"Christ Jesus the Lord"
is the greatest affirmation of the deity, humanity
and sovereignty of Christ.
The apostle Paul was
deeply concerned for the Church at Colossae because
she was threatened from the inside by false
teaching. In love he exposed the danger that was
threatening the church. Like a skilled surgeon he
exposed the life threatening cancer and prescribed
the only cure.
The prescription is
loyalty to Jesus Christ. Christ was all the church
How strange in our day
many people go off searching the religious cults and
mystery religions for a deeper spiritual life when
the key to fulfilment in Christian living is to
deepen our loyalty to Christ.
To be a Christian is to
be in fellowship with Christ. The Christian life is
an intimate love relationship with Christ Jesus. It
is not a commitment to a culture or traditions or a
denomination. It is a vital union with Christ. "As
you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in
Him" (Colossians 2:6) is the key to a vibrant living
There were believers in
the church at Colossae who were being distracted and
led away from the all-sufficiency of Christ.
PAUL’S GOAL IN THE
The apostle Paul stressed
this great secret: "Christ in you, the hope of
glory" (Colossians 1:27). That is the secret of
Christianity. It is Christ living His live in and
through you to God’s glory.
Paul said in effect, the
mystery is out. It is an open secret. Go to the
house tops and shout: Christ the hope of glory! In
the first century the word "mystery" was a truth
undiscoverable except by divine revelation. The
great mystery is that the believer has a spiritual
union in Christ. That which was once a secret has
now been fully revealed in the good news of Jesus
Christ. The content of this mystery is "Christ
in you." It is not found in some cultic religious
leader, or secret formulas, or philosophies. It is
Christ! It is Christ indwelling in His people. He is
the grounds for the expectation of glory.
The goal of His ministry
was to proclaim Christ Jesus, "admonishing every man
and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we
may present every man complete in Christ. For this
purpose also I labor, striving according to His
power, which mightily works within me" (Colossians
Paul’s struggle, like
every God-called pastor is to preach, teach, and
admonish every person by the mighty working energy
of Christ in him. Our goal is to "present every man
complete in Christ." Christ is the one who gives us
the strength to accomplish the superhuman task. If
anyone thinks he can do God’s work in his human
strength, personal power, charismatic personality,
denominational programs, etc. he will fail. The
fruit will prematurely fall from the tree on the
ground and rot. It will not receive the blessings of
God. This was why Paul was in agony for these
believers at Colosse.
Paul’s agony over
believers (vv. 1-3)
In the opening words of
Colossians chapter two the apostle Paul opens his
heart and shares with the church his struggle for
them. He had never been to the city before and had
never seen most of them. I have had a ministry for
almost fifty years with many people in different
parts of the world whom I have never met face to
face. I love them and have given many hours of
preparation and prayer for them. For many years my
Bible teaching ministry to our radio audience was in
over a hundred countries and we received letters
from listeners from many of those countries. Today
these Bible studies are read by pastors and
Christians in many counties of the world. The
apostle Paul wrote out of compassion and love for
churches in the Lycos valley.
He felt agony (agon)
for these believers because their relationship with
Christ was being threatened. Paul could not go to
Colosse because he was under house arrest and
chained to a Roman soldier in Rome. But he could
agonize over them in prayer.
"For I want you to know
how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for
those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who
have not personally seen my face" (Colossians 2:1).
He is deeply anxious for their spiritual safety and
growth. Pastors have every reason to be deeply
concerned when every religious fad comes to town.
Just because a TV evangelist has a new video or tape
or book does not mean it is Biblically sound in its
Paul felt the
responsibility of being a Christian leader. He knew
that people were watching him to see how he handled
the prison life and the stress of the ministry. In a
companion letter sent to the church at Philippi
shortly before this letter, Paul said, "I want you
to know, brethren, that my circumstances have turned
out for the greater progress of the gospel, so that
my imprisonment in the cause of Christ has become
well-known throughout the whole praetorian guard and
to everyone else, and that most of the
brethren, trusting in the Lord because of my
imprisonment, have far more courage to speak the
word of God without fear" (Philippians 1:12-14).
Paul understood that God was in control of the
circumstances and He was using it for His glory and
Paul’s good. All eyes are watching you and me to see
how we handle life. Let’s make sure that God is
honored and glorified by the way we live.
Paul encourages the
Paul’s inward struggle is
"that their hearts may be encouraged, having been
knit together in love, and attaining to all the
wealth that comes from the full assurance of
understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of
God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are
hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge"
(Colossians 2:2-3). It is the picture of a pastor’s
All of the believers in
the Lycus Valley had been exposed to the Gnostic
heresy. Leaders from the churches in the area had
visited Paul in prison and had given him a report on
the churches. He wants to encourage their hearts.
