What does it mean to say that Christ is sufficient, and why does it matter? It means that Christ in all of his fullness really is everything we need. And it matters because without him we can do nothing.
To say that Christ is sufficient is to say that there is nothing else in addition to Jesus that we need for salvation, life, satisfaction, or fullness. There are no bonuses or extras. There is no gold membership to be attained only by any elite few. If Christ really is sufficient, then Christianity can do without the extra “-isms”: legalism, mysticism, gnosticism, asceticism, monasticism, sacerdotalism, and so on. If Jesus is all that you need, then you don't need anything else. That's right. Nada, nothing, zilch.
We can go even further. The claim that Christ is sufficient means not only that we need no additions to Jesus, but also that any such additions are actually subtractions. To try to add something to Jesus is to diminish what he has already done. If you say that you need Jesus plus angels, or Jesus plus the law, or Jesus plus moral achievement, or Jesus plus a second work of grace, or Jesus plus anything else – then you take something away from Jesus. To say that Christ is sufficient is to say that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has already blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, in Christ. To say that Christ is sufficient is to say that God has already given us everything we need for life and godliness through his own Son. To say that Christ is sufficient is to say that the only thing the branch needs in order to bear fruit is to be vitally connected to the vine.
Jesus is the vine.
But the declaration the Christ is sufficient should not make us complacent. We need to be careful to not draw the wrong conclusion or make the wrong application. The completeness of Christ's work does not mean that we have no needs. It means that all of the needs we have are met in Christ. It means that we desperately need Christ!
We need Christ in all of his fullness. We need not half a Jesus, but the whole Jesus. We need the intoxicating one-hundred-proof Jesus, not the safe, bland, non-alcoholic watered-down version. We need the authentic Jesus in all of his humble humanity and terrifying deity. We need Christ in his meekness and majesty, his suffering and glory, his crucifixion and resurrection, his incarnation and ascension, first coming and his second.
Jesus is 100% of what we need. And we need 100% of Jesus.
We need Jesus in his redeeming, liberating grace. We need his forgiveness for our sins, his cleansing for our consciences, and his power for our obedience. We need Jesus in his supremacy over all earthly and unearthly powers, whether those powers are angels, principalities, and powers in the heavenly realms, or Caesars, senators, and presidents in the kingdoms of men. We need Jesus as the perfect portrait of the invisible God, Jesus as the true imago Dei, Jesus as the new and better Adam, and Jesus as the greater son of David who in the strength of weakness sets his people free from the monsters of sin and death.
We need Jesus as justifier and sanctifier. We need Jesus as the Savior and Lord of the church, the husband of the bride, and the head of the body. We need him as Lion of the tribe of Judah and as the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world. We need him as prophet, priest, and king. We need him as bread of life and fountain of living waters. We need him as the door to walk through, the way to walk on, and the goal to which we walk, the prize for which we run, and the Captain for whom we fight. We need Jesus as Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, first and last.
Furthermore, we need Jesus in all of life. We need Jesus informing our minds and we need Jesus forming our hearts. We need Jesus in the closet, the bedroom, dining room, the playroom, the boardroom, and on the street. We need Jesus when we play, when we worship, when we work, and when we pray. We need Jesus in our churches, our classrooms, and our homes.
We need Jesus in and through all the vicissitudes of life. We need Jesus to remove the burden of sin at Calvary and to strengthen us for the long pilgrimage to the Celestial City. We need him to walk with us through the Valley of Humiliation. We need him to help us make the hard climb up Hill Difficulty. We need him to pull us from the Slough of Despond and to rescue us from Doubting Castle.
We need Jesus for singleness, marriage, parenting, empty-nesting, and grandparenting. We need him college and career, at home and abroad, in our waking and in our sleeping, in our living and in our dying.
We need Jesus. In all that we are, we need all that he is. Our need is great. But his sufficiency is greater.
The whole Bible proclaims the sufficiency of Christ. The Bible is about the Father’s plan to redeem his people and restore the world through the all-sufficient work of his Son through the power of his life-giving Spirit. If the whole of Scripture is a symphony, this is its melodic theme.
This is nowhere more evident than in Paul’s letter to the Colossians. I wrote a little book on Colossians called Christ All Sufficient. You don’t need to read my book. You need Christ. You need the word of Christ to dwell richly in your heart, and Colossians is part of that word. So you need Colossians. If you would like to grow in your understanding of Colossians (and thus grow in your understanding of Christ’s glorious sufficiency), then perhaps my book will help. But you don’t need another book, seminar, or lecture. You need Christ himself.
Do you have him?
This post was originally written for The Blazing Center.
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