The Christian faith is quite simple. For many Christians, it seems too simple to sum up our faith by saying, “It is all in Christ.” Therefore, we often will seek and strive to make it more complex. As Christians, we must stand guard against the tendency to undo, nullify, or eclipse the simplicity of our faith.
Paul warns the Colossian church along these lines. False teachers were complicating the faith with what he calls “empty deceit” (Col. 2:8). They advocated adherence to Old Testament ceremonial laws—circumcision, dietary laws, and more—for a truer and higher spirituality in Christ. But Paul reminds the Colossians that they have fellowship with Christ, which means they have already received fullness in Christ. If there were a recipe for Christian salvation, it would read, “No other ingredients needed but Christ.” We have Christ—the very substance.
These additions are, as Paul says in verse 8, “not according to Christ.” These other voices are just that—other voices. They possess no authority in the Christian’s life.
Paul’s words recall John 10—that wonderful chapter in which Jesus presents Himself as the Good Shepherd and us as His sheep. He says the sheep hear His voice and follow Him. In fact, the sheep will not listen to any other voice—the voice of a stranger—that would seek to carry them off. Other voices that do not represent Christ have no authority over us. Our fellowship is with Christ, and He is our Shepherd who teaches and leads us. We dare not wander from His truth—from His Word.
If we wander from the truth of Christ, we wander from Christ. If we think there is something else that is needed for our salvation, for our life of faith, apart from Christ, then we deny Christ. Because fellowship with Christ means that we have fullness in Christ.
Here is the great error of seeking to make our faith more complex than Christ: if we seek something more, something in addition to Him, then we accuse Christ of being insufficient.
Paul reminds us in Colossians 2:9, “[In Christ] the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” Fellowship with Christ means we have fullness in Christ. Christ is the full and final revelation of God. Nothing is lacking. All that is true of the divine nature belongs to Christ. He is fully God—all the fullness is in Him.
Think about what that means. It means that the Son of God has no beginning; He is infinite and eternal. It means the majesty of the One upon whom not even angels dare to look and before whom they are forced to cover their faces. It means power to form and craft entire galaxies out of nothing and to uphold the universe. It means knowledge that surpasses all the books in the history of mankind. All that is true of the divine nature of God is true of the divine nature of Christ.
And all that was true of Christ with respect to His deity—the Son of God, before time began—remains true of Him in His incarnation. What was true of Him before a sun existed to shine rays of light, before a sea ever swelled with waves, or before a sound of a bird was heard, remains true of Him in His incarnation. The whole fullness of deity dwells bodily in Him. And even now this is true of Him. The infinite, eternal Son of God became truly man in the incarnation of Christ Jesus. Without surrendering any of His deity, the Son of God joined to Himself a nature like ours, albeit without sin.
And here is Paul’s point: Christ’s fullness is given to us. Fellowship with Christ means fullness in Christ. The Christian, by Christ’s Spirit, is united to Christ in fellowship, and in Him we have everything. We are filled. We lack nothing. We have it all in Christ because Christ has all and we are united to Him by faith alone. Let no one lead you away from the profound dynamic simplicity of our faith—a faith summed up and rooted in Christ.
Editor’s Note: This post was first published on March 19, 2018.