Knowing the All Sufficient God
Study #14 Colossians 2:9
by Bob Burridge ©2022
There’s a certain excitement most people feel when they meet someone famous. I’m sure many of you have met famous people along the way and could tell stories about it.
When I was a teenager our family shared a duplex with a cameraman for a television station in our area. He was able to get me to be one of the teens on Buffalo Bandstand. The famous teen idols of the early 60’s all came to that television show to promote their records and movies. It was exciting for us to actually meet people including Frankie Avalon, Dick and Dee Dee, Chubby Checker, Connie Francis, and a few others. Their names are probably unknown today except to the pretty much over-the-hill crowd.
I was volleyball coach for a girl we called Gabby. She came to be known world wide by her full name Gabriel Reese. She became an olympic volleyball star, fashion model, and had her own show on MTV. I also taught computer programming to Kurt Knutsson, known today as Kurt the Cyberguy on FOX news. I’ve had the privilege of having time to talk with some well known Christian authors and theologians including: Jay Adams, Rousas J. Rushdoony, Cornelius Vantil, Gary DeMar, Greg Bahnsen, and Allen MacRae. I had a chance to meet and talk briefly with Cal Thomas and Charlie Christ.
I certainly don’t endorse the teachings, books, and life-style of all these famous people. When you meet or get to know such people personally you find they’re just people like anyone else in most ways. They have the same basic needs we all have, but something they’ve done made them well known.
There’s One far greater whose teachings and what he’s done are not like the rest of us. He accomplished more and has no flaws like all of the other well known people have. He’s the one who created the entire universe and all that’s in it. He sustains every breath we take, and the beat of every heart. He’s the absolute Sovereign Ruler over all things, over all who love him, and even over those who don’t. He’s the Redeemer of everyone rescued from sin. He’s the cause of every moment of health, and the only true comfort through troubled times.
Jesus Christ is not just a well known historic figure and influential teacher, he’s the eternal God who made all of us, famous and infamous. The most amazing thought is that he can be known by us personally as our Good Shepherd, Comforter, and of course as our Teacher and Enabler. We can and should come to know our Savior, the eternal God, personally!
This is where Paul takes us now in this section of Colossians. He points us toward knowing Jesus Christ as a person. The one we come to for rescue, comfort, and direction. It takes us beyond knowing just the facts about him or the content of his lessons. It shows us his real nature, his reality as a divine person who cares about his people.
In Colossians 2:8 Paul had just previously warned …
Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”
There are always ideas begging for us to trust them. There are all kinds of teachers, beliefs, and stories. They often promise inner peace and outward success. But God’s truth is greater than anything all of them together could deliver. The foundation of all the other religions were just myths or men. Our Founder created all the other teachers, and allowed them to have their fantasies and deceptions. Their confused promises and theories remind us that we’re inclined toward superstition and false hopes, if it wasn’t for the grace that sets us free. So, Paul warned about the false philosophies and tradition that are not of God.
Paul now tells about Jesus Christ
so we can know him well and personally.
Colossians 2:9, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,”
Amazingly powerful ideas are packed into that one brief verse. There are only 10 words in this translation and in the original Greek verse. But the most profound theology in all the world is summarized there!
It tells us that our Savior who personally cares for us is both fully God and fully man. These two natures are united into one person, without either being damage or changed!
The deity of Jesus has always been under attack. Our lost condition was so serious that God himself had to come as one of us to rescue us. We can’t provide for our own spiritual needs. One day we’ll be called into account before the One we’ve offended. This strikes at the heart of what the rebellious soul is willing to accept.
Therefore it’s natural and expected that Jesus’ deity would be denied by those who don’t really know him. Many churches teach that Jesus was just a man with divine ideas and profound insight. They explain away his miracles and resurrection saying they’re only myths. They keep what they can accept from the Bible. What they assume can’t be true is rejected.
In the early years of the church the Arians denied Jesus’ deity. They even invented new grammar for Greek and Hebrew to change the meanings of verses. But the plain meaning of the Bible couldn’t be conspired away that easily. The pastors more studied in Scripture adopted the Nicene Creed in 325 AD. Its wording was improved and finalized in 569 making it clear that Jesus was fully God and fully a man. His divine nature was of the same substance with God the Father. That same error has been taken up by the modern Jehovah’s Witnesses along with other cults and liberal churches.
The divine nature of Jesus Christ is absolutely clear in Scripture. Here in Colossians 2:9 Paul says that “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” The Greek word for “of deity” is θεότητος (theotaetos). It doesn’t only mean that he had some of the attributes usually associated with God. It has to do with his actual essence and nature.
It doesn’t mean that a Divine Nature was just showing itself in some way in him. It was there in its fullness. And not just “in fullness”, but in all its fullness. The Apostle heaps up simple words to impress this on us. It shows the depth and absolute truth of Jesus’ full and complete deity.
It wasn’t just something that came upon him, or that grew in his demeanor. It was that which “dwells” in him. It resides is in him … always.
It’s there not just as a manifestation. It’s there bodily. In times past God had shown his presence in the burning bush and in the Tabernacle. But he didn’t dwell in them bodily.
Jesus is like nothing else in all the created Universe. He isn’t just God-like, he is in the fullest sense God himself.
