“Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!” — Paul the apostle, writing to the young church in Colossae.
How do we come to the point at which Jesus is truly our everything in this life? This is the mindset behind the words of Paul above; “But Christ is all and in all.” Stated another way, “Christ is everything we want and everything we need, and He provides it all by means of our union with Him.”
Throughout the book of Colossians, Paul is making the case for how Christ Jesus is indeed everything to creation and to us, His children. In Colossians 1:17 he writes about Christ and creation, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Everything in creation came from Christ and is completely His possession. Furthermore, through Christ everything remains in place and is held together.
Ten verses later Paul reveals the mystery of how we are to be Godly in our behavior. He wrote that the mystery of living a Godly life “…has been kept hidden for ages and generations but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Just as creation is held together by Christ’s presence and power, we attain godly living by His presence and power. In Him we are held together by His power and righteousness.
In Chapter 2, Paul tells us that in Christ is all the fulness of the Godhead. Since we are in Christ and He in us by His Spirit, all that fulness is found in us as well. “For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fulness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.”
In Chapter 3, Paul begins by reminding us that we are no longer primarily of this world. We have been raised up with Christ Himself, by virtue of our union with Him. Not only are we raised up with Him, but He Himself is now our life and living on every level. “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”
The case Paul is building is that in Christ we have everything we want and need in this life.
- All that is was created in Christ and continues to function perfectly because He holds it together.
- All that is needed for our personal godliness is found in Christ as well. He Himself is alive in us by His Holy Spirit, and He is our godliness.
- All the fulness of the Godhead is in Christ, who is now joined in union with you.
- Our old self and our self-life died with and in Christ. We are now freed from sin’s control to focus upon Christ Himself and upon His life lived in us.
Then Paul sums all of this up in 3:11. “But Christ is all and in all.” Christ is everything we want and everything we need, and He supplies it all by His union with each one of His true disciples.
As true disciples, Jesus Christ is our only life. Not a part of our life or a feature of our life. Not simply the religious part of life. Jesus died on the cross to become our consuming passion, our everything in this life. His invitation is simple and singular: it is to let Him be everything we want and everything we need in this life. He promises to be so for those with whom He is joined in a union relationship, those who give up their own living and give in to His complete control.
We see this truth in the words of Paul in Colossians 3. Seek the things above, where Christ is. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. You have died. Your life is hidden with Christ in God. Christ is all and in all.
This is why our lives are described in the Bible as living sacrifices – crucified, dead and buried to self and the world. Fully alive to Christ. True disciples are committed to giving everything in this life to Christ and leaving everything not of Him behind. This is the only mindset for the disciple of Christ, and it seems brutally hard until we choose it. Once that choice is made, the Holy Spirit will undertake His work and we will experience the power of His renewal. For those who choose true discipleship, that choice becomes the magnificent obsession and consuming passion in life.
This is when the abundant life of Christ Himself begins to take over all our living, and we find our true, deep purpose and meaning in this life.