For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
I. THE IMPORT of the text.
1. All the fulness of the Godhead. The original signifies that by which a thing is filled, completed, or made perfect. "The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof," i.e., all it contains. So the text means all the natural and moral attributes, everything which renders the Divine nature complete. It cannot mean anything less, for if one perfection were taken away there would be something wanting to, and therefore destructive of the fulness of the Godhead.
2. All this fulness dwells in Christ. The word is not that used in John 1:14, to dwell in a tabernacle — a temporary residence, but one which signifies to live in a house, a permanent habitation. So then all the fulness of the Godhead dwells in Christ abidingly.
3. Bodily means real and substantial as against shadowy and figurative. The Mosaic law was a shadow, Christ was the body.
II. THIS IMPORT CORRESPONDS WITH OTHER SCRIPTURES.
1. We are taught in many places that the Father and the Spirit dwelt in Christ. Our Lord often declared that the Father dwelt in Him, and added "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." He is also represented as having the Spirit without measure. Now the whole Godhead is included in Father, Son, and Spirit. Wherever these dwell there is the Divine fulness. They dwell in Christ.
2. Christ is represented as possessing all the perfections of Deity — omnipotence in creation and Providence; omniscience in His knowledge of the Father, and of the heart of man; omnipresence in being with His disciples alway. In fact, He is all in all, and therefore has the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
III. INFERENCES. If all the fulness of the Godhead is in Christ, then —
1. In Him alone can God be found. Men have forsaken God; but they must find Him again or be lost for ever. It is His will that men should seek after Him if haply they may find Him. Now if we wish to find any one we must go to His residence. So since the whole Godhead resides in Jesus as in a permanent habitation, we must repair to Him to find God. "I am the Way, the Truth," etc. "No man knoweth the Father but the Son," etc. Men may seek Him in the works of creation, in providence, in His Word; but they will never find Him till they come to Christ, for even the Scriptures can only make us wise unto salvation through Him. But if we come to Him, God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness will give us the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
2. No man can obtain a portion of that fulness except by applying to Christ. Did all the light of the universe dwell in the sun; none could obtain light except from the sun. Were all the water that exists collected into one reservoir none could obtain water but by applying to that reservoir. Now, unless we obtain some of this fulness, we must pine in eternal want. The mercy which pardons sin, the light which illumines the mind, the grace which purifies the heart, the strength which resists and overcomes, the consolation which supports, bright hope and everlasting joy flow from this, and no man can partake of them without partaking of it. Infinitely better to be destitute of everything else than to want this. For it the Saviour invites us to apply to Him.
3. The necessity and worth of faith in Him. Look first at Him and see in Him an inexhaustible fulness of blessing; look next at mankind wanting everything and therefore wretched. Now what is wanted is a channel of communication through which this fulness may flow, so as to be filled with it. Such a channel is faith. Hence John says of believers, and of those only, "Of His fulness we have received."
(E. Payson, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.