Christ is All, He is Everything
Dr. Saju Joseph
In Colossians 3:11 Paul said, “Christ is all and in all.” Christ is everything. That is a monumental truth that affirms the utter sufficiency of Jesus Christ for every spiritual issue in the life of every believer. He is all that is necessary for salvation and spiritual life. But the church is not ready and willing to admit that. And that is simply because they have a shallow relationship with the living Christ and aren’t even aware of the resources that are available to Him.
Christ is the fullness of the grace and truth of God and of that fullness have all we received in Christ. John 7:37 reminds us that Jesus Christ is the spiritual water to quench fully every thirsty soul. John 15:5 tells us that apart from Jesus Christ we can do absolutely nothing and Philippians 4 on the other hand tells us that in Christ there’s nothing we can’t do. Romans 13:14 informs us that we are living triumphantly over sin and victoriously over temptation in this dark world is not coming from some complex difficult approach but rather simply means putting on the Lord Jesus Christ.
First Corinthians 1:24 says that Jesus Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. And verse 30 adds that He is to us righteousness and sanctification and redemption. First Corinthians 3:21 to 23 says that to Christians all things belong. Why? Because they belong to Christ and Christ belongs to God. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 we are promised that the power of Christ dwells in us. In Philippians 1:11 we are assured that in Christ we possess the fruit of righteousness to the glory and the praise of God. Philippians 3:8 informs us that compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord, everything else in the world is manure. In Christ we have righteousness, relationship, power, sympathy, eternal life and glory, says Paul in that text.
And then there is that very significant text in Colossians 2 that reminds us that in Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and anyone who tells you differently is labeled a deceiver. And that in him all the fullness of deity dwells and therefore in Him we have been made complete. And then verse 6 says, “So walk in Him.”
Hebrews 2:18 promises that He can come to our aid in every trial with just what is needed. And 2 Peter 1:3 says that in Him we have everything that pertains to life and godliness. When we talk about a sufficient Christ, we are only echoing what Scripture says. And if this is true, and it is, then why does not the church and why do not individual Christians pursue the knowledge of Christ and trust in the resources that are in Him? Everything is ours in Christ. Christ is all and in all. Why then is He not the focus of our lives? Why is He not the object of our affections? Why does He not draw the attention of our waking moments and the occupation even of our dreaming hours? Why is He not the heart of our life? Why is He not the very soul of our ministry?
The whole goal of Christian living is to pursue Christ. That’s why Paul in Philippians 3 says that he pressed toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Which was simply being like Christ? That’s the prize and that’s the goal. And to pursue being like Christ means to gaze at His glory until you’re transformed from what you are into what He is (2 Corinthians 3:18).
Loving Christ, knowing Christ, that’s what Christian living is all about. It’s all about that relationship. This is what Paul wants to stir up in the in the Ephesian believers and in all those who read this epistle. He wants us to comprehend the magnanimity of God’s grace in Christ. He wants us to understand that in this magnanimity; in this massive surpassing richness of gifts is everything we need. And to tap into it is simply to cultivate deeply the relationship with Jesus Christ. You remember in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 when Paul had a thorn in the flesh that had taken him, I think, to the low point in his...in his life and ministry, he says, “I sought the Lord three times.” He knew exactly where to go. He knew exactly who to go to. He knew exactly where the resource was. And when he sought the Lord, you remember, he was given grace and grace that was sufficient.
Let’s look at how he introduces this section by the prayer itself as it frames up starting in verse 15. “For this reason, I too having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints do not cease giving thanks for you while making mention of you in my prayers.” But at the same time, he says, I am also making mention of you in my prayers with regard to something else. I’m glad you’re saved. I’m glad you believe. I’m glad your faith is real. I’m glad your love is evident. But there’s something else I pray for you.
What is it? Is it something more? Is he praying for some additional gift? Is he praying for some additional resource, some additional provision? No. Verse 17, “This is what I pray, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the God who is the Father of glory may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him.”
