The Fullness of Christ
William Nicholson, 1862
"For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell." Colossians 1:19
In the preceding verses, the Apostle asserts the Deity of Christ, as an essential qualification for the discharge of his mediatorial office.
It must ever afford cause of joy to saints on earth and the redeemed in glory, that Christ by the union of the Divine and human nature, was proclaimed a conqueror over sin, death, and Hell, verses 14, 19, 20.
It is a delightful fact also, that however great and glorious the achievements of Christ; and however numerous, rich, and varied the blessings resulting from that achievement all are available to him who believes.
We may gaze upon palaces of splendor and treasures of wealth but we are not benefitted, because we are not permitted to avail ourselves of such advantages. But whatever Christ has done, and purchased has become, by an act of stupendous grace, the property of his Church. Thousands on earth, and millions in glory, can say, "And of his fulnesss have we all received, and grace upon grace." John 1:16.
I. The Fullness of Christ.
The word fullness in the original means abundance, plenitude, exuberance, and completion; and the text implies that Christ as Mediator, has all the fullness of the new covenant blessings of righteousness, grace, comfort, and glory, lodged in him by the Father, from which the saints receive all needful spiritual good. John 3:34; Ephesians 3:19.
1. There is a personal fullness in Christ the fullness of the Deity. Colossians 2:9. All the perfections of the Deity are found in him:
eternity, Revelation 1:8;
omniscience, Revelation 2:23;
omnipresence, Matthew 18:20; 28:20;
immutability, Hebrews 1:10-12; 13:8;
love, etc., etc.
2. This fullness is relative. Having a reference to the Church, called his body. Ephesians 1:22, 23. Among his people, and in them, he displays the fullness of his righteousness, grace, and glory; and by their union and subjection to him, and their dependence on him, he is rendered a complete Mediatorial head. It will be a fullness absolutely complete when the Mediator shall deliver up his kingdom to the Father, saying, "Here am I, and the children whom you have given to me!"
3. There is a fullness of proper qualification in Christ for his Mediatorial work as a surety and the great High-priest. As man he could offer a sacrifice to God, and give satisfaction in the nature which had sinned, which satisfaction the law and justice of God demanded. Hebrews 2:16; 1 John 2:1. His entire freedom from sin, fitted him for the office of High-priest, Advocate, and Intercessor. 1 Peter 1:19; Hebrews 7:26. Being God, as well as man, there was and still is a sufficient virtue in all he did and suffered to answer all legal demands, to secure man's salvation, and to vindicate and honor the Divine government.
4. The fullness committed to Christ is communicative. In him there is:
(1.)A fullness of nature. This is clearly asserted, verse 15-19. He is the "head of every man;" "head over all things to his Church;" "heir of all things;" everything in nature is deposited in Christ for the benefit of his people.
How vast the treasure we possess!
How rich your bounty, King of Grace!
This world is ours, and worlds to come,
Earth is our lodge, and Heaven our home!
(2.)A fullness of grace. John 1:16; hence Christ is represented as a fountain of grace. Zechariah 13:1; John 4:13, 14; 7:37.
In this fountain there is:
A fullness of pardoning grace. It is a new covenant blessing. Hebrews 8:12; Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7.
A fullness of justifying grace. Romans 3:24-26. He brought in an everlasting righteousness, Daniel 9:24; with it God is well pleased, Isaiah 42:21; and he who believes is delivered from all condemnation, Romans 8:1.
A fullness of adopting grace. 1 John 3:1; Galatians 4:6.
A fullness of the Spirit of grace. Romans 8:15, 16. The Spirit is the author . . .
of spiritual gifts. Acts 2:4, etc.,
of joy, etc., etc.
A fullness of sanctifying grace. 1 Corinthians 1:30.
There is a fullness of all grace in Christ for every purpose and for every season. "My grace is sufficient for you!" "My God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in Christ!" etc.
(3.)A fullness of eternal life and glory. John 17:24; 10:28; Colossians 3:34. The ransomed spirits in Heaven acknowledge Christ as the source of all their joy. Revelation 5:12; 7:10, 14.
II. The Nature and Properties of this Fullness.
1. It is a very ancient one. Hence the first promise, Genesis 3:15. The patriarchs and the pious Jews in after ages, looked through the shadows, types, and sacrifices, to Jesus, the end of all; they all drew water from this well of salvation. Isaiah 12:1, 2. Jesus was the "Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."
2. It is a rich fullness and very enriching. 2 Corinthians 8:9. "The unsearchable riches of Christ." Prophets and apostles dwell at large upon these riches, but cannot adequately describe them. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him!" 1 Corinthians 2:9. What are mines of gold, or of jewels when compared with the jewel mine of salvation!
3. This fullness is inexhaustible. "Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever!" Earthly sources of wealth, etc. etc., will fail. The unceasing demands of mankind will ultimately drain and dry up all earthly springs. But Christ's fullness will never fail.
4. This fullness is extensively free, with respect to its source and distribution, the people concerned in it, and the manner in which they are blessed by it. Isaiah 55:1, 2; Revelation 22:17.
III. How this Fullness May Be Said to Dwell in Christ.
1. It has an absolute being in Christ. It is given to him, and hence communicated to the saints. Because it is in him, they receive it. It is in him, to the exclusion of every other fullness. Jeremiah 2:13.
2. It implies continuance there. This fullness delighted the Church thousands of years ago; it does now, and will do to the end of time.
It dwells in Christ, never to be exhausted never to change. In every time, season, distress, exigency, and in death, we shall find it dwelling there, and may avail ourselves of it. It cannot be lost or taken from him.
IV. The Source of All this Gracious Arrangement."It pleased the Father." "His good pleasure."
1. It is owing to the Father's good will to Christ. John 3:35; Colossians 1:18.
2. It is owing to the Father's good will to his people. It is for«their sake, and on their account.
3. He regarded Christ as the most fit to be entrusted with it. Adam, who was our former federal head, betrayed his trust; it could not be committed to angels, therefore to Christ.
4. It pleased the Father to make Christ the medium of communication of all grace to his people. If he would commune with us, it should be from the mercy seat of Jesus Christ, John 14:6. "He is a Mediator between God and man," etc.
1. Behold the amazing love of God! It pleased him to ordain in Christ such a fullness for vile sinners.
2. Frequently draw supplies of grace from Christ's fullness.