Friday, June 9, 2006

The Fullness of Him Who Fills

And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23)
This is an expansion of Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians, beginning in verse 15, in which he asks the Father to reveal the exceeding greatness of His power toward all believers. This is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenlies — far above all principality, power, might and dominion, and everything that can be named in this age and in the one to come. All has been placed under His feet. All these — principality, power, might and dominion — refer to angelic beings and demonic powers. Christ is above them — not merely above, but far above.

But what of the church? What is our role, our place?

God has given the Lord Jesus Christ to be head over the church. We are explicitly identified as His body. Christ in not a disembodied head, nor are we a headless body. Rather, we go together with Him. We are intimately related to Him, as close as your own head is to your own body. We are not merely in close proximity to Him, but integrally related with Him.

Now consider this: If Jesus is seated far above all principality, power, might and dominion, and all these are placed under His feet — then we, as His body, are also seated far above all principality, power, might and dominion, and all these are placed under our feet, as well. Indeed, in the next chapter, Paul notes that God has already raised us up (exalted us) together with Christ and seated us together in Him in the heavenlies (Ephesians 2:6). Christ is in the place of ruling and reigning; and as His body, exalted and seated with Him in the heavenlies, we are in the place of ruling and reigning also.

What is the fullness of Christ? According to Paul, we are — all those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. We are the fullness of Christ, for we are His body. Just as your body is the fullness of you, so we, as the body of Christ, are the fullness of Him. Your body is all about you; His body is all about Him. We represent Christ in every way, for He has filled His body all in all, that is, fully and completely in everything.
  • We bear all the authority of Christ on earth. Before He ascended to heaven, Jesus declared, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). Then He commissioned His disciples, authorizing them with all His earthly authority.
  • We have the authority to ask “in His name” (John 14:13-14). Whatever we ask in His name, the Father will do (John 15:16; John 16:23-27). We don’t have to ask Jesus to ask the Father; we can ask the Father directly in Jesus’ name. That is, we have the same authority to ask that Jesus has.
  • We have the authority to bind or loose on earth what has been bound or loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:18). As we agree together concerning anything, it will be granted by our Father in Heaven (Matthew 18:19).
  • We have the authority to command the Kingdom of God to come and the will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). Jesus specifically gave us this authority in the Lord’s Prayer. He taught us to pray in the imperative mood: Kingdom of God, come! Will of God, be done on earth as it is in heaven!
  • We have the authority of His perfected love. “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God; and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:16-17).
As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we are the fullness of Him who fills all in all. It is all about Him, His authority, His power, His goodness, His righteousness, His love. Through faith in Him, we abide in Him and He in us. As He is, so are we in this world, for we have received His fullness.