Complete In The Messiah

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: —Colossians 2:8-10

One thing the Greek language of Paul’s day had going for it was versatility, and Paul maximized on the power of the Greek language in his writings. There is one clause in the passage above that cries out for your attention. It was there in verse 10, “You are complete in him.” That is a very serious statement.

It is difficult to imagine a more concrete word...a more definitive word! Nothing lacking, no shortage, no emptiness, no inadequacy, and no assembly required. COMPLETE! Even reading those words in our English language we get a sense of finality, after all, when something is complete it is finished otherwise it would not be “complete.” Even so, the Greek here reaches new heights in giving us an understanding both of the Messiah and of those who have demonstrated saving faith in him.


The Greek noun that Paul uses is "pleroma," (play-RO-mah) and Paul uses it with an unexpected boldness by applying it first to Messiah, and then, in the very next sentence, he applies it to us.

“For in Messiah dwelleth all the pleroma of the Godhead bodily.”

“And ye are pleroma in him...”

Since the fullness of God truly dwells in Messiah, and WE are filled up in Messiah, then the fullness of God dwells in US.

If A=B, and B=C, then A=C.


Possibly the best literal translation of “pleroma” would be “crammed full.” The Greek word has been adopted into our English language, and at least one dictionary defines it as, “A state of overflowing abundance.”
When no ordinary English word can be found to describe a condition of extraordinary richness and fullness, “pleroma” is used. The ongoing idea of fullness is conveyed by the use of pleroma in the New Testament.

But I have all, and abound: I am full (pleroma), having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God. 19 But my God shall supply (pleroma) all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:18-19

It is difficult to miss the hominess of the “I am full” in verse 18. The expression is that of a man who has eaten too much! It describes an over sufficient satisfaction, deep contentment, a state of having more than enough; having no further need of anything else.

Just as the Philippians had so richly and bountifully provided for Paul (vs. 14-18) so, in turn, Paul promises that God will provide for them in even greater measure.

We also find other, parallel passages:

Which, when it was full (crammed with abundance), they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. —Matthew 13:48

Every valley shall be filled (pleroma), and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; —Luke 3:5


The phrase, “filled full” is not an overstatement or redundancy. Something can be full, yet not full.
If you FILL a bucket with tennis balls, it is full, yet it is not full.
If you then pour rocks into the same bucket, it is more full, yet not FULL.
Take that same bucket and then pour in sand, and it is full, yet it is still not FULL.
But pour water into that same bucket, and now it may be said to be “filled full,” crammed, replete, with room for nothing else. It is in this sense that Paul spoke to us in Colossians 2:9-10.

For in him dwelleth all the pleroma of the Godhead bodily. And ye are pleroma in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Messiah is "crammed full" of the power, nature, and holiness of Almighty God! And as good as that is, the apostle goes on to declare that we are crammed full "in" the one who is "crammed full" of the power, nature, and holiness of Almighty God! Can anyone make a more powerful or a more direct statement about you as a believer?

But, if it is true that all blessing, authority, provision, fullness, victory, healing, freedom, and so on, are already the full expression of every believer, how is it that so many apparently suffer from an almost total lack of these things?


This “completeness,” like every other aspect of the gospel, becomes real in a man’s life only in conjunction with three other things:
01. It is available in Yeshua alone
02. It must be accepted by faith

There is, indeed, a good reason why I have #3 in all caps!
You will not actually live in that state of being “crammed full” until you deeply believe that "in" Messiah you are, in fact, already “crammed full”; and when you believe it, you will irresistibly, unequivocally, and unashamedly speak it — Matthew 12:34b:

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
Hear it...
Believe it...
Speak it...

THAT is the three-fold REQUIREMENT to ACTIVATE the promises of God. While most Christians have little or no trouble with Hearing and Believing, the problem arises in that pesky CONFESSION part.


One problem, it would seem, is that we tend to measure ourselves by ourselves. But the challenge of Scripture is to measure ourselves by Messiah because you are complete ONLY in Messiah. Thus IN HIM, you ARE complete.

It is ONLY through your CONFESSION of these things that they become a reality in your life. A believer’s identification with Yeshua Messiah by faith is both the foundation and the goal of sanctification. The process of translating that identification into the daily experience of ongoing sanctification, however, demands three attitudes of mind and action on a believer’s part (Reckoning, Yielding, and Service). These Paul discussed in Romans 6:5–23.

There is no surer way to increase your bondage to some habit or personal failure than to make it the subject of most of your thinking, talking, and praying.

But once you have confessed your failure (in whatever area(s)) and received forgiveness and cleansing from God, you MUST begin again (or perhaps for the first time) to joyfully, continually, and AGGRESSIVELY confess yourself to be COMPLETE in him. Only then will you bring more and more of HIS righteousness into your life.

You cannot maintain righteousness by focusing on sin or failure.
If you want to remain Christ-like, then you must focus your attention on his excellencies. The more you rejoice in the victory of Messiah, and the more you praise God for making you a participant in that victory, the more that victory will be enacted in your own experience.


