For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
Ships have been wrecked by mistaking one light for another. Men in life's voyage often make the same terrible blunder. Signals of danger, however, are set up by God to save us from so tragic an end. False teachers were proclaiming fantastic doctrines, but of such death-luring lights the apostle bids the Colossians beware. We need the same warning. Error confronts us in magazines, newspapers, and pulpits. Paul would have us know that all doctrine is false which does not radiate from Christ. Note —
I. MAN'S CONDITION IS A NECESSITOUS ONE.
1. He has Divinely implanted longings for whose satisfaction he has to go out of himself. He has(1) Social cravings. He was not designed for loneliness but for companionship.
(2) Mental cravings, which sometimes show themselves in the form of curiosity; but the more cultured a man becomes, his mental longings assume a higher form. The journeys taken, libraries collected, the efforts made to ransack past and present witness to these.
(3) Moral and spiritual cravings. What efforts he has made to know God and be at peace with Him.
2. These longings distinguish man from the animal creation, and witness to the grandeur of His soul.
3. Their existence implies that there is somewhere that by which they may be satisfied.
II. Man's necessitous condition is COMPLETELY MET BY THE DIVINE FULNESS. This fulness is —
1. The plenitude of the Godhead. Who can describe this? It is a fathomless ocean and a limitless sky. All we can say is that it is a fulness out of which all our need may be supplied. But we may know of boundless wealth, and yet remain destitute because not able or permitted to approach it. Is this so here? No. As the beams flow from the sun's fulness within the reach and for the use of every tree and hedgerow, so the Divine fulness has come down to us all,
2. In the person of Christ, not typically but really.
(1) He meets our social cravings. He has become one with us in sharing our common life, with its sorrows and joys. No one need now be lonely, since here is One who has everything for which we yearn.
(2) He meets our mental cravings. He is the Truth, the Light of the world, the Wisdom of God.
(3) He meets our moral cravings in His revelation of the Father, and in His atonement for sin. Why, then, go to philosophy or sacraments which can only disappoint.
3. Present and unchanging. The Colossian heretics held a temporary fulness; Paul affirms the Divine fulness "dwells" in Him now and for ever. Earthly things filter away with pitiless haste, but He is "the same to-day," etc. Then while we should avoid going elsewhere we should flee to Him at once. His willingness is equal to His ability to distribute.
(E. H. Palmer.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.