Complete In Him
The Believer is IN Christ
A. Baptized INTO Christ
1. I Cor. 12:13 – Spirit baptism – the believer is baptized INTO Christ (Body) at the moment of saving faith.
a. Spirit baptism places us IN Christ…
b. We are taken OUT OF Adam and placed IN Christ.
c. If you are born again, you are IN Christ… IN His Body…
2. Spirit baptism (and thus being IN Christ) is UNIQUE to believers of this dispensation.
a. Being in His Body means that we have been UNITED to Christ in a unique way… part of this new organism: The Body of Christ.
b. Moses was not part of the Body. Neither was David or Jeremiah… godly and saved as they were.
c. Old Testament saints were part of a different program than the New Testament church.
d. Paul stated that this wonderful truth was a MYSTERY in Old Testament times… (Ephesians deals with this aspect of the mystery).
3. It is true of EVERY believer in this age.
a. “We are ALL baptized”—even the carnal Corinthians!
b. This is God’s work, not ours.
c. This is our position which has nothing to do with the condition of our spiritual lives. Paul dealt with sin problems and immaturity problems among the Corinthians; nevertheless, they were ALL baptized into Christ.
d. Being in Christ is something EVERY believer shares in common… young, old, mature, immature, spiritual, or carnal.
e. If you are born again in this age, you are part of the Body of Christ.
4. Notice in vs.12 that Paul uses the word Christ as the equivalent of Body.
a. The human body is one with many members: so also is Christ… or Christ’s Body.
b. To be in Christ’s body = to be in Christ, for it is HIS Body.
B. Identified with Christ
1. Paul states that we have been identified with Christ in His Death and Resurrection (Col. 2:12)
2. Vs.11 – IN WHOM = in Christ, the following things are true, namely, we died and were buried, and were raised up again.
3. This is true because God sees us IN CHRIST… identified with Him… members of His Body.
4. Hence, in God’s mind when Christ died, we died. When Christ rose again, we rose again.
5. Our identification with Him changes everything.
a. We died to sin, self, and to the world.
b. We rose into heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
• A New Sphere
• A New Position
• God sees us as believers IN Christ… and IN heavenly places already!
• Positionally, we have been RAISED already.
• We will develop this theme more in vs.11-13.
6. But the main point to keep in mind as we consider vs.10 is what it means to be IN Christ.
a. By faith we have been identified with Christ in His death and resurrection. We are thus NEW creatures in Christ. Old things have passed away… all things are become new.
b. By Spirit Baptism, we have been placed IN Christ… members of this NEW MAN… the BODY of Christ… the church.
c. This means we are UNITED to Christ in a unique way…
d. We are related to Christ in a CLOSER and DEEPER way than that of Old Testament saints… as godly as many of them were.
e. We have a greater position in Christ… greater privileges.
f. They were forbidden to enter into the holy place. We are able (by faith) to enter into the very HOLY of Holies!
g. And that of course is because of the fact that our consciences have been eternally PURGED because the infinitely superior VALUE of the precious blood of Christ as opposed to the blood of bulls and goats before Calvary.
h. We are IN CHRIST… and that is unique, glorious, and holy privilege unimaginable to saints in OT times…
The Christ the Believer is IN
1. Head of the Old Creation – Creator/Sustainer (1:16-17)
2. Head of the New Creation (1:20-21)
3. All Fullness of the Godhead (1:19; 2:9)
4. Head of All Principalities and Powers (2:10c)
B. Paul Emphasizes the PERSON of Christ.
1. He is Savior, Redeemer, (vs. 14) the image of God (vs. 15); Creator and sustainer of the universe (vs. 16-17); Firstborn of the resurrection and Head of the Body (vs. 18); Reconciler (vs. 20-21); the Theme of the Mystery of God (vs. 1:27).
