“For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell.”
From seven strokes of an exalted lyric about the person of Christ (1:15-18), the Holy Spirit moves to a discussion about the work of Christ (1:19-2:3). The treatment of his work parallels the handling of his person.
“For it pleased the Father“
Whenever we read in the Bible that something pleases God, we ought to take note of it and do it. We want to bask in the sunshine of his smile. Our wellbeing depends on whether God is pleased with our lives. The word “for” introduces a reason why the Son is “preeminent” (v.18). The Son of God is supreme by distinction of his work of “reconciliation.”
God freely resolved that it is a good thing that all God’s fullness dwells in Christ’s work of reconciliation (v.20). What gives pleasure to God? Is it our righteousness and goodness? No, his pleasure is found in his Son. God is pleased with us because of his Son. Our orientation to life depends upon God’s pleasure with his Son.
“that in Him all the fullness should dwell”
First, God’s pleasure is in the work of Christ. God is pleased that “all the fullness” of God resides in Christ’s work of reconciliation (v.20). A keyword to the argument of the book of Colossians is the word “fullness.” (The verb “fullness” is used in 1:9, 25; 2:10; and 4:17). “Fullness” was a word used by the Gnostics who infiltrated the Lychus Valley, where the city of Colossians lay. “Fullness” was their word for heaven.
The Holy Spirit here hits the Colossians with a principle. Jesus Christ is the true fullness. He is not heaven itself; he is more than that. He is fullness for the believer’s life. Jesus Christ is substance, not shadow; fullness, not foretaste. He is the fullness of God’s saving plan.
The keyword in Colossians is the world “all.” This is an all-inclusive word. When combined with “fullness,” which is another comprehensive word, we have a compelling statement about Christ. The half has never been told about Christ. It is not enough that the Lord Jesus Christ be eminent; he must be pre-eminent. This is a message we need in this generation if Christians are going to live the quality of life God gives.
The word “dwell” means to reside permanently in a place. It was used in the sense of the permanent residence of a town or village. “All the fullness” of God’s work settles in Christ permanently. All saving power dwells in him (Acts 5:31; 17:31).
The effects of the “fullness” are available to the believer. There is no reason why a believer should not orient to any circumstance of life. Circumstances will ebb and flow in the life of a Christian. At times we may have a measure of success; at other times, we may fail. Under these varying circumstances of life, we draw upon the fullness of Christ. Our orientation to life does not depend upon the usual status symbols. Our joy depends upon the work of Jesus Christ.
Positionally, we can draw upon the fullness of Christ. Experientially, it depends upon our application of the principle to life. Regardless of whatever may happen to us, God has provided a person who will meet us in our need. The circumstances of life will not be easy. Life will not go on in bliss. On a date, a girl says, “I wish this moment could go on forever.” But this life does not sustain uninterrupted happiness. Life never remains the same. All of us, before we depart from this life, will have our share of pain and pleasure. However, our lives are not dependent upon the flow of life; they depend upon Jesus Christ. This frees us from the chains of life.
The person and work of Christ are preeminent in every aspect of our lives.
This is a message that broken-hearted parents need. “Whatever happened? Where did I make a mistake? We took them to church, but our children no longer walk with the Lord. They are no longer interested in the Word.” This is a bitterness parents face. It is good to know that Christ is in control. He will do for the parent what the parent cannot do for himself.
In us, there is an absence of power and other qualities. In the flesh, there “dwells no good thing.” The human nature is a desert, empty and a waste, inhabited by the dragon of sin. God never asks us to make up the difference between himself and us. All is laid upon Christ. He makes up all that God requires of man.