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« Themes of Colossians – Chapter Two – Part Three | Main | Themes of Colossians Chapter One – Part Two »

Themes of Colossians Chapter Two – Part Two

9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Dwelleth: Inhabit, live in, reside. [-eth: continues to dwell, not temporary or finite] Divine powers and influences are said to dwell in one’s soul, i.e., to pervade, prompt, govern it. To dwell implies having the authority to decide how to manage, administrate and furnish the dwelling place.

The relationship between the Father and the Son, or between the flesh and the Spirit, is indivisible in its essence. God does not simply use Jesus as an ancillary or auxiliary device to orchestrate the redemption of mankind. To show this, Jesus uses this same word “dwelleth” in John 14:8-11. “Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then , Shew us the Father? 10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”

This relationship is not limited to agreement, contract or acting in unison. It was the evidence of the claim of Christ to be the Father himself. John 10:38; Revelation 21:6-7.

Fulness: Greek= Pleroma. Contents, what fills something up, completeness, total quantity. The pleroma was a description of God’s completeness and meant that he was totally without lacking or wanting of any divine attribute. This is very significant in the understanding of Jesus Christ. Jesus left the pleroma in order to accomplish salvation for us. Philippians 2:5-8 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus did not cease being God but he laid aside the pleroma so that he might enter into the world of man.

Imagine a father playing basketball with his five year old son. The father acts as though he cannot dribble or shoot and he allows his son to out maneuver him and score. The father, for the sake of encouraging his son, lays aside his skills or maturity for the pleasure of his son’s enjoyment. Through Christ, the Father made himself vulnerable to the flesh, to dishonor and death for the pleasure of saving the church. The Word became flesh. Hebrews 12:2 says, “Looking unto Jesus the author  and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

Godhead: Divine being. “It occurs only once in the NT, Col. 2:9: ἐν αὐτῷ (Christ) κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος σωματικῶς , Cf. 1:19f. The Εἷς θεός of the OT has attracted to Himself all divine power in the cosmos, and on the early Christian view He has given this fulness of power to Christ as the Bearer of the divine office.” (Theological dictionary of the New Testament. 1964-c1976. Vols. 5-9 edited by Gerhard Friedrich.)

Bodily: Means material, physical, real. For example, the Holy Ghost descended from heaven on Jesus in a bodily shape like a dove. (Luke 3:22). This is the doctrine of the incarnation. God chose the bodily form of the man Christ Jesus to manifest himself to the world. “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16. Jesus was not a theophany, an angel or an apparition. This body had all the physical attributes that an ordinary man has, only without sin.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.”

Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

The oneness of God is the foundation for all true theology. Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.” Many supporters of the Trinitarian doctrine or of some other interpretation of the Godhead dismiss our emphasis on the oneness of God as pure semantics or wordplay. They say that, in reality, no difference exists in the differing views, and that any differences we claim are merely differences without distinction. Anything too difficult for us to know should be accepted as a great mystery and left at that. This position is wrong on several counts.

  • We have no higher pursuit in life than our understanding of God.
  • Any true Christian should want to know God.
  • The Godhead may be known to man.
  • Our understanding of God affects our relationship to him and his Word.
  • Truth should be the most important factor in accepting doctrine.

Complete: This word refers to criticism for not performing the legalistic keeping of the Mosaic law. Those who failed to observe the Sabbaths, the washings, circumcision, eating and drinking ordinances, etc., were said to be lawbreakers. Paul makes it clear that having Christ makes us complete, regardless of the Judaeistic ceremonies.

11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Circumcision made without hands. This was the spiritual counterpart to the physical act of circumcision in the Old Testament, which symbolized the covenant between God and Abraham. David Bernard and others see this more in baptism, there is also a major role for repentance as a fulfillment of spiritual circumcision. D. A. Carson says,

“The circumcision done by Christ is a figurative way of referring to his crucifixion, while ‘the putting off of the body of flesh’ is best understood as describing his violent death (though some take it as a reference to putting off the Christian’s old nature). The Colossians were also circumcised in him, that is, they died with Christ in his death. In contrast to Jewish circumcision, theirs was notdone by the hands of men; it was a divine work in which God himself made the change from the old life to the new.” (Carson, D. A. (1994). New Bible commentary : 21st century edition. Rev. ed. of: The new Bible commentary.)