2. All the fullness of the Godhead dwells permanently in Christ.
3. He is HEAD of all the spirit realm (2:10c).
4. THIS is the Christ of the Bible.
a. He is NOT one of millions of emanations from a deity as the false teachers were declaring.
b. He is not an impure, polluted form of deity.
c. He is not a relatively powerful spirit being.
d. He is Creator of and Head over all principality and power!
e. Paul wants the Colossians (and us!) to KNOW who Christ is. The better we know Him, the less likely we will be deceived by the vain deceit of those who are teaching Another Jesus!
5. But there is another reason for this revelation of who Christ is.
a. Paul wants us to know that we are IN Christ.
b. But he also wants us to know WHO IT IS we are in!
c. Our concept of who God is will determine, to a large degree, our progress and growth as a believer… or a lack thereof.
d. Our position in Christ… and KNOWING that position will have a tremendous effect in our daily lives… and the kind of FRUIT borne by us.
e. A branch grafted into a wild vine will produce wild, sour grapes.
f. A branch grafted into THE VINE… the Christ of the Bible… will produce good fruit… the fruit of the Spirit… genuine Christlike character.
6. All believers are IN Christ. And it matters intensely what our concept is of the Person in whom we have been placed.
a. A weak, impotent, little god… a polluted and diluted deity… a counterfeit deity of man’s vain imagination is not a very solid foundation upon which to rest.
b. But the Christ described in Col. 1-2 IS a solid foundation… a Vine that will produce good fruit… an unending source of all the spiritual growth, strength, and nutrition we could ever need… in whatever situation we find ourselves.
c. We are complete in Christ… and don’t ever forget WHO HE IS! He is all we need.
The Believer is COMPLETE IN Christ
A. Complete Defined
a. Strong’s: to make full, to fill up, i.e., to fill to the full. 1ato cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally.
b. This is a form of the term used in vs. 9 – “fullness.”
2. Tense: perfect passive participle
a. Perfect speaks of past completed action, with present, continuing results.
• The Colossian believers were completed at some point in the past (at salvation) and remain in that settled state to the present.
• They are STILL complete in Christ. That will never change.
• The act of completion is NOT ongoing. That was finished the moment the believer puts his faith in Christ… at the moment of conversion.
• But the result of being completed lasts forever.
b. Passive – indicates that the action of completing was performed by an outside source…
• That outside source is GOD.
• The act of completing the believer is GOD’s work… for us, not our work for God. That’s why the results are lasting!
• At the moment of saving faith, God COMPLETES the believer… he is thus complete in Christ… and he STANDS complete in Christ.
• That is the position of EVERY true believer: COMPLETE!
B. Complete Illustrated (baby with all his body parts)
1. But let’s not get the concept of being COMPLETE confused with perfection or maturity.
a. We spent much time in our study of Hebrews looking at the concept of perfection… meaning maturity.
b. NOT every believer is perfect or mature. We need to be URGED on to perfection.
c. Even Paul recognized that he had not achieved perfect Christlikeness in his earthly sojourn. None of us have.
d. Perfection is Christlikeness… and with that as our standard, we ALL have a LONG way to go.
e. Every believer is complete in Christ… (Col. 2:10 = ye = ALL of the “saints” in Colossae, according to 1:2).
f. Every believer is complete in Christ, but NOT every believer is MATURE (perfect) in his faith.
2. We might liken being COMPLETE in Christ to a healthy baby being born.
a. In a sense, that healthy baby is COMPLETE at birth.
b. A baby is born COMPLETE—a complete person.
• He has a soul, spirit, body.
• Intellect; emotion; will.
• 2 arms; 2 legs; 2 eyes; one nose; etc…
• Right from birth, he is endowed… blessed with ALL of the physical faculties he will ever get.
• He is born complete in that sense. He has all of his body parts. He isn’t going to sprout any more arms or legs later—hopefully!
c. When a person is born again, he too is born complete.
• That new believer is given a nature… a new heart… a new will… a new mind… (new capacities—not new organs!)
• Right from birth, he is already endowed… or blessed with ALL the spiritual blessings we will ever get… all we will ever need!