The word "hearts" includes the intellect, the will,
and emotions. It stands for the whole person. The
Greek "heart" never refers only to the feelings as
our English does. He is afraid they will loose
heart. He wants to "encourage" them. In Paul’s day
the word mean a military leader talking to his men
to strengthen their morale and willingness to go to
war. Paul wants these believers to be filled with
The basis for such a
strong heart is being "knit together in love." It is
the picture of two people walking together. A
community walking together in love for the Lord
Jesus and one another is extremely rich and full of
Why all of this concern?
"I say this so that no one will delude you with
persuasive argument" (Colossians 2:4). There were
slick and sophisticated false teachers who had
infiltrated the church. Their reasoning sounded
convincing, but it was far from the truth. They used
the speech of thieves who were trying to fast talk
them into a false Christology.
"For even though I am
absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in
spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and
the stability of your faith in Christ" (Colossians
2:5). Like good soldiers these believes were holding
their ground and faithful to Christ. They remained
loyal to Christ.
God’s mystery is
Christ is a great
treasure house where you find wisdom and knowledge.
In Christ Jesus all these spiritual treasures are
stored away; come and discover them and enrich
yourself. In Christ we have access to unlimited
stores of wisdom and truth. Why then do we settle
for less? Christ is the full complete revelation of
God to men.
Our spiritual wealth
comes from the full assurance of understanding of a
true knowledge of God’s mystery is Christ Jesus. In
Christ is found all the treasures of wisdom and
knowledge of God. Christ is the mystery of God, and
in Christ is locked up or hidden all the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge.
Do you want to know what
God is like? Take a long hard look and examine
Christ. Do you want an intimate knowledge of God?
Look to Christ.
All wisdom is hidden in
Christ. It is a wisdom hidden from the common gaze
of men and is a secret revealed by God in Christ.
The false teachers
claimed a secret knowledge that only their initiated
could know. It was their secret and you could know
it only by following their rituals and ceremonies.
The true knowledge that
leads to God is found in Christ Jesus, and in no
LOYALTY TO CHRIST
"Therefore as you have
received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him,
having been firmly rooted and now being built up in
Him and established in your faith, just as you were
instructed, and overflowing with gratitude"
How did you receive
That is an important
question? Let’s suppose you died today and stood
before the Lord God and He asked you, "Why should I
let you into my heaven?" How would you answer Him?
What would you say? How did you receive Christ
The only adequate
response is Jesus Christ died for my sins on the
cross as my substitute and I have put my trust in
Him alone for eternal life. Jesus said, "For God so
loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but
have eternal life" (John 3:16). The apostle Paul
wrote, "For while we were still helpless, at the
right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . "But God
demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans
5:8). What must I do to be saved? "If you confess
with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your
heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be
saved" (Romans 10:9). "Believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ and you shall be saved . . ." (Acts 16:31).
The apostle Peter gave an
invitation to one of his sermons saying, "There is
salvation in no one else; for there is no other name
under heaven that has been given among men by which
we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). We are "justified by
faith apart from works of the Law" as "a gift by His
grace through the redemption which is in Christ
Jesus." We are saved by grace alone through faith
alone in Christ Jesus alone.
In Colossians 2:6 the
apostle Paul stresses, "Therefore as you have
received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him."
There are many cults in our day who teach that
Christ is just one good man among many. His religion
is just one of many ways to get to heaven. He was a
nice prophet and teacher, but my ideas are just as
good as his. Let’s combine all the great teaching of
world religions and pick and choose what is
appropriate for me. That is not what Jesus offered,
nor did the early church. That is why Christianity
is offensive to many people. Jesus said, "I am the
way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to
the Father but through Me" (John 14:6).
"Therefore as you have
received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" is
our responsibility as believers. The word translated
"received" referred to the passing on of tradition
as when a teacher passed on his teaching to his
students (cf. 1 Cor. 15:3). However, in this passage
Paul has in mind the day when these believers
"received" Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. To
be a Christian is to have Christ. It is to be in
fellowship with the living Lord. Christianity is
Christ and to be a Christian is to have received
Christ, the Lord.
When we confess "Christ
Jesus is Lord" we are declaring that He is the
anointed Messiah, the Son of God. He is our Savior
who came and died for our sins. Jesus means Yahweh
saves. He is our sovereign Lord who reigns over our
lives and the universe.
"Christ Jesus the Lord"
affirms the deity of "Christ" the anointed of God
that Judaism denied, His humanity as "Jesus" that
the Gnostics denied, and His sovereignty as Lord
that the Roman cults denied.
"Paul here meets the two
forms of Gnostic heresy about the Person of Christ
(the recognition of the historical Jesus n his
actual humanity against the Docetic Gnostics, the
identity of the Christ or Messiah with this
historical Jesus against the Cerinthian Gnostics,
and the acknowledgment of His as Lord)," notes A. T.
