Complete in Christ
In his letter to the Colossians, in which Paul takes great pains to tell his readers that nothing needs to be added to what Christ has done for our redemption, he writes, “In him you have been made complete” (Col. 2:10). We are complete in Christ because of who he is and because of what he has done for us.
Who is Jesus?
He is a man like no other. He is quite literally in a class all by himself. People sometimes speak of the world’s great religious leaders and mention Jesus along with the likes of Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius, Zoroaster, Gandhi, and even Abraham and Moses. But when they speak this way, they are not speaking accurately. Why? Because Jesus is utterly unique. These other men were only men—fallen, sinful human beings like the rest of us. Jesus, on the other hand, is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15). He is the divine Word made flesh (Jn. 1:1, 14). He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature (Heb. 1:3). He is the Son of God (Mk. 1:1). The whole fullness of deity dwells in him bodily (Col. 2:9). He is the Creator of all things and the one who holds all things together (Col. 1:16-17). Even so, he did not regard equality with God a thing to be held on to at all costs, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:6-7). Further, he was tested, tried, and tempted in every respect, yet he never sinned (Heb. 4:15).
What has he done for us?
This unique man—this God-man—laid down his sinless life as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of men. He suffered betrayal and denial; he suffered the torments of the cross; he suffered the taunts and mocking of wicked men and the indignity of being reviled by those who were infinitely beneath him. What is more, he suffered abandonment by the Father. Who can read those awful words Jesus uttered from the cross and not be deeply moved: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:45)
He suffered all these things as our substitute. We deserved to be under God’s wrath and curse, and he under God’s favor and blessing; but he suffered the former so that we might receive the latter. He was treated as we deserve so that we might be treated as he deserves.
His suffering, however, does not exhaust his work on our behalf. He also conquered death and hell by rising again—and we share in his triumph. Because he rose again, we will rise again too on the last day. He has left nothing undone that was required for our salvation.