Wednesday, February 3, 2021

The Fullness of Christ

"And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be Head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way" (Ephesians 1:22–23).

Paul’s second prayer-outline reaches its peak in Ephesians 1:22–23. Paul has said that he wants us to increase our fellowship with the Holy Spirit so that we can get to know God better. The way to get to know God better is for the Spirit to teach us from the Bible about the riches God has given to us in Christ. The aspect of those riches that Paul focuses on is the power and authority that Christ has been given, and that is available to us in Him. The more we understand those riches, the better we will be able to live for Him.

These riches are always “in Christ.” Today we hear heretical preachers who tell us that if we just “name it and claim it,” we can receive health and prosperity from God. This is magic. True health and prosperity are given by God only to those who live righteously “in Christ,” who imitate Him in obedience. Moreover, those riches are often hidden, so that faithful believers live in outward illness and poverty while laying up health and prosperity in the world to come.

Nevertheless, just because heretics distort the Gospel should not cause us to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Ephesians 1:22 says that God has already placed all things under Christ’s feet, and that this total rule over the world by King Jesus is for the sake of His church. Christ presently rules as King for the sake of His people. His Kingship is exercised for our protection and good, even when He brings chastisements upon us. All the riches of this earth are at present being managed for our good. Christ is not coming in the future to become King; He already is King, and He rules for us.

Verse 23 is a challenge. It says the church, Christ’s own body, is “the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way.” This may mean that the church is filled by Him who fills all things. Or it may mean that the growth and development of the church in history is filling up the work of Christ, as history moves toward the great consummation of all things at the marriage supper of the Lamb. Christ’s first coming initiated the new history, and His present reign is managing that history toward its fullness.

As we finish Ephesians 1, read verses 3–23 again, then pray through this passage. Make sure you follow the order of the two prayers, observing how one thought leads to the next. Do this again every day for a week, and seek to make these prayers your own.