Robertson. The false teachers tried to manipulate
the Christians to agree to "additions to Christ."
The implication is Christ is insufficient. You need
Christ plus something else. The apostle Paul said
enough of this nonsense; Christ is all sufficient.
"Christ Jesus is Lord!"
The Colossian heresy was
basically Jewish with elements of pagan mysticism
that made its appeal by considering the initiated as
spiritually elite. These elements in the first
century developed into the elaborate
philosophical-religious Gnosticism of the second and
Jesus Christ is Lord. He
is "far above all rule and authority and power and
dominion, and every name that is named, not only in
this age but also in the one to come" (Ephesians
1:21). What the believer has in Christ Jesus is
Paul describes healthy
believers who are firmly rooted as a tree, built up
as a building, increasingly stable in their faith,
and constantly producing fruit of thankfulness. The
born again believer is firmly rooted and continues
to produce the evidence of that spiritual
regeneration. The believer "having been firmly
rooted and now being built up in Him and established
in your faith, just as you were instructed, and
overflowing with gratitude" (Colossians 2:7). A
characteristic of Christian maturity is a thankful
attitude. You cannot grumble and be thankful. You
cannot complain and be full of thankfulness. You
cannot criticize and be overflowing with
The apostle Paul uses
passive participles, meaning these things have been
done to you. You don't do it; God does it. You have
been rooted in Christ. You have been planted in
Christ and those strong roots will keep you firm.
You have been built up in Christ and are growing up
in Him. Your faith is growing strong. You have been
strengthened in the faith. This causes us to
overflow with thankfulness.
The metaphor the apostle
Paul used was walking in Christ. "Go on walking in
Him." The idea is to continue to live your life in
Christ. Christ is the way; walk with Him. Live as
men and women who have a vital union with Christ.
Walk in a manner of dependence upon Him.
Then the apostle changed
metaphors in verse seven and says "having been
firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and
established in your faith, just as you were
instructed, and overflowing with gratitude"
(Colossians 2:7). He mixes his metaphors because of
the rich ideas he is communicating to his readers.
We walk as live men, rooted like a tree with deep
roots in Him, and a house built on a solid rock.
Christ is both the ground in which the root is held
and the solid foundation upon which the building
"Having been rooted" is a
perfect participle suggesting something that took
place in the past and has present effects. You were
born again and as a result you are continuing to be
rooted and grounded in Him. He is your source of
life for spiritual growth. If your spiritual roots
go deep into His soil you will not be easily
He is stressing the solid
foundation of our faith in Christ Jesus. Our
Christian life is a continuous process, daily living
in and through Christ. Yes, there is a need for the
study of Biblical truth. There can be no spiritual
growth without the study of His Word; otherwise the
believer is cast upon what ever current fad washes
The emphasis the apostle
Paul is making is to walk "in Christ" not just with
Him. Christ is the living Lord and He has redeemed
us and lives in us to strengthen and transform us.
Essentials in the
"See to it that no one
takes you captive through philosophy and empty
deception, according to the tradition of men,
according to the elementary principles of the world,
rather than according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8).
"See to it that no one
takes you captive . . ." The word "captive" is the
idea to "carry off as a booty or as a captive, rob
someone." Don’t let someone carry you away from the
truth into slavery. These false teachers would
entrap innocent believers.
This is the only place
where the word "philosophy" is used in the New
Testament. Here is not referring to the examination
of the basic questions regarding God, man and the
significance of life. Paul has in mind Gnostic
speculations of the mystery religions. Paul
describes it here as "empty deception." These false
teachers are deceitful. It was a mixture of
legalism, asceticism and mysticism and Christianity.
It was empty, without truth and therefore without
The danger was these
believers were being deceived by fine sounding
arguments that were empty of truth. They were being
"deceived," literally "to reason beside something."
There was something being thrown along side the
truth that looked much like truth, but was
deceiving. It was not the truth. Truth and error
sometimes look a lot alike, but totally wrong.
Counterfeit hundred dollar bills look a lot alike
the real thing.
A well ordered
disciplined spiritual life helps to guard against
deception. Lazy minds open the door to being
deceived. Bad theology invites sloppy spirituality.
The cults that knock on your door a looking for
Christians who have no idea of what is true or
A firm faith in Jesus
Christ will chase the cults away. The secret cults
in Colossae degraded Christ. They cheated people out
of true knowledge of Christ just like the Gnostic
societies in our day. The apostle Paul is not
opposed to true knowledge of any kind. He is opposed
to anything that would cheat people out of knowing
and having a true relationship with Christ. Christ
will stand up to any true knowledge and wisdom.
They made the elemental
spirits, not Christ, the center of their religious
system. Christ alone deserves the supreme place in
our thought and worship. "Seek first His kingdom and
His righteousness, and all these things will be
added to you" (Matthew 6:33).