What is he saying? I pray that God will grant you an attitude that will allow you to comprehend what you have in Christ. That’s what he’s saying. I want the Father to show you what is in Christ at your disposal. I want you to have a disposition...when he talks about a spirit here he’s not talking about the Holy Spirit or a human spirit, we already have both, believers have a human spirit and the Holy Spirit, but he’s talking about an attitude or a disposition, a frame of mind, one that is connected to divine wisdom and divine revelation so that it yields to you all the knowledge of what is in Christ, that you would really comprehend what is there. And when you come along in our day today and I know because we’ve all experienced it and you say, “Christ is sufficient, Christ is all, Christ is everything, all we need is in Christ, everything that we need for life and godliness is there,”.
Well, of course, the evidence of Scripture is on the side of those who find their sufficiency in Christ, so we’re comfortable staying there...no matter what anybody says. Well it’s a sad thing when so many people in the church who name the name of Christ seem to be unable to cope with the realities of life and instead of pursuing the solutions in the knowledge of Christ are chasing all over everywhere for answers that aren’t available elsewhere. In Christ is everything. And he says my prayer for you is that you’ll come to grips with that, that you’ll have an attitude with regard to divine wisdom and divine revelation that will yield to you a full knowledge of what is available in Christ.
So Paul says what I pray for you is that you might comprehend what is really yours in Christ. It’s just immense, absolutely immense. Now, having said that initially, he focuses on three great realities that are available in Christ, three great realities that belong to us, because we belong to Christ. The first is the greatness of His plan, the second is the greatness of His power, and the third is the greatness of His person. Once you understand these and once you commune with these and once you experience these in your relationship with Christ, it will elicit such love toward Christ, such devotion, such submission, such trust, such confidence, such security that you will live life at the plain that God wants you to live it.
1. Greatness of His plan
Paul prays that you would understand the greatness of God’s plan. Verse 18, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.” The word “heart” here really has to do with mind. Heart to the Hebrew was the seat of thought, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he...the Bible says. Heart is not an emotion. We use it as more of a romantic emotional kind of thing. We talk about the heart as the seat of love or emotional feeling. But to the Hebrew, while there were emotions connected and occasionally in Scripture even you see an emotional aspect to the use of the term “heart,” heart has to do with the mind, where the will acts in response to truth. So he says I want your mind to be enlightened. I want the light to go on in your mind. I want you to see what is really yours in Christ. And that regards particularly His plan for you. I want your mind to comprehend this immense plan. Look at it there. So that you may know what is the hope of His calling.
God, because He loved the Son, said I want to give you a love gift. I want to express My love to You and I’m going to give you a redeemed humanity. And He elected that humanity in eternity past. And then He asked the Son to play the part of coming into the world to do the redeeming act to gather that humanity. But it was the Father’s love gift to the Son to redeem humanity, the elect, give them to Christ so that forever and ever through all eternity they would praise and glorify Him. We’re a part of that. In eternity past the Father chooses the elect. In time He redeems them through the provision of Jesus Christ on the cross. In eternity He gathers them together as that redeemed humanity and gives them in total to the Son as those who will glorify Him forever and ever at which point the Son having received this gift turns around and gives it back to the Father that God may be all and all, says Paul in 1 Corinthians 15. We are all caught up in this unfathomable and eternal covenant between the Father and the Son as they express their love to one another. And we’re simply the players in that scenario by the mercy and grace of God who have been collected, as it were, so that the Father can express His love to the Son and vice versa.
That gives security. That gives confidence. That gives hope and joy and calls us to love Christ. Here we are undeserving sinners; we have been made due to nothing of our own part of a great sovereign plan by a loving, forgiving, and gracious God this high calling, this holy calling, this heavenly calling we don’t deserve. And inherent in it is richness beyond imagination. So whatever we may suffer in this life, whatever slings and arrows and darts and difficulties, what does it matter?
2. Greatness of His power
He wants the eyes of our heart to be enlightened so that we may know also what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. Power, he says, in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.
By the way, he uses four words for power in that one verse, and that’s a pretty short verse. But it has four words for power. It has the word “power” in English. Then it has the word “working.” Then it has the word “strength.” And then it has the word “might.” The translators wanted to let us know that there were four different words used here so they used synonyms in English to help us with that.
