Followers of Christ have been set free from slavery to sin, the world, and the devil. However, it is entirely possible for them to again come under a yoke of slavery. The primary slavery Paul is referring to in this text is false doctrine (Col. 2:8).
Followers of Christ have been set free from slavery to sin, the world, and the devil. However, it is entirely possible for them to again come under a yoke of slavery. The primary slavery Paul is referring to in this text is false doctrine (Col. 2:8). The Colossian church was being attacked by a cult that had an especially dangerous form of false teaching that was enslaving the people. Last week, we began to consider how we could be protected from the spiritual slavery that many Christians commonly fall into. We considered the first step towards remaining free, and that is to understand the characteristics of secular wisdom (Col. 2:8). Paul pointed out some of the dangerous characteristics of philosophy or secular wisdom, namely that secular wisdom is deceptive; hollow; based on human traditions, legalism, and spiritualism.
The second step that we must take towards remaining free is to understand Christ’s deity (Col. 2:9-10). Paul makes the argument that Christ is enough and we do not need any extra revelation. The word “lives” has the meaning of, “to dwell as a permanent resident” or “to be at home with,” instead of dwelling as a visitor. “The present tense indicates that the essence of Deity continually abides at home in Christ.” This was important because the false teachers believed that there were many emanations coming from God and in them was the fullness of God. They claimed that Christ was not fully God but simply an emanation from him—a part of God’s fullness. Paul corrected this view by teaching that Christ is not a lesser God or an emanation from him.
He is fully God because the “fullness of God” dwelled in him. We can know if a spirit or a teaching is not from God based on orthodox Christology. What does this new teaching, belief, or denomination say about Christ? Does it believe that Christ was fully human? Does it believe that Christ was fully God? Any church or ministry that does not have an orthodox Christology is not of God. Third, the Church can remain free by understanding her sufficiency in Christ (Col. 2:10). By saying that we have received “fullness in Christ” Paul means that we have received all that we need. We are sufficient in Christ. God, in his divine power, has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of him. Christ, on the cross said, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
It has been paid in full. All we needed to do for salvation was repent and accept Christ. All we need is in Christ. If we do not know our sufficiency in Christ, we will seek our fullness in other things. It may be through false doctrine, drinking, drugs, video games, friendships, dating, etc. We may seek to find our fullness in things that are not necessarily sin, but they become sin when we try to make them our fullness—essentially making them idols. We can stay free because we have Christ. In Him, the fullness of God dwells and in us we have the fullness of Christ. We should be a content people who are not seeking after the trappings of the world because we are satisfied and sufficient in him. We should not be seeking after these new experiences the cults claim that we are missing, and we shouldn’t be running after the things the world says we’re missing either.
Why? Because we are full in Christ. If you are not experiencing the fullness of Christ, you will chase after other things and become enslaved by them. If we are going to be kept free from slavery we must have an orthodox doctrine: Christ is God. But, we also must know and be experiencing the fullness of Christ in us. If we are full in Christ, we do not need anything else.