Introducing Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians
For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him…(Colossians 2:9-10)
For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fulness dwell. (Colossians 1:19)
But Christ is all in all. (Colossians 3:11)
That in all things He might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:18)
Such is a sampling of the teaching found in the epistle to the Colossians. It is such a glorious revelation concerning the greatness of Christ and His supremacy over all that there is no limit to the height of its reach. Yet this epistle takes the supreme revelation of Christ and brings it to the believer to live out in the mundane things of life. Yet we should expect this from the revelation of our Lord. He does not give us empty theory or knowledge, for “knowledge puffeth up” (1 Corinthians 8:1).
So Paul brings this revelation that is higher than the heavens and brings it down to earth. No thoughts are present of being “too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.” The practical outworking of this revelation is more practically to stop being so earthly minded that we are of no heavenly good. Or maybe to be so heavenly minded that we are of the most earthly good. See chapter 3 verses 1-4 for this insight.
Paul presents this letter as a correction. In correcting, he speaks so highly of our Lord Jesus Christ that none of the earthly things become of any significance. Christ indeed is all in all. Some key words that he uses in this epistle include:
- Head (1:18, 2:10, 2:18)
- fulfill (1:25, 4:16)
- fill (1:9, 1:24)
- fullness (1:19, 2:9)
- complete (1:10, 4:12)
- perfect (1:28, 4:12)
- knowledge (1:9, 1:10, 1:27, 2:2, 2:3, 3:10, 3:24, 4:1)
- wisdom (1:9, 2:3, 2:23)
- understanding (1:9, 2:2)
- mystery (1:26, 1:27, 2:2, 4:3)
- hid (1:26, 2:3)
- thanksgiving (1:3, 1:12, 2:7, 3:15, 3:17, 4:2)
- all (1:4, 1:6, 1:9, 1:10, 1:11, 1:16, 1:17, 1:18, 1:19, 1:20, 1:28, 2:3, 2:9, 2:13, 2:19, 2:22, 3:8, 3:11, 3:14, 3:16, 3:22, 4:12)
- preeminence (1:18)
- The call is for each believer, and for assemblies as a group, and for the Church which is His Body to be grounded (1:23), settled (1:23), rooted (2:7), built up (2:7), and stablished (2:7)
We get to this great revelation of Christ as preeminent in all things, and the great practical outworking of this is that Christ is ALL IN ALL. In Christ there is neither “Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free” (Colossians 3:11). There is no distinction between these in the Body of Christ. Christ is all in all. To the Colossians, Paul lets them know that there are no Christians that are to be separated from others as Greek Christians or Jewish Christians. There are only Christians. There is no special class of circumcised Christians to be separated from uncircumcised Christians. No Barbarian Christians, Scythian Christians, bond Christians or free Christians. There are only Christians. Whether a local assembly is composed of a single ethnic group or of many it does not matter. Christ is all in all. The ethnically singular assembly when focusing on Christ as all in all will have no problem welcoming and rejoicing when those of another ethnicity or culture have joined themselves to Christ and come among them. The assembly already composed of believers of many backgrounds will rejoice in the unity they have found in Christ. Whether there is a proper mix of social groups-what does it matter?
For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. (1 Corinthians 7:22)
Christ is all in all. With Christ as all in all, there is no separation among the brethren. No quotas. Christ and the gospel of Him consume us! What a wonderful answer to the racial and social angst that is continually in focus! Christ now becomes the basis for all of our relationships. Christ is all in all! The things of the world, the rudiments, become nothing when we take our places seeking those things that are above, “where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God” (Colossians 3:1).
I welcome you to join me in this study of this most glorious epistle, preserved for us from the pen of our apostle Paul, regarding the great glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, who truly is our everything, our ALL IN ALL.
I will be writing a new study once a week, around mid-week. Join me then, and I welcome all readers to take part in the discussion. Until next week, your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to read Paul’s epistle to the Colossians and to be familiar enough with it so when we deal with the details, we will not forget the big picture. Until then, may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ richly bless you.