Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Divine Infilling Part 3

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Eph 3.14-19 ESV)
In the last blog entry concerning Paul's prayer, I want to spend some time on the wonderful phrase, "that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph 3.19b ESV). Praise the Lord! Think of the implications! Wesley expounds in his Explanatory Notes:
That ye may be filled - Which is the sum of all. With all the fulness of God - With all his light, love, wisdom, holiness, power, and glory. A perfection far beyond a bare freedom from sin.
Adam Clarke is staggered by the statement and writes in his Commentary:
That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God - Among all the great sayings in this prayer, this is the greatest. To be Filled with God is a great thing; to be filled with the Fulness of God is still greater; but to be filled with All the fullness of God, παν το πληρωμα του Θεου, utterly bewilders the sense and confounds the understanding.
Clarke nevertheless attempts to put into words what he declares to be sense bewildering and understanding confounding! Note his elaboration:
By the fullness of God, we are to understand all those gifts and graces which he has promised to bestow on man, and which he dispenses to the Church. To be filled with all the fullness of God, is to have the whole soul filled with meekness, gentleness, goodness, love, justice, holiness, mercy, and truth. And as what God fills, neither sin nor Satan can fill; consequently, it implies that the soul shall be emptied of sin, that sin shall neither have dominion over it, nor a being in it. It is impossible for us to understand these words in a lower sense than this. But how much more they imply, (for more they do imply), I cannot tell. As there is no end to the merits of Christ, no bounds to the mercy and love of God, no limits to the improvability of the human soul, so there can be no bounds set to the saving influence which God will dispense to the heart of every believer. We may ask, and we shall receive, and our joy shall be full.
Are you filled unto the fullness of God? If not, continue to do what Paul did for the Ephesian Christians: pray.