• That new believer is the recipient of so MANY things right from birth… and he will spend many years to come LEARNING what they are… and learning to experience them to the fullest as God intended!
• He has been given a spiritual gift; a capacity to function in the Body of Christ;
• Just as the newborn baby is born physically complete, so too the new believer in Christ is born spiritually complete.
• At birth we are complete. But at birth we are NOT mature. We need to grow up.
3. Spiritual growth in a believer is, in a sense, like the physical growth of a child.
a. The baby is born with all of his body parts at birth. What he is born with is all he gets.
b. But after being born, that newborn needs to grow, mature, and develop the faculties he already has. (mind; heart; body)
c. So too with the believer… we are complete at the moment of the new birth… having been blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in Christ!
• At the moment of saving faith, we receive a new nature; new mind; new heart; new capacity of will.
• We are complete in that we already possess all the spiritual faculties we will ever get… but we are to DEVELOP those faculties… to grow up… progress spiritually… “let us go on to perfection!”
d. The baby grows (not by gaining new body parts) but by means of nutrition and exercise.
• We grow through feeding on Christ and His Word… and exercising ourselves unto godliness.
e. The baby is complete at birth—but faces a long period of growth.
• So too the believer in Christ!
• We are complete, but that does not mean that there is no room for growth!
4. I hope nobody gets the idea from this passage that salvation is the END of the process!
a. No! Salvation or the new birth is but the BEGINNING of a long, extended process of growth and maturity towards Christlikeness.
b. Phil. 3:12 – Paul had not yet attained perfection… but he kept following after it as his goal in life: to be more like his Savior! We are NEVER complete in that sense.
c. There is ALWAYS room for more spiritual growth…
d. We are complete in the sense that we have all the spiritual faculties we will ever get—BUT we are NOT complete in our DEVELOPMENT of and USE of those faculties!
e. EX: We may have the gift of exhortation. While we have the complete gift… it is not yet full grown! The more you learn God’s Word, the better exhorter you will be!
f. You may have the gift of teaching. God has already made you what you are. He created you in Christ to FIT into the body in a unique position. But you have that complete gift in SEED form. It needs to grow… develop… mature!
g. We have the mind of Christ. The capacity to THINK godly thoughts is in our possession already. We have the COMPLETE capacity… nothing is lacking. But we do NOT continually THINK like Christ. There is always room for improvement in our thought lives.
h. We have a new heart in Christ… a new capacity to LOVE as Christ loved us. God gave us all a COMPLETE new heart. The entire capacity to LOVE as Christ loved us is in our possession… but that capacity needs to be exercised… utilized… developed… applied.
5. Summary of the illustration: The baby is born COMPLETE with all of his physical faculties right from birth.
a. As believers, we too are born COMPLETE in Christ—in possession of ALL we need for life and godliness… already blessed with ALL spiritual blessings in heavenly places… already gifted to function in the body.
b. We are not as the charismatics would have us believe in need of MORE blessings… so that we SEEK some new gift… or some new blessing. God wants us to walk by faith and BELIEVE that we have already received our spiritual gifts and blessings in Christ!
c. Instead, God wants us to LEARN about the blessings we already have… and then put them into practice… grow… develop…
d. Become a BETTER preacher, Sunday school teacher, exhorter, giver, helper, elder, deacon, better greeter, better evangelist…
e. Don’t ever be satisfied with the status quo.
f. We have a personal RESPONSIBILITY in spiritual growth… to strive… to run the race… to continually come to the throne of grace… to read God’s Word… pray… fellowship and worship with the saints… listen to preaching and teaching of the Word.
g. Being complete in Christ does NOT mean we sit on a rocking chair.
h. We are complete IN CHRIST. God placed us in the perfect and complete environment… where we have ALL we need.
i. Our position in Christ is perfect—because it was God’s Work. But our condition is far from perfect… and that requires effort on our part… the effort of FAITH… giving all diligence to enter into His rest!
j. By faith ABIDE in our complete position in Christ and growth WILL take place!
