Knowing our King | Colossians 2:10-12 | Complete IN HIM
10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11 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.
Our verses are still considering the completion of Christ and especially our completion in Him. He begins this thought in verse 10 and continues it up to verse 15. He begins and ends this portion with the fact that Jesus is the head of all principality and powers; “10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:” | 15 “And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” His emphasis on Jesus being the authority over all authority in heaven and earth is probably because some of these Gnostics are teaching that there are lower spirits we must pass through to reach God, and on the account that even Jewish tradition was to pray to certain angels. These verses drive home the fact that Jesus is the head of all good angels and all bad angels, he is the head of ALL principality and powers. Why speak to the minion when you can speak to the master?
In verses 11 and 12 he goes on to show us some areas of our being complete in Christ. Even showing us that good, moral, and religious things do not add anything to our relationship with Christ. Mark the words of verse 10 very carefully “Ye are complete IN HIM.” That is the only place in all the universe where a man may find total fulfillment and completion, even our obedience to ordinances cannot add to this. It is easy for us to understand that bad things or even neutral things cannot complete us or fulfill us but even good things cannot fulfill us or add one ounce to what Christ has done. Truly when Jesus said it is finished, it was!
He speaks of 2 ordinances circumcision and baptism. Circumcision was an Old Testament ordinance commanded to Israelites or anyone who wanted to partake in Passover. Baptism is a New Testament ordinance for the church, commanded to all who have believed on Jesus for the remission of sins. Neither one of these things are evil and both were commanded ordinances. Circumcision was a huge topic in the early Church, Paul devotes basically an entire book to the issue of Christian Jews trying to impose the law and ordinances of the Old Covenant upon Gentile believers, that book is Galatians. In Acts 15, people have come from Jerusalem and tried to teach at Antioch that these ordinances were a requirement for salvation. It is to this very issue that Paul, by the Holy Ghost, is speaking. Not even the keeping of commandments can add one iota to the finished work of Christ and therefore it cannot add one ounce to our completion in Him. Circumcision found its completion in Christ, the shadowy ordinance gave way to the clear object of the new birth. Circumcision of the foreskin was a shadow of the cutting away of the flesh, which has its complete revelation of the cutting away of our fleshly nature when we became a new creature in Christ; “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.” [Galatians 6:5] This ordinance has been completed in Christ or fulfilled, and is now neither good nor evil, Paul even suggests Timothy to be circumcised and then later tells Titus not to be. If it is an issue of culture, there is no harm in it either way, but if a preference is being pushed as a requirement, then we have an issue. Like the Pharisees accusing Jesus for not washing his hands before they ate, Jesus sharply rebukes him with these words: “And the Lord said unto him, Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness. [Luke 11:39]. Jesus had no issue with a man washing his hands before he ate but took great issue with people who thought that the outward workings of the flesh were a means of justification and holiness. Ordinances are totally outward and simply signs of a work that has already taken place inwardly, but the ordinance itself cannot make a man one ounce more holy or complete.
Baptism also cannot complete or add to a man’s salvation. Baptism by itself does not save, and neither does it confer any amount of grace. If a man goes into the water never having been buried with Christ and raised again in the new birth, then he went in a dry sinner and came out a wet one. Baptism is commanded to all believers but is only commanded to those who have already been born again, the real burial and resurrection took place when you were baptized into Christ by the Spirit of God and raised in newness of life! [Romans 6:3-11] Then and only then should this ordinance be observed. Do you remember the Ethiopian eunuch? “And the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” [Acts 8:36-37] A man is completely saved before he ever dips one toe in the baptismal waters! If he is not, then he will benefit nothing from the observance of that ordinance. The Point being driven home in these verses is that The work of Jesus is a complete work, no circumcision can add to our complete salvation, no baptism can add to it, nothing can add to his finished work. Should a believer be baptized? Of course! If you have been saved then you should and are disobedient if you do not, but we know from the thief on the cross that it is not an absolute necessity, otherwise, Jesus would have had to pause the crucifixion and have a baptismal service in order for that man to be in paradise with him that day. It is no coincidence that at the place of final completion, the cross of Calvary, we have a man finding complete salvation, in nothing but Jesus alone. He had not one single good work, not one single ordinance to show for, just faith in the completed work of Jesus, and in that complete work he found complete salvation. Baptism is a must for Christian obedience, but it does not complete the work of salvation rather it shows the work of salvation. Ye are complete in Him!!