A simple formula that
helps us get our priorities straight is Christ plus
_______ is salvation. Christ plus __________ equals
eternal life. The correct evaluation is Christ plus
nothing is eternal life. Salvation and eternal life
comes as God’s free gift received through faith in
Christ. "Believe on the Lord Jesus and you shall be
saved. Christ plus nothing. Christ is all—and all
you need. You do not need anything or anyone else.
FULLNESS OF THE
GODHEAD IN CHRIST (2:9-10)
"For in Him all the
fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him
you have been made complete, and He is the head over
all rule and authority" (Colossians 2:9-10). Paul
plainly asserts the deity and the humanity of Jesus
Christ in corporeal form.
The apostle Paul
stresses the full deity of Christ.
Do not let anyone cheat
you out of the truth that in Christ dwells all the
fullness of the Godhead. He is God of very God. All
that God is, Jesus Christ is. All that makes God,
God, Jesus Christ is.
"For in Him all the
fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Colossians
2:9). In Christ alone the whole fullness of
the Godhead dwells. Deity has taken up permanent
residence in Christ. It is a continuous permanent
dwelling in Christ. In Christ the fullness of deity
permanently resides. It has found its permanent
settled home. In Christ dwells all the attributes of
God. There is nothing in God’s nature which is not
fully present in Christ. Everything that is the very
essence of God is found in Christ. The very total of
everything that makes God God is found in Christ. He
did not give us His deity when he became a man. It
continues in His resurrected bodily form.
Phillips translates: "It
is in Him that God gives a full and complete
expression of Himself."
Pause for a moment and
ask yourself: Is there anyone or anything in my
spiritual life that diminishes or replaces Christ
and his saving work? Are you putting a man, a
pastor, a friend, a religious leader, denominational
leader in the exclusive place of Christ? Are you
adding someone or something to Christ?
It is in Christ
alone there resides the absolute deity.
The apostle Paul stresses
the real humanity of Christ.
Not only do we have the
absolute deity of Christ revealed in this verse, but
His perfect humanity as well. "For in Him all the
fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Colossians
2:9). This also a clear statement of the incarnation
of Christ. In the glorified body of Christ all the
plentitude of deity permanently dwells.
The fullness of the
Godhead dwells in Christ bodily. The fullness of
Deity resided permanently in the preincarnate Word,
but not in bodily fashion. "In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God. He was in the beginning with God. All things
came into being through Him, and apart from Him
nothing came into being that has come into being"
(John 1:1-3). Replace the word "Word" with the name
of Christ and you have the correct interpretation of
this passage. However, when Jesus was born in
Bethlehem the Word was clothed in human flesh. God
became man. Yes, Christ is fully God—very God of
very God. But He is also fully man. He is God-Man.
A. T. Robertson wrote, "The actual deity of Christ
is combined with his actual humanity in one person.
All the attributes of God dwell in the Son of God
who is also the Son of man, the incarnate Son of
God." He adds, "Jesus was the Son of God before the
incarnation, when He became the Son of man. He took
back to heaven with Him His humanity and so obtained
more glory than ever (Phil. 2:5-11)."
The apostle Paul
stresses the all-sufficiency of Christ.
"And in Him you have been
made complete, and He is the head over all rule and
authority" (Colossians 2:10).
Because Jesus Christ is
God-Man and we have a vital union with Him, we share
in His fullness. No, we do not become like little
gods like the cults teach. We have a vital union "in
Him." This fullness is ours only as we are joined to
This perfection of Christ
is not transfused to us, but as Calvin stresses, are
"resources from which we may be filled, that nothing
be wanting to us." All of our spiritual needs are
fully met in our vital union with Christ. Possessing
Christ, we possess everything. All we need is found
in Christ. "I am the vine, you are the branches; he
who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit,
for apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).
It is in Christ that we are made full. Our fullness
comes from Christ’s fullness (John 1:16; Eph. 3:19;
Christ meets a believer’s
needs out of the "fullness of deity."
PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
Christ is God He is supremely adequate to meet all
The most important
theological issue mankind faces is who is Jesus
The critical issue in
life is what will you do with Jesus Christ? He is
not going to go away. What you decide about Him will
determine your eternal destiny.
Because Jesus is
God with us He is able to redeem us.
We who were dead in our
trespasses and sins have become partakers of divine
nature by the new birth. "For by these He has
granted to us His precious and magnificent promises,
so that by them you may become partakers of the
divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is
in the world by lust" (2 Peter 1:4). Even so, we
must always keep in mind that Christ is God’s
unique, only one of a kind Son.
Christ is who He is there can be only one adequate
"For this reason also,
God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name
which is above every name, so that at the name of
Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in
heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that
every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians