Grace Family Bible Church

Complete in Him

By: Scott Morton


Colossians 2:10

And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:


As we continue in the study of the book of Colossians we see the Apostle Paul is speaking about the relationship we are the members of the Body of Christ have with the Lord Jesus Christ. He had finished speaking about the relationship of the Godhead and now directs it back to who we are.


This gets into the major discussion of what we were prior to putting our trust in the gospel message for today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) and what changed with us the moment we did so. The Apostle Paul lays out some major things for us to understand related to this. Even if we don't understand them, they are still true, which is a glorious thing.


Paul starts with what we were in time past (Prior to salvation):


Ephesians 2:2

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:


The only thing which was able to be said of us prior to salvation is that we walked according to the path laid down by the prince of the power of the air (Satan). There was nothing which could have been done which would have been pleasing to God. No matter how good something might appear, if the person does not have salvation it is according to what Satan would have done. This is because the 'good things' are actually only glorifying the person and not glorifying God.


It is difficult to realize this at times, as people want to say they are doing things to glorify God. The only things which actually do glorify God start with the cross. This is why the Apostle Paul states this was a starting point for him in this (Galatians 6:14).


Romans 6:17

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.


As Paul speaks about the issue of the sanctification of the believer he speaks about how individuals were the servants of sin. This was prior to them believing the doctrine, which comes from the Word of God rightly divided. This is the only thing which can produce faith in an individual and actually create the change which is being spoken of.


Paul states we are complete in the Lord Jesus Christ. This might seem strange, as this is something most people would not think of saying we are. This comes from the positional aspect of who we are. The things which are outside of what God is doing can only be described as sin, which is where man was prior to salvation. From the perspective of God this changes the moment we believe the gospel. Even though we can't see or feel a difference, there is one which has occurred.


One of the first things we can see is we have been declared righteous in the eyes of God:


2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. [17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [18] And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; [19] To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [20] Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. [21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.


Colossians 1:9-14

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; [10] That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; [11] Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; [12] Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: [13] Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: [14] In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:


These two passages show how there is a major change in things. We are seen as being righteous because of what He did. This is what gives us the ability to have a relationship with God, as we could not have it on our own. This is why it is called redemption, as the price has been paid and we are able to have this relationship. The cross took care of everything which separated us from God, including the fact that the law does not apply to us (Galatians 3:13). We can have a true relationship with God and nothing is able to take this away (Ephesians 1:13-14).


Ephesians 1:5

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,


Paul speaks about the fact that we have been adopted. This is part of the relationship we have with God. We have a relationship with Him where he is our Father and we are able to learn everything He has for us. Paul brings up this issue of adoption several times, as this is needed in order for us to be able to receive the rewards promised to us. Even if we don't fully understand what this means the Bible states this is a reality for every member of the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 1:6

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.


This is a big deal for the Gentiles. In this same epistle Paul states the condition of the Gentiles in the eyes of God in Time Past (Ephesians 2:11-12). In this passage it is very clear that the Gentiles were not seen as being accepted in the eyes of God. There was a division between Israel and all of the other nations. The only way someone could have any level of acceptance with God at that time was to join themselves to Israel and their program.


Now there is an acceptance we have. This acceptance has nothing to do with who we are and what we have done. This acceptance has everything to do with the Lord Jesus Christ and how He is in us. This is who God the Father sees and why we can be seen this way. It is His righteousness which allows for this to be said of us.

Ephesians 1:7

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;


Just as we have been accepted because of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins. The issue of forgiveness is something which causes a lot of confusion for people. Many people still think sin is an issue to where they could do something which would separate them from God. If all of the things which we have already seen are true of us, because of the Lord Jesus Christ and us being complete in Him, how could we ever be separated?


The issue of this sin is the transgression of the law. Because the law was nailed to the cross with the Lord Jesus Christ and has been removed from having any impact on our lives, there is no way we could actually commit this sin. This is why we have redemption.


In order to have a relationship with God, the issue of sin (transgression of the law) had to be completely dealt with. God cannot have a relationship with this sin because it is completely contrary to who He is. This is the sin which leads to the second death.


It is important to note that there is another sin which Paul does speak about. This is defined as whatsoever is not of faith (Romans 14:23). The things which are of faith are the things of the Word of God. Paul is telling us that we need to follow the things of the Word of God, which implies the issue of rightly dividing the Word (2 Timothy 2:15). We are pleasing to God when we follow the doctrine which was given to us by Paul.


When we are not following this doctrine we do commit this sin. This sin does not create a separation from God. The issue with the sin that is not of faith is it creates wood, hay, and stubble that will be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ (! Corinthians 3:10-15). These are the things which impact the reward which we should receive and this causes us to not receive the position which should have been ours.


Ephesians 1:11

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:


As Paul continues listing these things to the assembly in Ephesus, we see how the inheritance is mentioned. While this does start with the fact we will be in the heavenly placed with Him for all of eternity, it also brings up the reward aspect, tying the whole package together.


