Complete in Christ
I was listening to a teaching that was supposed to be based on the grace of God and his unconditional love. For the most part it was then they were asked if they believed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. They tip toed around the subject and then used this scripture to say they were complete in Jesus. How sad that they had such revelation in so many ways but for whatever reason they deny the separate reality of the gift of the Holy Spirit through receiving his baptism. In context this scripture states:
Colossians 2:1-6 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5 For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ. 6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
This is the key to this whole chapter right here in verse 6 in that you received Christ Jesus as your Lord not by any acts of works righteousness but purely by faith in his finished works. Therefore just as you received Jesus continue in him. You cannot add anything to this completed action of salvation nor can you take away anything once you received.
7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8 Beware 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. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
See Paul was speaking to the Colossian church about people coming in and adding works righteousness, obedience to the Mosaic Law, or any other belief as part of their salvation which is something that is not to be done in the least bit. He was warning them and stated that as far as their salvation was concerned they were complete in Christ Jesus and did not need to do anything to add or sustain that, it is a finished work. Then for the next several verses Paul clarifies what was being presented to these individuals and not to let it influence their walk with God.
Colossians 2:11-23 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; 14 Blotting 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; 15 And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. 18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.
All of these things that Paul listed here were based on rules and regulations of what one needed to do to be righteous before God and maintain that righteousness. There are two issues with that. The first and least is that it is impossible to maintain a self-righteous relationship with God. I can’t imagine anyone going a couple of hours without violating some sort of ordinance let alone a life time. The other though and most important is why would you even want to when God through Jesus has freely given you all things in Jesus for salvation. Remember salvation is not just getting your ticket punched so you can go to heaven, but it is the opportunity from the very moment of beliving on Jesus to live the quality of life that God has desired for all of humanity to live. Free from lack in any way, shape or form. No sickness and disease or poverty, great joy and peace among other qualities of life are supposed to be the part of every believer’s life.
Think about it this way there are some who may go through personal persecution as a believer just out of their own will power, but back in the early Roman days of Christianity, Christians were getting slaughtered left and right for not renouncing their faith. There had to be a real manifestation, an experience, in the life of the believers for so many to endure so much. Just look at societies today in that there are many countries where people endure oppression to decrease persecution in their lives as a body, instead of standing up against the wrongs. The believers in these days though endured persecution rather than give into the oppression of Roman rule or any other for that matter. Folks by nature tend to take the easiest way out, the path of least resistance and they may get behind an idea in larger masses but as soon as the persecution starts they usually give way to their hopes and allow the oppression to take over. It takes something experiential to change ones whole belief system to the core, to fight for that belief even at the cost of their lives and especially when you are talking about a large body of people.
Too many times, and for way too many Christians as a whole, people have accepted Jesus as a philosophy instead of as a savior. Believing to some degree in the finished works of Jesus, but not coming to full terms in their everyday life experience just what Jesus has given us. We place God in a box, so we think, and bring him out when it is convenient but we very seldom experience the moment by moment, day by day, quality of life that results from true fellowship with our Father which he desires for us to walk in. I very deeply believe in experiences because you form your beliefs in life very easily and quickly based on them. Not every experience is from God I know, but it is his desire that our experiences line up with his Word, and that we just do not know the Word only as an intellectual stimulus but we live the Word.