C. IN Christ We Share in Christ’s Fullness
1. We share in HIS fullness (pleroma).
a. Col. 2:10c – Head over all principality and power: We share in His exaltation over the angelic realm.
• As men, IN ADAM, we were made lower than the angels… even Adam before his sin!
• But IN CHRIST, we are raised up higher than the angels!
• Adam and Eve were co-regents over the earth. But now that we are raised up in Christ, we are citizens of heaven!
• We gained far more IN Christ than we had in Adam.
b. We are IN HIM and thus we are partakers of the Divine nature. (II Pet. 1:4)
• Partaker: koinonon = a partner, associate, comrade, companion; fellowship
• We are not possessors of the divine nature, but we SHARE or fellowship with Christ in HIS fullness.
• As the branch shares in all the wealth of the Vine, we share in all the fullness of divine qualities in Christ…
• The fullness of God which we as believers share does NOT consist of the divine essence (divine attributes). Divine attributes (omniscience, omnipotence, etc) are possessed exclusively by God Himself and none other.
• But we can and do share in God’s qualities such as His grace, holiness, righteousness, wisdom, strength.
• Because we are IN Christ, we benefit from all that is in Him… the divine nature… the fullness that is HIS alone.
c. And of his FULLNESS have all we received, and grace for grace. (John 1:16)
• Christ is full of the fullness of God.
• We do not possess the fullness of God, but we DO receive from His fullness!
• He is full of power, holiness, mercy, truth, purity, love, and grace.
• As we abide in Him, we RECEIVE what He is and what He has… we participate in all He possesses.
• Heb. 4:16 – He bestows grace to help in time of need… power for daily living… strength and grace for the trials…
d. We share of His FULLNESS IN THE BODY of which He is the Head and LIFE. (1:18)
• Jesus used the illustration of the branch benefiting from being IN the Vine.
• In the epistles Paul speaks of the believer benefiting from being IN the Body of Christ…
• A body in which Christ LIVES! His life flows to every part… He directs the Body… He guides the Body by His indwelling Spirit… He empowers the Body and every member in particular.
e. Eph. 3:19 – God’s purpose for the believer is that we might be filled (eis) UNTO the fullness of God. That is our goal.
• The King James Version makes it sound like the believer can be filled with the fullness of the Godhead just AS Christ is.
• The believer certainly does not POSSESS the fullness of the Godhead in that sense.
• The preposition (eis) is not with but UNTO… as a goal.
iv. The goal of the believer is to be FILLED UNTO the fullness of God. That divine fullness is the unlimited resource from which we draw… grace after grace… all the spiritual resources we could ever need.
• Becoming more like Christ is our goal…
• God’s purpose is that we might be filled more and more, not with deity… but with God’s power, God’s mercy, God’s holiness, God’s character…
• Every member of the Body has complete, unrestricted access to the fullness of the Godhead through our Head, Jesus Christ.
• Positionally, the believer is complete or FULL in Christ… but practically, we have a long way to go. Hence, we are to be filled UNTO (eis) the fullness of God… appropriating Godly qualities in our lives by faith…
• Moment by moment as the need arises… the grace and strength is there… the fullness!
f. Eph. 1:23 – the Body is full of Christ – the One who fills it.
• And Christ is full of the fullness of the Godhead.
• Hence, the Body is full of GOD Himself… His power, grace, holiness, mercy, truth, righteousness, love, etc.
• God sees the Body as perfectly supplied with and FILLED with the fullness of God…
• There is unlimited potential in the Body of Christ… we are thus ABLE to walk in newness of life… if we will reckon self to be dead and alive unto God.
• Even this little assembly… we all have access to the fullness of the Godhead… IF we will be constantly looking unto Jesus… yielded to His Spirit… submitted to His yoke… dead to sin, self, the law, and the world… and alive unto God and His will!
• But what great things God can accomplish THROUGH a yielded Body… which becomes but a vehicle for the fullness of the Godhead…
• So you’re facing some struggles? Going through a difficult time? At the end of your resources?
