The Deity Of Jesus

Colossians 2:6-10

 

Differences in Christianity today has to do with all  the diverse doctrines regarding Christ. And all the differences among Christian churches and theologians, are in the last analysis….differences concerning Christ, Who He is and what that means.

 

In the opening verses leading of our text Paul issues a warning Colossians 2:8

8Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ:

 

This is an alert, “a be on guard warning”. Christians can be cheated out of their inheritance in Christ  eternal life. From the dawn of human history, man has sought answer for the meaning of his own existence and an explanation for the universe. 

 

The questions: “Who am I, why am I here, and where am I going”? are universal, philosophy offers many answers. The city of Colossæ was known for its philosophers. The church was in danger of being lead into error, regarding the   very Person of Christ Himself.

 

Paul does not specifically name the false philosophy  he alludes to in verse 8, but it contains elements of the early Gnosticism that threatened the church. They claimed superior knowledge above other, and attacked the nature and person of Christ. They taught that Jesus was a man, at baptism received the Spirit and was divine.  But in suffering the Spirit left, Jesus died but Christ did not.

 

The apostle John issued this warning to the early church:

1Beloved, believe not every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 2Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3and every spirit that confesseth not Jesus is not of God: 1 John 4:1-3

 

Paul expresses his Christology belief about Christ throughout Colossians letter. All that Paul wrote, all that he believed concerning Jesus Christ, and all which he did in the name of Jesus Christ, finds here in this marvelous book. The Colossians letter is the crowning one of his system regarding  the glories of Christ are concerned. It is co-related to the Ephesians letter, in which he shows the Church in all its ultimate beauty.  But here, he is dealing with the glorious Christ.

 

In our text we have some of the profoundest things e wrote.   Gathering up into one brief statement all his convictions concerning Christ.

9for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Col. 2:9

 

This short epistle  reveals Paul’s concept of Christ, Who He Is and  His relationship to the church. Notice Colossians 2:10

10and in him ye are made full or complete, who is the head of all principality and power: 

Paul identifies two sources of false teaching in our text: First, the “Human Tradition”  By this, the Jewish teachers had mutilated the Word of God,  Christ had charged them:  Matthew 15:3

3Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? …… 6And ye have made void the word of God because of your tradition.

 

And secondly,  “Philosophies of men ” no doubt the Gnostics in mind here.  Paul’s conclusion is: “you are complete in Christ” Why turn away from the complete and mature, to the vain emptiness of these false teachings?

8Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

 

At this time, I would like for us to make an examination of Col. 2:9,  where Paul defends against the false doctrines of Gnosticism,  notice what he says: “9for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Col. 2:9

 

Notice the Person, Of whom Paul is speaking. He is not speaking of some phantom as the Gnostics taught. He is obviously speaking of the Person he refers to in the opening of the letter:  Col. 1:1 “1Paul and apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God…”

 

I go back to the early history of Paul, and I find it characterized by his opposition to One of Whom he spoke of as "Jesus of Nazareth".  Upon two occasions he so describes Him so.  Once in Acts 26:9 where he states in his defense before King Agrippa  that  9I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.”  And again when Paul  appeared before the Jewish mob Acts 22:6-8. There relating his conversion to Christ. He states that as he journeyed toward Damascus to bound and deliver to be punished all who called upon that Name.  

6And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and drew nigh unto Damascus, about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. 7And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 8And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

 

 So in the earlier years of Paul, he knew of One spoken of among men as Jesus of Nazareth.   But there had come into this man’s life a great change.

 

How had that change come about? Well according to Paul’s personal testimony the change came at  the vision of this same Jesus and the sound of His voice. Paul would later receive visions and revelations abundantly.

 

All of Paul's life and ministry after Damascus resulted from a change in his view of Christ. His life had been one of  opposition to the Man Jesus, Who taught a new way, a Man had been put to death, Whom his ignorant followers imagined to be alive again.

 

But now the new concept that captured Paul’s heart, compelled his will, becoming the driving force in his life? Is seen in   Col. 2:9 “9for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”.

 

Yielding himself to Christ  was not  a disciple surrendering to a human teacher,  it was the surrender of a man to his God.  He had discovered in this Person all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And when that discovery was made, he saw the folly of his way and ceased  with abruptness.  From his vocabulary he dropped the expression "Jesus of Nazareth", and ever spoke of Him" Lord Jesus Christ".

 

Let us study this verse for a few moments “9for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”  And I begin with the term "Godhead" 

 

It appears in KJV some three times, Acts 17:29, Romans 1;20 and here Colossians 2:9. But it  translates three different Greek words.  The Greek word used in Acts 17:29 is [qei`o"] adj, neut. whose principle meaning is “divinity” The NIV exactly expresses the idea of the Greek in Acts 17:29

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by man’s design and skill.