There is power, that’s dunamis, inherent power. There is working, that’s energia,from which we get energy, operative power. Kratos, that’s mighty, that’s ultimate power. And the last word, power, ischus, some say is the idea of endowed power. But all of them are really synonyms, talking about God’s power provided for us. In fact, back in 2 Corinthians 12 Paul says God’s power is perfected in our in our weakness. Christians going around saying, “Well I don’t know if I’m adequate, I don’t know if I can triumph over sin. I don’t know if I can be victorious over temptation. I don’t know if I can be effective in ministry. I don’t know if I can be useful to the Lord. I don’t know if I can call on God in the midst of my trials and know He’ll answer.” There is so much power available to you that the Apostle Paul grasping here certainly the will and mind of the Holy Spirit pulls up every word he can think of to stack up the comprehension of power. And if that’s not enough he adds at the beginning of verse 19, “Thus surpassing greatness of His power.”
Power for what? 1. Power to evangelize. “You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you shall be witnesses unto Me.” 2. Power to suffer victoriously. Paul says that my...my outer man is being destroyed and failing but the inner man is renewed every day in power. 3. Power to change our lives. 4. Power to conquer sin. 5. Power to overcome temptation. 6. Power to do God’s will. 7. Power to serve.8.Power to speak. 9. Power to work. Power so great we can exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think. Mighty power is ours. And just to illustrate the level of that power, in verse 20 he says, “It’s the power that brought about...was brought about in Christ when God raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.” 10. It’s resurrection and ascension power. It’s the same power that lifted Christ out of the grave and took Him to heaven. That’s beyond any human source. Christ went into the grave and came out. Sin couldn’t hold Him. Death couldn’t hold Him. Hell couldn’t hold Him. Satan couldn’t hold Him. The demons couldn’t hold Him. He went into the grave and came out triumphantly. After 40 days He ascended to the right hand of the Father, was coroneted and sits there interceding for us. The very same power, Paul says, that took Jesus through the grave and out the other side and to the throne of God is working in your behalf.
Some day it will do for us what it did for Christ. Some day that same power will cause our resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of the throne of God where we will sit on the very throne of Christ as He sits in the Father’s throne, says Revelation. For us, the chains of death will be shattered. For us the bonds of Satan will be shattered. For us the shackles of sin will be broken. For us we will be freed from every foe that would hold us, just as was Jesus Christ. There’s nothing in this world that can defeat the plan of God that same power operates on our behalf. And not just at the point of our death and resurrection or our ascension to the glory of the Father, not just at the point say of the Rapture, but now, even now. We have that power; it is surpassingly great power toward us who believe. It works operatively in our lives even now.
3. Greatness of His person
Christ as a person is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come, and He put all things in subjection under His feet and gave Him as head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
The last part of this wonderful prayer is that people would understand how great Christ is. There isn’t any rule, there isn’t any authority, there isn’t any power and there isn’t any dominion and there isn’t any name in the universe that is over Jesus Christ. Therefore whatever it is that He deems to do for us cannot be thwarted. Nothing can hinder Him because no one surpasses Him in power or equals Him. He’s not just above, He is far above all rule and authority and power and dominion. And most likely those terms are meant to indicate angels and certainly they would encompass Satan himself, that fallen angel, and the rest of his demon hosts. There is no force; there is no spiritual force or spiritual being or entity in the universe that can match the power of Jesus Christ. Certainly that would also include human beings. So why would we go to men whose power is certainly finite.
And so, he says Christ is all, Christ is everything. If you would understand the greatness of His plan and the greatness of His power and the greatness of His person, you certainly would go to Him. He is, according to verse 23, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. He’s it. He’s the fullness, He’s the everything. He’s the source of everything. It’s only in Him that we find our needs met. We need to understand this, particularly in a day like today when Christianity has created its own culture which is a non-Christ-centered culture. We’ve got all of our own little things and trappings that have accumulated. They encumber it. They slow it down, they retard it, and they provide no benefit. They only affect it with their own decay.
How can we strip away all of this stuff that has accumulated and get back to Colossians 3:11, Christ is all? Get back to the place where we love Christ so singularly and so devotedly and so totally that everything falls in line behind that? It should be true that since the greatness of His plan and the greatness of His power and the greatness of His person is known to us, we would pursue that. Pursuing that means courting and cultivating a love relationship with Jesus Christ that is deep and profound and it is in that kind of pursuit that we find all of the security and all of the confidence and all of the satisfaction and all of the joy and peace and hope that we could ever expect and more.