Tuesday, 18 April 2017
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; Colossians 2:9
There is an intentional emphasis of the words in Greek which are intended to destroy the claims of heretics concerning who Jesus Christ is, in both role and nature. These emphatic words include, “all the fullness of the Godhead,” then the word “dwells,” and also the word “bodily.” All are emphatic. Each is targeted against some heretical idea concerning Christ.
The words, “For in Him,” are speaking of Christ who was noted in the preceding verse. Paul then uses the word, “dwells.” It is a word which indicates to “reside,” or “to settle down as a permanent resident.” In Christ is this type of permanent dwelling where there is “all the fullness.” This term recalls his earlier words in verse 1:19. There can be only one sound and reasonable explanation for the statement. He is the dwelling place of what will next be named, which is “the Godhead.” The word for “Godhead,” theotés, is found nowhere else in Scripture, but it signifies “God’s essential (personal) deity, as belonging to Christ” (HELPS Word Studies).
From this, Paul adds on his final emphatic word, “bodily.” The word is sómatikós, and it is also found nowhere else in Scripture. It is an adverb referring to the complete embodiment of the fullness of God. This then is contrasted to any supposed distribution of the Godhead through any other intermediaries. In other words, it is an argument against any heresy that Jesus Christ is anything other than fully God, and the dwelling place of the Godhead.
The word for “dwells” is in the present tense, and therefore, it is denoting “an eternal and essential characteristic of Christ’s being” (Vincent’s Word Studies). From all ages, and unto all ages, Christ is the place where God dwells. As Christ took on human form, this means that the fullness of God chose to take up residence in this human form from that time on. The Person of Christ is the place from which all the fullness of the Godhead issues forth from. This is now eternally so.
What Paul is doing is refuting heretics on the left and on the right. Those who deny His deity are proven false. Those who deny His humanity are also proven false. He is the God/Man; He is the place where all the fullness of the Godhead dwells; and His body is a real, material body. To believe anything else is to believe the lies of the devil. It is something warned against by John with the words –
“Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” 1 John 2:22, 23
Life application: To err in believing the truth of what the Bible teaches about Jesus is an error which has eternal consequences. The words of Scripture concerning both the deity and the humanity of Jesus Christ are clear and precise. To twist them away from either precept is to mock God who has given us this word for us to accept. Don’t be a denier, put away your biases and presuppositions, and bow your knee to Jesus Christ now, while you have the chance.
Heavenly Father, Your word says that in Jesus Christ all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily. It also says that whoever denies the Son does not have the Father. You have chosen to reveal Yourself through our Lord Jesus. Give us wisdom to look to the words of Scripture, and to understand that what You have done through Jesus is for the sake of all people, if we will but believe. Thank You for what You have revealed of Yourself in this most magnificent of ways. Thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.