Of course this doesn’t just come from this verse. There are many direct statements in the Bible that tell us that Jesus is God. In Isaiah 9:6, where it promises that the Messiah would come, it calls him the Mighty God. John 1:1 says of Jesus, “the Word was God.” In John 20:28 Thomas confessed his trust in Jesus by calling him my Lord, and my God. Romans 9:5 says that Jesus is, “the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever.” Jesus said in John 17:5 said he would be restored to the glory he had with the Father before the world was made.
Jesus is the one who created all things. John 1:3 says of Jesus, “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” Earlier here in Colossians 1:16-17 Paul wrote, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities– all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
There can be no doubt that the Bible directly and clearly declares that Jesus is fully God.
Jesus not only has a true divine nature, he also has a true human nature. We’ve all read his life in the Gospels where we learned about his conception and birth. We read about how his human body grew up and had normal human needs. He became hungry, thirsty, and needed sleep. He even suffered physically, bled, and died having his body and soul separated as ours will be. All the attributes of created humanity were present in him.
Of course the important difference was that he was without sin. Unlike the whole rest of the human race, he didn’t inherit a fallen nature from Adam. This means that he had no sinful thoughts. He did no sinful deeds, and didn’t inherit Adam’s guilt. This moral perfection of his humanity was essential in his being the perfect sacrifice. He died for us as one without blemish, knowing no sin, as it says in 1 Peter 2:22 and 1 John 3:5.
Some deny his humanity and make Jesus a purely mystical visit of God in a deified body. This brilliant deception of Satan sounds pious, but destroys his ability to represent us. It makes him little more than a word from God but disqualifies him for the work he came to do. It appeals to those who want a magical and superstitious religion. Nothing could be more contrary to the whole message of Scripture and the mission of our Savior.
His divine and human natures make up the one person of Jesus Christ. We call this the doctrine of the hypostatic union. In a way, beyond our comprehension, the entire divine nature, and an entire human nature, are united in the one person Jesus Christ so that he is fully God and fully man. Neither nature is changed by the other, and neither is a mere accessory for the other.
This unique union can be like nothing else in all the universe. In our experience we have just one nature. There’s nothing in our lives that can help us understand two natures being united.
How does Jesus in his divinity know all things perfectly at all times with true omniscience, yet in his humanity he was able to grow in wisdom as in Luke 2:40? How could he be in agony and suffer in his flesh and soul while at the same time in his divinity he experiences no lack of perfect and unchangeable peace?
Our inability to explain such things is not an argument against them. But it confirms what the Scriptures teach throughout; that we are finite, temporal, and changeable. Therefore we can’t comprehend, beyond what God tells us in his word, about things infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. We dare not imagine what the union of a nature like ours with one so unlike ours must be like, or not be like.
We need to guard against two errors that give us a false Savior:
1. Some have imagined that Christ’s Divine and Human natures blended together. If the human nature of Jesus is deified in any way he no longer has a true human nature. Only as part of the race of Adam, can he stand in our place representing us to take up our sin and guilt. If the divine nature of Jesus is diminished by its union with the human, he’s no longer the true God. Only as the infinite, eternal, and unchangeable God, could he satisfy the demands of his Covenant broken in Eden, and pay for the immense penalty all his people deserve. Long ago the Eutychians made this mistake of blending the two natures of Christ. This error was shown to be unbiblical by the Council of Chalcedon in 451.
2. We must not so divide the two natures as if Jesus was two distinct persons. If he was so divided, then what one person was and did is disconnected from what the other person was and did. Long ago the Nestorians divided Jesus Christ into two persons. This was condemned as unbiblical in 431 by the Council of Ephesus.
How amazing! The eternal God took on human flesh to redeem lost people! This most amazing Redeemer isn’t just an important historic figure, teacher, martyr, or mystical being.
He became one of us, a real human born as we’re born, growing up in this world just like us. He suffered the effects of this world of evil as we do, but he never sinned. He died innocently to take our place and infuse life into us. He’s our good shepherd and we are the sheep he lovingly cares for. We are joint-heirs with him of the riches of eternal life. He calls us his beloved bride and friend. He calls the true church the body of Christ. We are his family.
We can know him personally! We can talk with him intimately every day! at any moment! We can count on his love and power through whatever comes our way!
He isn’t just a great celebrity or historical figure we get to meet. He’s the very one who made all things and who upholds all things by his limitless and unceasing power. Yet he makes us his close and intimate friends.
Do we realize how rich this makes us who by grace come to know him? In closing remember what the Apostle Paul said about this one we can know personally …
Romans 9:22-23, “What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory”
Romans 10:12, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.”
Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!”
Ephesians 1:7-8, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight”
Ephesians 1:18, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,”
Ephesians 2:7, “so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Ephesians 3:8, “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,”
Ephesians 3:16, “that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,”
Philippians 4:19, “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
Colossians 1:27, “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
1 Timothy 6:17, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.”
Are we impressed? We don’t just have a rich or famous uncle or friend. As truly born again Christians we have a personal relationship with the one in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily!And he calls us to intimacy with him — to know him personally — to be rich in him forever! We should keep this promise in mind all through every day and be constantly thankful.
Note: Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.