Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Filling the Universe with the Fullness of God

Ephesians 3:17-19
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 4:8-10
“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”

What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe

Our life in this world is a constant search for wholeness, for fullness. For those of us who have been grasped by the love of God in Christ, we have found wholeness; we have found all the fullness. He is truly all we need. Christ alone is the fullness of God, and He has come in human flesh. Because of God’s coming into human flesh, when we are united to Christ through the Holy Spirit, this fullness comes closer to us than to our own hearts.

Why then are we believers so often cast down? The simple answer is that we have allowed Satan to take from us the awareness of just how full and wonderful this fullness is. We have allowed him to steal our joy and purpose because we have drawn the loop too tightly on what this salvation God has given us consists of. We have lost the full-orbed Christian hope. Let me explain what I mean. I believe we have robbed God of His good world and failed to see that “heaven and earth are filled with His glory.” Over the last 1000 years the Christian Church has increasingly bought into a dualism that strictly opposes nature to grace, heaven to earth, and matter to spirit. What may come as a great surprise to most is that the Bible simply does not teach this. The faith of Israel embodied in the Old Testament and the faith of the Church embodied in the New Testament teaches us that not only did God establish a good and perfect universe once in the distant past but that He has continuously from the foundation of the world upheld, governed, ruled, and manifested Himself in every inch of the universe. In spite of the entry of decay, corruption, and death into his creation through the Fall, God is still governing and guiding everything toward the glorious fulfillment of His will. The Good News for us as Christians is that God has fulfilled in our flesh at just the right time in history all his promises for the consummation of the universe. The Word became flesh and dwelt, “tabernacled” among us. In the Incarnation, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and heavenly rule of His Son Jesus Christ, God has given us in the present time the fulfillment of all His future promises. This is the Gospel. God is recovering all that was lost in the Fall through the person and work of His Son Jesus. This Gospel is as big and broad and wide and long and high and deep as the universe and it expands to cover everything, visible and invisible, that God has made. It is not plan B. God has not abandoned the project He began in the beginning but is renewing it and bringing it to its final glory in His Son. This is what I mean by the full Christian hope. Christ is filling the universe with Himself and all the trappings of His glory.

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