The time to begin this exercise of faith is WHILE YOU ARE STILL OUTWARDLY DEFEATED. Remember, you are praising God for what you are IN MESSIAH (Colossians 2:9-10), and that has nothing to do with what you are IN YOURSELF. But such a confession will irresistibly change what you are in yourself to what you are in Messiah.
When scripture declares that:
You are blessed with all spiritual blessings
You are more than a conqueror
You are healed
You have authority over Satan
You are holy, unblameable, unreprovable

Grace and Peace to all.

What Is Wrong With Me

It often happens that our very best intentions sometimes lose their strength and fail to achieve the victory we had initially hoped for. This is a shortcoming that besets all people, including Christians. And because this is such a universally experienced issue the apostle Paul gives us his personal testimony in the matter in chapter 7 of the Book of Romans.

It is significant that, beginning with verse 7 and continuing through to the end of this chapter, Paul used the first person singular (I, me, my), presenting
his personal experience. Up to this point he had used the third person, the second person, and even the first person plural. But now he described his own experience, allowing the Holy Spirit to apply the truth to his readers.

In Paul's testimony of his own struggles, beginning with verse 14, he reveals that the sin nature is not eradicated at the new birth. In relating his personal experience in 7:14–25, Paul consistently used the present tense whereas he had previously used the past tense. Obviously he was describing his present, personal conflict as a Christian with indwelling sin and its continuing efforts to control his daily life. As a result, indwelling sin (Sin Nature) continues to seek to exert mastery over what it considers its property even after one has become a Christian.

Paul confessed…

I do not understand what I do (literally, “what I am producing I do not know”).

He was like a little child whose honest answer to the question why he did something wrong is, “I don’t know.”

Paul continued to present the predicament he faced:
For what I want to do I do not do
(literally, “For what I am wishing, is not what I am doing,”) and conversely,
What I hate I do

Paul was a man who learned from his experiences, so now he concluded…

I find this law at work.

This law or principle is the reality of ever-present evil in an individual whenever he wants to do good. Paul held fast to the fact that, as he said,

In my inner being I delight in God’s Law (cf. 7:25).

Delight in God’s Law was the very response of the psalmist stated repeatedly in Psalm 119 (e.g., vs. 16, 24, 47; cf. Psalms 1:2).

Because of regeneration (New Birth), every believer has a new nature or capacity for loving spiritual truths. Yet, recognizing the facts of experience, Paul said he saw another law or principle at work within him. This is the principle of sin.

Paul called it “sin living in me” (Romans 7:17, 20), “evil” right there with me (v. 21), and “the sinful nature” (vs. 5, 18, 25).

This principle is continually doing two things:

  1. Waging war against the law of the believer’s mind, and
  2. Making him a prisoner of the law of sin (Sin Nature) at work within his members.

The indwelling principle of sin (sin nature) is constantly executing a military campaign against the new nature, ever attempting to achieve mastery and control (cf. “slave” in vs. 14, 25 and “slaves” in 6:17, 19–20), of a believer and of his actions.

Thus, despite a believer’s identification with Yeshua Messiah’s death and resurrection, and his efforts to have God-honoring attitudes and actions, he cannot use his own power to resist his indwelling sin nature.
In and of himself he repeatedly experiences defeat and frustration (Galatians 5:17).

Paul expressed that frustration in his exclamation…

What a wretched man I am!

Now we come full circle, "What Is Wrong With Me?" Nothing! That is to say not in the sense that you are any different from other believers. You know what is good and right, and you want to do exactly that. But rather than being patient, you erupt with frustration; rather than showing compassion you deliver condemnation; instead of acting spiritually you act in a carnal, fleshly manner.

What you and I are experiencing is our ongoing need of sanctification; that ongoing work of the Holy Ghost in our lives that more and more separates us not just FROM the worldly elements, but TO our heavenly Father.

Paul's question is something of a rephrasing of our initial question:

Who will rescue me from this body of death?

Paul’s answer to these questions (yours and his) was both triumphant and immediate:

Thanks be to God—through Yeshua Messiah our Lord!

In this answer, Paul shows that he was looking to the final triumph of Yeshua Messiah for his people. Just as believers are identified with him in his death and resurrection by faith here and now, on that future day they will join their resurrected and exalted Lord for all eternity in new bodies, free forever from the presence of sin (8:23; Philippians 3:20–21).

Romans 7 does not describe the totality of Paul’s spiritual life and experiences. In fact, chapter 7 is the springboard for what follows, setting the stage for the triumph of chapter 8.

It probably is true that in the lives of most sincere Christians, the two conditions Paul described exist in a sort of cyclical exchange. Recognition of our inability to live up to our deepest spiritual longings (chapter 7) leads us to cast ourselves upon God’s Spirit for power and victory (chapter 8).

Sanctification is a gradual process that repeatedly takes the believer through this recurring sequence of failure through dependency upon self, to triumph through the indwelling Spirit.

So, in the ultimate sense, the answer to the question, "What is wrong with me," is simply that we are a work in progress. Our sanctification will never be complete while we are in this body of flesh. In much the same way that a pearl continues to be formed while it remains in the oyster, so, too, the Holy Ghost will continue to form and shape us into the image of the Savior (Romans 8:29).