 

The word of Romans 1:20 is [qeiovth"] the noun form of the same word used in Acts 17:29 The NIV-NASV-and others correctly reads this way:

20 Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse;

 

But the word of Colossians 2:9 is  [qeovth"] This Greek word is not found elsewhere in the New Testament. These three Greek words differ in etymology and in their use. The difference is fairly accurately described in our own language by the difference between  the words  "Divinity, and Deity."   

 

What then is the difference between the two? The word found in Colossians 2:9 suggests absolute Godhead (Deity) rather than the manifestations of the attributes of Godhead (Divinity). You find Divinity in every man, but you do not find Deity in any man, save The Christ. 

 

Now mark what the apostle says here as to his conception of this Man of Nazareth.  He says:  "In Him dwelleth "not Deity merely, but "all the fullness of Deity."   You can find Divinity in Nature. There is not a blade of grass, or flower that blossoms, that has not something of Divinity in it.  (Psalms 19:1-2) But, Deity resides in God alone. “9for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”.

 

And that brings us to our next word "fullness"  This word "fullness" means the totality the "pleroma". The Colossian letter, deals with the Gnostic heresy, and one of  their favorite words was pleroma, fullness. They were continually teaching the fullness of Deity had its manifestations in hundreds of ways. 

 

Paul takes their very word, and claims that the pleroma dwells in Him.  He had seen the Man , heard His voice, It was the same Man of Nazareth. Paul had through ignorance, imagined Jesus to be a mere man, but now he knows, “for in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily”

 

In the previous chapter, Paul tells us of several facts concerning  this Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:12-18 Read this marvelous passage with me….

12giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. 15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence”.

 

So he mentions His relationship to Deity, To the Father His is the "image of the invisible God".  Which does not mean, something like God, but the shining forth of  the actual and essential God, The only difference between Jesus and Deity was that Deity  is invisible, and He was manifested visibly.

 

He tells us next the relation of this Person to creation,  "In Him all things consist,"  hold together.  This is a strong word in the Greek "sunsthmi" It stands and is held together. Jesus of Nazareth holds all created things together. He had found the Deity, Who spoke and it was done, and by Whose Almighty Power the whole process of creation was held together or consistent.    We read in John 1:1-3 14

n the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2The same was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made….. (and lest someone might not know of whom he writes, John tells us plainly in verse 14 “4And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.”

 

Finally, he declares the relation of this Person to the Church.  

 Colossians 1:18-

18And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

 

Now mark the final two words of our text: "Dwelleth bodily"

9In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily

 

Notice carefully the present tense of the verb, ”Dwelleth bodily” that perpetual present tense, meaning continuous action,  not just during the incarnation, but ever.  God came no nearer to humanity by way of incarnation, but God did come into the consciousness of a blind humanity by incarnation

 

What has been the results of the presence of this Person in the world? As result of the incarnation, God Who is Spirit, Invisible is revealed. Jesus the Man who tabernacled with men in the flesh is  the Image of the invisible God,

 

 Jesus came to reveal the Father to mankind.  He taught us : John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship in spirit and truth  Man who is flesh cannot see the invisible God. Jesus came to reveal Him to us.

8Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and dost thou not know me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father;   John 14;8-9

 

Look at Christ and see the invisible God. He is holy, loving, self-sacrificing, but these concepts had never been really understood before Christ dwelt among men. So  the world has a new conception of the true and living God.

 

Finally by way of application.  What effect should this doctrine have upon me personally?  Here is the purpose and main argument of the letter.  Not only did it please the Father that all fullness dwell in Him, but notice the words of Col. 1:12-14

“12Giving thanks  unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: 14In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

 

Are we thankful for our inheritance of the saints in light? We ought to be. We have been delivered out of Satan's kingdom of darkness, and translated into Christ's kingdom of light.

 

Look at Christ and see the invisible God. He is holy, loving, self-sacrificing, but these concepts had never been really understood before Christ dwelt among men. So  the world has a new conception of the true and living God.

 

This is done in us, as we complied with the conditions of Colossians 2:12-14         hear it!

12Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of god, who hat raise him from the dead,13And you being dead in you sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him ,having forgiven you all trespasses;  14Bloting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross.

 

 If you need help in your studies, and examination of how to become a Christian, please contact:

Ron Cope Minister churches of Christ

email:  RonCope@chestnutmtchurchofchrist.com

phone:  (678)617-9658