By Penny Smith
"To get to know also, the knowledge-surpassing love of
the Christ, - In order that ye may be filled unto all
the fullness of God." Eph 3:19 Rotherham.
Paul's prayer for the Ephesians echoes through the ages to
reach those of us who are no longer satisfied to paddle in
"shallow" waters. The heart of Paul's prayer is
"that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God."
The word translated "fullness" is prominent in
Pauline vocabulary when referring to Christ and the Church.
Paul uses a form of it again in Ephesians 4:10. Here, Paul
refers to the five-fold ministry gifts to the Church, given
to equip us for ministry and build up the body of Christ.
Verse 13, "Until we all attain ... to a mature man, to
the measure of the stature which belongs- (and here is the
word again) - to the fullness of Christ."
Paul is praying in effect, "Father, they are no longer
children, easily influenced; it is time to move them into
the full measure of Christ." If Paul should visit our
local assemblies today, would he pray, "Father, look
at their spiritual hunger, their thirst. Father, they are
ready for You, they desire Your fullness.
The Greek word "pleroma," translated fullness in
the New Testament, refers to plentitude. In Ephesians 1:22-23
Paul speaks of "the Church, which is His Body, the fullness
of Him who fills everything in every way." It is "that
which is filled with the presence, power, agency, riches of
God and of Christ" (Greek Lexicon). Thus, the Body of
Christ is His fullness.
Now we see what Paul is really asking of the Father in Ephesians
3. "That they may become a Body wholly filled and flooded
by God." This fullness is to be attained "in Christ
- through the Church." God's great love and power exceeds
our weakness. God is more than able to give us victory and
to cause us to love triumphantly.
Paul gives two conditions or qualifiers for attaining to
the fullness of God. "That you being rooted and grounded
in love," (verse 17). Having experienced grace, we are
now to be established. How? Verse 16, "Strengthened with
power through His Spirit in the inner man," and verse
20, "According to the power that works within us."
The roots of life involve all that we are - our intellect,
our sensibilities, and our will. We cannot trust our intellect.
It is a root that if followed long enough, will eventually
disclose our ignorance. The root of our sensibilities, our
feelings and emotions alone, if followed, will spin-off into
a tangent. Knowing the love of Christ surpasses knowledge
(verse 19); it is experiential. Knowledge without experience
is theory without practice.
Once I trained to become a school bus driver. At my very
first lesson, the trainer handed me the key and said, "You
drive, this is the best way to learn." It took practice,
but soon I became a competent bus driver.
Knowing about God is like learning about driving a bus, but
never actually driving the bus. When we enter into an experiential
love relationship with our Lord, we begin to experience His
fullness. Seated with Him in the heavenlies, as the Holy Spirit
whispers the cues, we become empowered, flooded with God -
becoming a measure of His fullness to others.