek out other activities or people to “make us complete.” Pop psychology, possessions, drugs, alcohol, sex, physical fitness, work. We wander around seeking someone or something else to fill us up. Why?
Might I suggest that one of the reasons we fail to appreciate our completeness in Christ is because we are so busy seeking what we do not have that we do not meditate sufficiently on what we do have. How often do we read the Word of God and ponder, “What wondrous things God has done for us! He has created us with life and breath. He has redeemed us from our sin and rebellion. He has granted us fellowship with Him by His Spirit.” Have we stopped to consider that “we are complete in Christ”? I fear not.
And so this morning as we enter into the presence of our Creator let us kneel together and confess that we have failed to perceive all that He has done for us in Christ.