God’s Word for You
Colossians 2:9 all the fullness of the Deity
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, January 1, 2019
CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF GOD’S WORD FOR YOU
On Reformation Day, October 31, 1999, just two months after I was ordained, I was guest preaching at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Des Moines, Washington. When I sat down after my sermon, which urged the congregation to reach out with the gospel by whatever means they could, I realized that I might be in a position to use the relatively new technology of e-mail to provide a devotion that could be easily and instantly forwarded to hundreds or even thousands of people, and these “God’s Word for You” devotions were born. That November I began a series of short daily devotions on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. Twenty years later, the Lord has enabled me to complete devotions on fifty books of the Bible, with four books currently still in progress (Psalms, Proverbs, Luke, and Colossians). Twelve books remain (Numbers, Deuteronomy, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Malachi, Mark, Acts, 2 Timothy and 1 Peter), and there are quite a few I will enjoy revisiting as long as our heavenly Father gives me strength and time. More than fifty thousand times each year, a God’s Word for You devotion is opened and read, free of charge. God is good.
9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,
This is the most important passage in Colossians. It is one of the key proof texts that shows that the New Testament Church, from the very beginning, understood the doctrine of the Person of Jesus Christ, who is both God and man. It is commonly and wrongly said that the doctrine of Christ evolved or was transformed slowly over the centuries as the church councils met and created its ecclesiastical boundaries (termini). However, the Christian Church has always been a literate church, with the Word of God read in public worship from the very beginning. Even for those who do not read and write personally, large portions of the Scriptures are familiar and even memorized because they are read, studied, preached on, and meditated on week after week in worship.
Here in this verse, the Holy Spirit tells us that in the man Jesus, everything that is God lives in a body.
Paul uses the word pleroma (πλήρωμα) “fullness,” which was being misused and misapplied by the Colossian heretics. Their concept of “fullness” was the totality of the divine powers and emanations (things that come out of God and are portions of him). Paul shows that God is not divided at all. All his pleroma, his fullness, is present in one individual: Christ.
The Christian understands the doctrine of Christ apart from all councils of the church, decrees from the Popes, or the musings of radicals. From time to time the church has written down creeds and confessions of faith to oppose incorrect claims, but these are based on Scripture and not on human philosophy or human traditions.
Christ has two natures. He is both God and man. We know this because the eternal Son of God became man by being conceived in and born of the Virgin Mary (Galatians 4:4-5; John 1:1-2, 1:14). Jesus Christ is fully God and he is also fully human, for he has all the attributes or characteristics of God and all the attributes of a man.
The Lord Jesus is also a unified, whole individual, undivided. He calls himself God and the Son of God (Matthew 16:13-17), and the whole fullness of the Deity lives in him in his body (Colossians 2:9). In his People’s Bible commentary, Pastor Kuschel offers the miraculous illustration: We see God in Christ as if a man were to hold all the world’s oceans in a single pitcher of water. We believe it to be so because the Bible says it is so.
We believe that the Lord God, Jesus Christ, was crucified (1 Corinthians 2:8). The humanity of Jesus Christ made this possible, and the Deity of Christ is what gives his suffering and death its infinite value (Romans 5:10). “The blood of Jesus, his [God’s] Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
The One who suffered is the One who made. The One who died is the One who brings to life. The One who was buried is the One who conquered death. The One who rose is the One who invites and welcomes all who believe in him.
He was condemned in our place, and he is the one who says: “I will no longer frown on you, for I am merciful, declares the LORD. I will not be angry forever” (Jeremiah 3:12 EHV). Through Jesus, fully and completely God and man, we have been rescued from our sins and brought back into the family of God. Praise him with your life, and live a life of thanks to God throughout the year.
We will return to Colossians during Holy Week, and remain in Colossians on Saturdays from then until we complete the book.
Pastor Timothy Smith
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