Jesus, the Answer
I need not to tell you that the world is plagued with problems. However, some do not realize that Jesus is the answer to just about every imaginable problem that man experiences. Paul wrote thus of Jesus: "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power" (Col. 2: 10). I submit that the expression "ye are complete in him" (este en auto pepleromenoi) is replete with meaning. Commentator B. W. Johnson offers the following brief, but cogent comment on Colossians 2: 10:
"'Ye are complete in him.' You need nothing more. He supplies every want. Head of all principality and power. He is over and ruler of those ranks of angels that some are trying to lead you to worship" (The People's Commentary).
Let us now engage in an attempt to answer the always relevant question, "how is man complete in Christ?"
The problem of guidance. Man desperately needs guidance. The prophet exclaimed, "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jere. 10: 23). In fact, false doctrine is the contextual reference of Colossians 2: 10. Paul refers to vain philosophy, the binding of the old law for justification, and the worshipping of angels and all the attendant esoteric ramifications, as being not only not needed, but incongruous and wrong (Col. 2: 8, 11-14, 18). The introductory statement to "ye are complete in him" is, "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (vs. 9). As God in the flesh, Jesus possessed all power or authority, in heaven and earth (Matt. 28: 18). We must hear Christ, not man, any man (Matt. 17: 5). Those who follow false teachers shall find themselves in the same ditch as the false teachers (Matt. 15: 14). Jesus guides us through his word (2 Jn. 9-11, the teachings of the inspired apostles constitute the "commandments of the Lord," I Cor. 14: 37).
The problem of human relations. Some of the basic conditions that contribute to human relationship problems are selfishness, rudeness, and vindictiveness. Jesus addressed these impediments to good human relations and seeks to remove them (I Cor. 10: 24; Eph. 4: 32; Matt. 6: 12-15). Jesus not only removes these blocks to ideal human relations, but Jesus also teaches genuine concern one for the other (I Thes. 3: 12, as noted, Jesus also teaches through his apostles). Moreover, Jesus taught a return of good for evil and to "love your enemies" (Matt. 5: 38-48). Just think of the radical changes that would occur if all men obeyed Jesus' teaching and followed his example!
Problem of economics. The work force is characterized by problems and perceived and actual injustices. Capital is never satisfied with labor and labor is continually complaining about how capital treats them. Jesus taught against excessive profits and greed (Lk. 12: 15). Jesus also requires industry in our providing for our own and performing an honest days work (I Tim. 5: 8; cp. Col. 3: 23). Inflation is a constant fear that demands the vigilant attention of economic concerns. However, much of inflation is simply waste and extravagance. Jesus exemplified and taught principles that preclude extravagance (Jn. 6: 12).
The problem of education. Some sociologists think all the world problems can be traced back to the lack of education. While I do not agree with their total assessment, I do realize the need of education (see addendum for qualification). However, one problem with the proposed and standard education today is the often total absence of God recognition. Hence, there is no right and wrong, good or bad. Abstraction and theory are in vogue. Please consider what was said of Jesus' education, the ideal: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Lk. 2: 52). True education involves God and the social arts, if you please.
The problem of sin. The universality of sin is plainly and irrefutably taught in the scriptures. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God," declared Paul (Rom. 3: 23). Sin is public enemy number one! However, Jesus is the answer for sin. "Jesus" means savior or salvation (Matt. 1: 21). Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16: 16). Jesus himself is man's sin offering (Heb. 7; 9).
The problem of living again. The educators theorize about life after this life and the philosophers philosophize about life beyond the grace. However, only Jesus offers eternal life. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me shall never die " (Jn. 11: 25). There will be a resurrection of the just and unjust (Jn. 5: 28, 29). The righteous will be raised to eternal life with God in the blissful city of heaven (I Cor. 15: 21-23, Rev. 21, 22).
Having noticed these foregoing particulars, let us now revisit Colossians 2: 10. Paul said, "and ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power. Paul's original aim was to dissuade the Colossians from straying from Christ. After all, if Christians are complete (literally "full") in Jesus, what or who else is there? I shall close with Peter's words that were prompted by Jesus' question, "Will ye also go away?" Peter said: "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life" (Jn. 6: 67, 68).
Addendum: While the gospel touches on what we call "social matters," we must understand the gospel is not a "social gospel" and the Lord's church is not into reading, writing, and arithmetic. Some are appealing to the precise matter that Jesus discouraged; namely following "Christ for social and physical advantage" (Jn. 6: 26, 27). In an article that appeared in the Denver Post (1/'90) titled, "Mainline Protestants Harvest Grass Roots," the fact of the decline of many major religions was stated and the percentage of their decline was also supplied. The article went on to mention how some denominations are attracting members through their social appeals. "Pie committees pay off in first year 70 of 125 people who received a pie joined the church . Day-care programs give a church a whole new lease on life," said Karen Collins, director of the National Council of Churches. Many churches have turned into dating and matchmaking societies. The "gospel" of many religions today, alas, is the gospel of fun, frolic, and food. The social gospel of our age focuses on man's stomach, not the eternal soul of man.