Repentance is a type of death to the flesh. The pattern is clear: brazen altar, laver of water, holy place; death, burial, resurrection; repentance, water baptism, Holy Ghost infilling. Repentance is also seen in the phrase “putting off the body of flesh.” The words, “put off” appear other places. (Colossians 3:8-9) and also Ephesians 4:22: “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” Repentance means to kill or to make a clean break from the former self and the behaviors and practices of sin. “Putting off” comes from the Greek apekdysis which means to strip off, undress or remove.

Nothing brings confusion into one’s relationship with Christ any quicker than haphazard or insincere repentance. Incomplete repentance seeks to mix the new life with the old flesh. This will not work because the old flesh cancels out the effectiveness of the new influence in a person’s life. There is an initial repentance in coming to Christ and being born again. There is an ongoing repentance in a daily confession and forsaking sin. Paul said, “I die daily.”

Buried with him in baptism. Baptism answers to the burial required for dead flesh.

The ancient Egyptians sought to preserve the body instead of burying it and allowing it to return to dust.

“The ancient Egyptians had an elaborate set of burial customs that they believed were necessary to ensure their immortality after death. These rituals and protocols included mummification, casting of magic spells, and burial with specific grave goods thought to be needed in the afterlife.[1][2]. The burial customs used by the ancient Egyptians evolved throughout time as old customs were discarded and new ones adopted, but several important elements of the process persisted. Although specific details changed over time, the preparation of the body, the magic rituals involved, and the grave goods provided were all essential parts of a proper Egyptian funeral.” Wikipedia.

Our burial with Christ signifies many things. One of them is that we die to our own flesh, but we are not buried by ourselves. That would mean eternal death. We are buried with Christ. Christ is our only connection to eternal life. When we mummify our flesh instead of burying it, we try to preserve our body and force our way into eternal life without Christ. Natural burial in the ground means complete immersion in earth for the purpose of returning the body back to earth. We call this process decomposition. Baptism means complete immersion in water for the purpose of abandoning (decomposing) the flesh and joining our souls to Christ.

Baptism also signifies circumcision in that it is a change of identity for an individual. He receives a new name and is accepted into the family. This emphasizes the importance of baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38. Also, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12.

The act of baptism is to be physically administered in water, by immersion, with the candidate having the name of Jesus verbally called over him. “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” Acts 22:16. Our scriptural examples speak numerous times of water and immersion as the way to carry out the command of baptism. (Acts 8:36; 10:44-48). Water, as used in baptism, explains the teaching of Jesus in John 3:3-8. The new birth consisted of birth of water and birth of Spirit. The birth of water occurs in water baptism, not in the natural birth process as proposed by some commentators. Common sense says that you cannot command a person to be born naturally as Jesus did to Nicodemus. Water and Spirit refer to baptism and the infilling of the Holy Ghost.

Ye are risen with Him. Even as Christ rose from the dead, we rise from the burial of our flesh through the baptism of the Spirit. This speaks to the necessity of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Does the infilling of the Holy Ghost require any evidence on the part of the believer? Absolutely. It is a spiritual experience. When a baby emerges from the womb of his mother, we listen for an audible cry that signifies life. David Bernard says, “New spiritual life does not come automatically at the ceremony of baptism; it comes through faith, specifically through faith in the working of God. “The faith of the operation of God” here means “faith in the operation of God” according to Greek grammar, and “the operation of God” implies the work of the Holy Spirit. Someone may be truly baptized in water and yet not be filled with the Spirit (Acts 8:15-16). At most, then, we should understand “wherein” to indicate that baptism symbolizes new life in the Spirit. When someone is baptized, his sins are washed away, and as he rises out of the water he opens his heart to receive the Spirit. The act of rising thus symbolizes his entrance into new life, but he must actually receive the Spirit in order to truly experience the new life.”

The normal New Testament evidence for the Spirit baptism is speaking in tongues. Acts 2:1-4 provides the primary scriptural basis for this doctrine, but it is reinforced in other places as well. (Acts 10:44-48; Acts 19:1-7). Acts 10:46 specifically says that tongues provides the evidence of the Spirit baptism.

Who hath raised him from the dead. The baptism of the Holy Ghost is our personal assurance of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Those who have received this experience do not need to rely on the word of others, on hope, on guesswork or on argumentation. The gift of the Holy Ghost is also to be seen as the earnest deposit or the “down payment” on the future rapture of the church. “In whom ye also trusted , after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14.

NT New Testament.

OT Old Testament.

d in it: or, in himself

e in meat…: or, for eating and drinking

f beguile…: or, judge against you

g rudiments: or, elements

h neglecting: or, punishing, or, not sparing

[1] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.) (Col 2). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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