Individuals might be thinking how all of this could be possible for us, knowing the condition man is in. Man was separated from God and the Gentiles did not have any relationship with God prior to the current dispensation. When God raised up the Apostle Paul it was explained to him how this is all possible. We see in the doctrine which was given to us (Romans through Philemon). It is in these books where the change in program has been identified and the reasoning for the change in how man is viewed is stated. Paul tells us, the members of the Body of Christ, why we can be seen in this manner:


Romans 6:3-6

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? [4] Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. [5] For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: [6] Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.


From this passage we can see how it is God sees us. He does not see us in all of our mistakes. He sees the Lord Jesus Christ in us, as we have been identified with His death, burial, and resurrection. This is why we can have a relationship with God. This is truly how we are identified and why there are so many passages which speak of the new identity which we have.


1 Corinthians 12:12-13

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. [13] For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.


This is the one of the things which happens to us the moment we put our trust in the gospel message for today. We experience this baptism, which we don't know has happened without the Word of God telling us it has. The spiritual blessings which we receive at salvation are truly amazing and happen even if we don't understand what has been done on our behalf. This is part of how we can be seen as being complete.


In God's eyes we are no longer what we were. The Bible speaks about the condition man was in:


Ephesians 2:2

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:


Romans 6:17

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.


These two verses show what we once were and did. We were walking according to the course Satan has laid out, which is contrary to the things of God. This course is what the world system is built upon and how unfortunately most of mankind is walking today. Individuals sometimes think they are doing good or doing the right things, but there is nothing good outside of God and what His Word says for us. Everything else is the course of the world.


Many times believers are pulled into the things of this world. This is where so many feel the battle is going to be fought. They start pushing for certain laws to be passed or start speaking out about different things which society has deemed to be acceptable. There is no change which can happen without individuals having received salvation and letting the Word have the impact on them.


This is why Paul had stated that we were the servants of sin. This is a condition which was true, but now no longer could be. God cannot have a relationship with sin, which is why it needed to be taken care of. This is why we needed to be made complete and have sin completely removed from who we are.


Paul speaks about the change and many of the things which are true of us because of the status we have:


Galatians 2:20-21

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.


Here we have the Apostle Paul telling us what is true about the life which we are living when we follow what the Word of God is telling us. It is no longer us who are the issue, as it is the Lord Jesus Christ living in us and through us. This is who God the Father sees and why it is that we can be seen as being complete, accepted and all of the other spiritual blessings which the Word of God identifies are true of us.


Romans 6:14

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.


This is something which no other writer in the Bible could actually say. The law was given to Israel as part of the covenants and was the standard which God was using to deal with the nation. This is why from Moses forward this is what is said, including during the time of the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew through John). He tells them they are going to need to keep the law for salvation and brings this up repeatedly with them.


The Apostle Paul makes it very clear for us that the law has no relationship with us. If the law was in place there would be no way which we could be seen as being complete in Him. We would have to be trying to keep a standard which nobody was able to do and all of our flaws would need to be dealt with. By identifying us in Christ we are able to be seen in a manner which is unique to this dispensation.


Romans 5:10

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.


Paul brings up a term here which has caused a lot of confusion in recent years. We have been reconciled to God by what the Lord Jesus Christ did on the cross. This means all of mankind has an opportunity to receive salvation, which is not something which part of the program of God before.


The Apostle Paul also brings up the issue of being reconciled, which means there is another part to this. While all have the opportunity individuals need to accept the gospel in order to be able to partake in the blessings which are offered to man. This is why Paul can speak about a victory which has been given unto us:


1 Corinthians 15:54-57

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.


We are able to state we have a victory because of what He did for us. It can be hard at times to grasp that there is a victory over the law, sin, and death which has been accomplished for us. This is because so many individuals want to try to earn this for themselves by their performance. The thought process which is taught by most of Christianity is that a person needs to do good things in order to either obtain or maintain salvation. There is not a focus on what He has already accomplished for us by the sacrifice on the cross.


A lot of this is due to not understanding who the Lord Jesus Christ actually is. They are looking at Him as the King who is going to be setting up a kingdom on the earth. While this is true related to Israel's program, this is not how the Body of Christ is supposed to be looking at Him. Our relationship with Him is that He is the Head over the Body. This is what the Apostle Paul teaches us in several different passages in his epistles:


Ephesians 4:15-16

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: [16] From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.


Here we have Paul explaining how the Body is fit together. He puts the Lord Jesus Christ in the position of being the Head, as this is the position He has. This is who we are practically attempting to grow into. This is the difference between positional sanctification and practical sanctification. We are complete (positionally) and are working towards being seen this way from the practical sense as we are growing in Him through the intake of the Word of God rightly divided.


Colossians 1:18

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.


