15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 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. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Colossians 1:15-20).
Balancing the Song of Christ’s Humility from Philippians 2:5-11 is the Song of Christ’s Preeminence from Colossians 1:15-23. Philippians 2:5-11 primarily addresses the doctrine of Christ’s humanity. Colossians 1:15-20 primarily addresses the doctrine of Christ’s Deity. Not only is Jesus Christ completely human, He is also completely God. Both doctrines are biblical and must be held together.
To begin with, we have examined that Jesus is “the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation, that 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, Jesus is also before all things, and in him all things hold together. Additionally, He is the head of the body of Christ, which is the church along with being the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” Today, we examine Colossians 1:19 which says, “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.”
The phrase “for in Him” means that Jesus Christ is in union with something. That “something” is “all the fullness of God.” The word “all” (πᾶς; pas) means everything, the whole and the totality of any object. Jesus Christ is in complete and total union with the fullness of God.
The phrase “fullness of God” or literally “the fullness” (πλήρωμα; pleroma) means full measure and completeness. One can immediately see that the Apostle Paul is being emphatic in describing the deity of Jesus Christ in today’s text. He was saying that Jesus Christ is in complete and total union with the full measure and completeness of God.
Dr. John Walvoord explains that, “all the fullness,” means namely, of God, whatever divine excellence is in God the Father (Col 2:9; Ephesians 3:19; compare John 1:16; 3:34). The Gnostics used the term “fullness,” for the assemblage of emanations, or angelic powers, coming from God. The Spirit presciently by Paul warns the Church, that the true “fullness” dwells in Christ alone. This assigns the reason why Christ takes precedence of every creature (Colossians 1:15). For two reasons Christ is Lord of the Church: (1) Because the fullness of the divine attributes (Colossians 1:19) dwells in Him, and so He has the power to govern the universe; (2) Because (Colossians 1:20) what He has done for the Church gives Him the right to preside over it.”
It is the complete completeness or fullness that was please to dwell in Jesus Christ. The phrase “pleased to dwell” means that it was the best thing for the fullness of God to dwell (κατοικέω; katoikeo) or to live and reside in the person of Jesus.
Dr. Don Carson comments that, “Jesus Christ is ‘the place’ in whom God in all his fullness was pleased to take up residence. All God’s qualities and activities—his Spirit, word, wisdom and glory—are perfectly displayed in Christ. Further, this indwelling in Christ ‘in bodily form’ (cf. 2:9) is not temporary but permanent. Since Christ is the one mediator between God and the world of humanity and has brought the Colossian Christians into a relationship with his Father, they need not fear those supernatural powers under whose control human beings were supposed to live. Neither need we be afraid of the same or similar powers in the present day.”
Thank you Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.
Soli deo Gloria!