This is the last post in the series Complete in Christ: Colossians and the All-sufficient Preeminence of Jesus. With few exceptions, this blog category has walked us through this relevant and profound letter verse-by-verse. I pray that you have been as encouraged and edified as I have while meditating on Paul’s message to the church at Colossae; a writing that so clearly delineates Christ as both supreme and sufficient. In other words, the book of Colossians explains this simple but powerful truth: Jesus is all we need to be complete.

“I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you” (Colossians 4:18).

In an era of forged documents, Paul makes it clear that this letter is genuine and is no counterfeit (see 2 Thessalonians 3:17). Probably only writing the last verse (Paul was known to have others actually pen his writings – see Romans 16:22) he still puts his stamp of approval on the message and content by personally signing off. We can only image that his chains both restricted movement and painfully chafed his hands so this gesture is of great significance. He wants his audience, the faithful saints at Colossae, to know without a doubt that this letter is from Paul himself and, therefore, is inspired by God.

Despite these dire circumstances, the inevitable suffering that comes from following Jesus and courageously preaching Him and His cross, Paul ends with a blessing of grace to his readers. This farewell benediction reminds us of his inaugural blessing in 1:2: “To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.” Which means Paul begins and ends his instruction with the thought of God’s unmerited favor. But notice the slight change from the first blessing (1:2) to the second (4:18). Paul has moved from grace “to you” to grace ‘be with you.”

In other words, I believe, he is thinking of Jesus! Just like he was in the concluding verse of his letter to the church at Philippi where he used similar language. There Paul expanded on the thought of “grace be with you” by saying, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit” (Philippians 4:23). John further connects Jesus and grace when he stated, “And from [Christ’s] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:16-17). In other words, we experience sustaining grace in Christ as part of His saving grace.

For the Jesus that Paul has exalted as all-supreme and all-sufficient is with them. As Anne Graham Lotz said, describing some of the challenges and difficulties of her life, “Don’t give my sympathy. Don’t give me advice. Don’t even give me a miracle. Just give me Jesus.” Why such confidence and contentment? Because He is “Christ in [us] the hope of glory” (1:27). In other words, Jesus is both the journey and the destination.

Paul wants them to move from receiving Jesus to living in Him (see 2:6). He wants them migrate from knowing Christ as the light of their salvation (see 1:12-14) to Him being their life (3:4)! He wants them to be elevated from a head knowledge of Jesus to now, “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” (3:1-3). He wants them to be so raised and united with Christ that they, “let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (3:15). That they be so emboldened and empowered by His indwelling presence that they diligently “declare the mystery of Christ” (4:3). In summary, he wants them to be complete in Christ

This is grace and this is what true, dynamic grace does! It discards our ugly old self and gives us His beautiful life (3:9-10). We now know Him as “all and in all” (3:11). Grace is God making us “[His] chosen ones, holy and beloved” (3:12). Or, in a very real sense, grace is God giving us Jesus not only as our redeemer but uniting us with Him now and forevermore. The all-supreme, all-sufficient Jesus not only has us but we have Him! This is what I believe Paul is saying when he concludes with “Grace be with you.” And I, like Paul, pray that we most fully experience this all-powerful Jesus in all that we are and in all that He is! That we become complete in Him so that we might magnify His name by abiding in His sufficiency and amplifying His supremacy.  So, with resounding  joy, let us trumpet this African Spiritual:

In the morning, when I rise, Give me Jesus. When I am alone, Give me Jesus.

When I come to die, Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus. Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus.

You can have all this world, You can have all this world, You can have all this world, Just give me Jesus.

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