This is a continuing post looking at Christ in the book of Colossians. We’ve carefully considered chapter 1, verses 15-20 and now we’ll look at some verses in chapter 2.
Many commentators consider these two verses to be the key or summarizing verses for the book of Colossians. Verse 9 states “For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” This issue was already introduced in 1:19 and is now stated in a clearer manner. This is the most concise statement in the Bible on the “hypostatic union” – the theological term for Jesus being both fully God and fully man. The word bodily emphasizes Christ’s humanity. However, Christ was not just a godlike man. The word used for Godhead or Deity is theoteto, a strong word used only here in the New Testament and it is a clear assertion of Christ’s deity. Each word in verse 9 also adds force to the assertion that Christ is God. It doesn’t simply state that in Christ dwells the Godhead bodily, but it is the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and furthermore it is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Verse 10 continues by stating that we as believers are “complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power.” Christ is not only the fullness of the Godhead but the fullness of the Christian. The believer has in Christ all that is needed for life and godliness. The verse ends by emphasizing that Christ is head over all powers and authority, just as he is head over the church (1:18).
A brief inclusion of 2:6 for Christology is important because of the phrase “Christ Jesus the Lord.” This phrase is not used in any other Pauline writing. In it we can see all aspects of Christ. He was “the Christ” which is a title indicating he is the promised Messiah. Jesus was his name, reminding us of his humanity. And “the Lord” points to his sovereignty over all things. McDonald summaries in regards to this phrase that: “In this acknowledgment is the sum of Christian faith and in this affirmation the substance of Christian doctrine.”
If you’ve never read Colossians before, I hope this will encourage you to do so. In reference to 1:15-20, but really summarizing Colossians, House states:
Christ’s supremacy is seen at every turn…To any Christian, in Colosse then or elsewhere today, who may have been or is confused about Christ’s role in the world, these six verses testify to Christ’s absolute authority…
But so what? Theology should always be practical, and influence how we live our lives. You may have noticed that 2:6, in full, states: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him” – Are you walking in Christ? The apostle Paul has a similar format in many of his letters. He begins focused on doctrine, and then moves into the practical – how Christians should live their lives.
We need to be grounded in what we believe, yet too often I think Christians want to bypass the effort involved in that, and skip to action. Yet actions not grounded in truth may be faulty or lack spiritual power. (But, yes, the opposite problem exists too – we can become so focused on knowledge and theology, that we forget its ultimate purpose of life transformation.)
Spend some time contemplating Christ in Colossians – all that He is and all that He has done for us. A focus on Christ should bring many things in your life into proper perspective and focus. Is Christ preeminent in your life? Where have you pushed Him into second place?