Over the years I have on many occasions bought cords of wood. Who knows if I got a legitimate cord or not? Some suppliers would advertise and deliver wood based upon an amount in a pick-up truck, but there are many varied sizes of truck beds. I was never really sure what I was getting, and I was never sure those guys knew really what they were selling me.
For serious commerce to be successful, there has to be a determined standard of measurement that is agreed upon. In the early American colonies, measurements were highly diverse – even though drawn upon English origins. The colonies measured by the firkin, kilderkin, strike, hogshead, tierce, pipe, butt, and puncheon. Even when the same unit was used from colony to colony or locality to locality, it often was not assigned the same value. A bushel of oats in Connecticut weighed 28 pounds, but in New Jersey it weighed 32 pounds.
The federal government got involved with the fixation of standards for weights and measurements. Fixed object artifacts were made and sent to the states to objectify and enforce standardization. But it was still very imperfect. With the industrial age, a piston made in one location needed to be exactly right in order to work within cylinders somewhere else. Eventually a national laboratory was established to more accurately fixate exact measurements. And now, with the advance of physics, more precision is available. For example, the length of a meter is now officially established as the distance light will travel in a vacuum for 1/299,792,458th of a second as determined by iodine stabilized lasers. And physicists are still arguing about what constitutes a final measurement for volume and weight.
There is no such ambiguity when it comes to God’s perfect standard. He is perfect and holy, and the Scriptures say we must be also in order to be in eternal relationship with him. Throughout this series on the cross words we have talked about that lack of perfection (righteousness) as the problem we have … but as the problem that has been reconciled by the cross.
The reading today teaches about how Christ is the perfect Son of God. It reaches a pinnacle of definition in verse 19 where it says that God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him. The Greek word for fullness is one that speaks of the sum totality of something. Jesus was the sum total of God – in human form. And in that form, through the cross, Christ changed everything. And in terms of those who trust in this work, that person is reconciled to God by having a change to a new perfect status. We are no longer enemies, and we have nothing against us that can be charged to us to separate us from the Lord’s love.
The Supremacy of the Son of God – Colossians 1:15-23
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.