For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
As we begin with today’s text I want to ask you to stop and slowly say aloud the twelve words that comprise Colossians 1:19.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.
If you are listening, press pause and say those words aloud and slowly.
It’s one of the recurring themes on the Daily Text, but Paul wants us to be clear: yes, Jesus is God, but even mores, God is Jesus!
Does it strike you as a bit of a redundancy to say, “all his fullness”? Does not the word “fullness” imply “all”? What’s going on here? The Greek word is pronounced “play-ro-mah.” It means something like perfect completion on the one hand, and on the other, superabundance. It carries both the ideas of quality of fullness and quantity of fullness. Every bit of the God of the universe, both in terms of the qualities of God and the sheer quantity of God, lives in Jesus Christ. Paul wants us to grasp the ungraspable. It’s like he’s saying, “extra-complete.” Because it would seem impossible for God to be contained in a human being, Paul is inspired to make the point even stronger.
In Jesus, we see just what kind of human being God actually is. Wow! That is a stretcher of a sentence right there. God is a human being. We don’t struggle so much with God as a divine being, but when it comes down to it, we struggle with God as a human being. Something deep in all of us wants to escape being human. We want to be superhuman (hence our fascination with superheroes). What we want, though we wouldn’t admit it, is to be gods. We want to be in control, to be the masters of our own destiny and the destiny of others. We don’t want to be more and greater and better; we want to be the most and the greatest and the best. We want to be sovereign.
As a point of theology, herein lies the problem of seeing God primarily through a lens of sovereignty. In our brokenness and depravity, we do not understand sovereignty. We see it as power and control. We must see sovereignty as God sees sovereignty, which is not the power of control but the power of love. It is also true to say in our brokenness and depravity we do not understand love. This is why we must see Jesus. We see God’s sovereignty perfectly and completely when we see Jesus, because in Jesus we see the nature of true sovereignty as holy love. Jesus reveals to us and would restore in us the sovereignty we were meant to have as human beings, which is of the same nature as the sovereignty of God—not the power of dictatorial control but the power of divine, holy love. Verse 20 gives us the nature of God’s sovereignty.
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
God comes to us, who, in our sin, grasped to take his place. Instead God, who knew no sin, became sin and took our place. As we forsook ourselves in order to become like God, God forsook himself to become like us. In fact, Tertullian, one of the great fathers of the church, said it something like this: “God became like us, so we could become like him.”
For you see, if all the fullness of God dwells in Jesus Christ, this necessarily opens up the possibility that all the fullness of God can dwell in you and in me—more precisely, in us. This is the awakening we must have. We must abandon our slavish quest for godlike control and accept our gifted destiny as the recipients of God-like fullness.
If you don’t believe me, stay tuned. And probably a good idea to buckle your seat belts if you haven’t already.
That’s Domino #1/19: Human-God.
Abba Father, we thank you for your Son, Jesus, in whom all of your fullness dwells. We thank you that Jesus is fully and completely God, that God is Jesus. And we thank you that Jesus is fully and completely human, that God is human. Come, Holy Spirit, and cause us to grapple deeply with these eternal and yet earthly verities. We confess we cannot grasp it. Open the eyes of our hearts. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Do you really believe that God is a human being? How do you struggle with this?
- Do you believe that as Jesus is, so we are meant to become? Again, where do you struggle with this?
- Talk about your own battle between the quest for godlike sovereignty and the aspiration for God-like love.
For the Awakening,