We see Paul here identifying the Body as the church so there would be no confusion for individuals as they are looking at this. He has the preeminence and has given us all of the information which we need in order to live the life which God intends for us to live today. There should not be any confusion for us.


Ephesians 1:20-23

Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, [21] Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: [22] And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, [23] Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.


Here we have the Apostle Paul speaking about what is going to be accomplished in the heavenly places at the end of this dispensation. There are going to be rewards given to the members of the Body of Christ where we are going to be filling the positions which are given in this passage. This is what is going to bring about this fulness in the Lord Jesus Christ when we speak about the things in eternity.


This is a hard concept for many individuals. Further positions are also mentioned in Ephesians 6:12 and Colossians 1:16. This is what is what believers are going to receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ. It is why the Apostle Paul speaks about a reward in 1 Corinthians 3 and how an individual could lose this, but still have their salvation. The goal of the believer is to follow the path which has been laid down by the Head in order to attain the reward. It is also why Paul informs us He is above all principality and power, as these are the positions held by angels now and will be held by the Body of Christ in the future.


1 Corinthians 12:14-27

For the body is not one member, but many. [15] If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? [16] And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? [17] If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? [18] But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. [19] And if they were all one member, where were the body? [20] But now are they many members, yet but one body. [21] And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. [22] Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: [23] And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. [24] For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: [25] That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. [26] And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. [27] Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.


This passage seems to be having a greater importance over the last few years. Many in the Body of Christ have a quick response to trying to get rid of other members of the Body. Someone will start to teach one thing they disagree with and there will be an immediate response of 'mark and avoid' as they claim to be following Romans 16:17. The problem with this global statement, as they are telling others to do this, is that while the Bible teaches this, it also is teaching how serious of a matter this is. It should not be done by individuals without each person having had multiple conversations with the individual who is eventually being marked.


Why is this the case? The Apostle Paul speaks about how we are all members of the Body and how the Head (the Lord Jesus Christ) cannot say to the foot (the lowest member of the Body) 'I have no need of you.' If the Lord Jesus Christ is not going to be saying this, why do we think that we can? Are we better than the Lord Jesus Christ? No, we are not. All of the members of the Body are necessary in order for the Body to be complete. If someone is cut off by some arbitrary distinction, then the Body is no longer complete. We need to understand these distinctions. Too often individuals do not understand this and cause problems for themselves from the practical end during this dispensation. This will also eventually lead to an impact on the rewards we should have had at the Judgment Seat of Christ.


The reality of things is we have a guarantee of a victory over everything (1 Corinthians 15:57), even though it does not always feel like this is the case. This is why we are complete. There is a way which we are to live which would demonstrate the victory which we do have:


Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.


This verse almost seems like a bumper sticker cliché. This does not mean that a person is going to be able to do all sorts of miraculous things physically. Promises such as that were made to the nation of Israel who had the physical blessings as they were waiting for the kingdom to be established here on the earth.


As members of the Body of Christ, we have a heavenly hope and are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). Our ability to do all things results from these blessings and is what allows us to be able to handle the situations which come about in our daily lives. We are not to be brought down by them and allow this world to have a negative influence on who we are in Christ. This is something which the Apostle Paul knew the individuals in Philippi would understand, as he had been teaching things of this nature. The following verse shows what they already knew:


2 Corinthians 12:7-10

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.


Here we have the Apostle Paul speaking about the things which he was dealing with. While he prayed for this to be removed, this is not the answer which was given by God. The answer given is that the grace of God is sufficient. It is sufficient because the grace of God gives us the tools which we need to be able to get through these situations in our life. We are able to handle these things and not have to worry about being able to be brought down by them. It is the Word of God which works in us which causes this to happen.


2 Timothy 1:13-14

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [14] That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.


As the Apostle Paul wrote his final epistle, there are many warnings about staying true to the message which was given to Paul. He witnessed many individuals falling away from the truth which had been given to him. This is why he has to write about holding fast to the sound words. This means an individual needs to be able to have a grasp on them in a manner where this is what is the focus.


Even if someone has not done this, we see how the Apostle Paul speaks about the issue of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us. When someone does walk away from the truth, they still have their salvation and still have the Holy Ghost in them. This is where they are quenching the Spirit and frustrating the grace of God.


The issue that some would then ask is how this is all supposed to look like. If we are truly complete, what can we actually do? Paul gives us some information on this:


Philippians 4:5

Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.


Philippians 2:15

That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;


Ephesians 5:8

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:


1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. [22] Abstain from all appearance of evil.


Ephesians 4:25-29

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. [26] Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: [27] Neither give place to the devil. [28] Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. [29] Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.


These passages all deal with some of the practical things of the life of the believer. Paul deals with who we are and also how to live. These passages show there is an intention for us to demonstrate the completeness we have, which is going to be a daily struggle which we have. These passages show some very clear things and there are many more which could have been given in Paul's epistles. The reality is that we know this is what we are supposed to do and we will see more of this as we continue going through this epistle.