• Well there’s good news. We are COMPLETE in Christ. We have continual access to grace sufficient, to all the strength and wisdom we could ever need.
• We have access to the FULLNESS of the Godhead … because we are in Christ… the One who possesses that fullness and makes it all available to us by faith.
2. We are in Christ and share in His fullness (pleroma).
a. Christ is sufficient. Thus, we do NOT need any supplementary sources of grace or power to live the Christian life.
b. He is all we need. What more could we need when we have ALL the fullness of the Godhead in Christ… and we are partakers of Him?!
c. Vincent says; “Not, ye are made full in Him, but ye are in Him, made full.”
d. Our fullness comes from our position. In Him dwells the fullness; being in Him, ye are filled. We are in a sphere of fullness… and hence, we are filled…
e. Lightfoot wrote: “your fulness comes from His fulness; His pleroma (πληρωμα) (fulness) is transfused into you by virtue of your incorporation in Him.”
f. And of what fullness do we share? How are we FULL or COMPLETE in Christ?
• The full, complete power of the resurrection is ours.
• Completed Salvation (justified; sanctified; reconciled; redeemed; regenerated).
• Completely accepted in the Beloved! (Eph. 1:6)
• Possessors of “all we need for life and godliness.”
• Full, complete and continual access to His grace, holiness, love, purity, righteousness…
• Complete Security in His hands…
• The Fullness of “Christ in us”—the hope of glory.
g. Because we are complete, we are NOT to be SEEKING for a new experience… or new blessings… or some new religious fad… or something “else” to make us complete… or to bring fulfillment.
• Rather, God wants us to seek more of CHRIST…
• Seek to experience more of what we already possess… We are complete.
• LEARN more about who Christ is… He lives in us. We are complete. Don’t seek something else. Seek a closer and deeper relationship to the One we already possess!
• LEARN more about what we possess in Him… our spiritual blessings… our heavenly position… our inheritance in Him… our capacities to serve Him… the power available to live for Him…
h. A wonderful thing happens when that is our focus… when we take our attention away from self and our earthly condition and focus on Christ and our position in Him.
• As we BEHOLD His glory, we are transformed into that same image!
• As we CONCENTRATE on Christ, the things of earth grow strangely dim… including our daily struggles and trials.
• As we are LOOKING unto Jesus, we are ABLE to walk in newness of life… and not just walk, but RUN the race set before us!
• O that we might learn not to focus so much attention on our earthly condition… and all the things we LACK down here… and would learn to focus on our position in Christ—and how COMPLETE we are in Him.
• Spiritual transformation will occur!
• Problems don’t disappear, but we are empowered with the FULLNESS of God to face them… and to do so—not stoically and grim faced, but with patience, longsuffering, and joyfulness!
• We ARE complete in Christ. By faith we can actually EXPERIENCE that completeness down here on earth!
• Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for…
• Faith enables us to BE what we ARE in Christ… redeemed… saints… heavenly… holy… sanctified…
• Faith will, over time, lift up the lowly, struggling, wretched condition of our daily lives… and make it more like our glorious position in Him: COMPLETE in Him!
i. The believer who is partaking in the fullness of Christ is not going to be attracted to “Another Jesus” or false teaching which is but chaff.
• The one who tastes and sees that the Lord is good isn’t going to be seeking after the vain philosophies of men, the empty traditions of men, or the rudiments of the world.
• He will be SATISFIED with Christ His Savior.
• Are you seeking elsewhere for satisfaction in life? (money; sex; prestige; material things)
• IF we are filled with the fullness of God, there is no room for that empty chaff… no desire for anything else.
• WE need to be feasting upon Christ, the BREAD of life. He alone can satisfy the needs of the human breast.
• We are COMPLETE in Him. DO you believe what God said?
IF YOU DO NOT KNOW CHRIST AS YOU SAVIOR…
» Then you are NOT complete in Christ.
» You are not in Christ…
» You are still in Adam… in sin… and in condemnation.
» God has one message for you: TODAY is the day of salvation!
» BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.